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Government guarantee is meaningless – The Lisbon Treaty "will lead to a common defence" – Ó Snodaigh

24 September, 2009 - by Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD

Speaking outside the Department of Foreign Affairs this morning Sinn Féin spokesperson on European Affairs Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD said “The Lisbon Treaty is crystal clear – Article 28 directly states that the Treaty ‘will lead to a common defence’ and no amount of guff from government spokespersons changes that fact one iota. The government’s guarantee on neutrality is meaningless. It won’t stop a common defence. It won’t stop the creation of mini-military alliances acting in the name of the EU and with EU resources. It won’t stop the government using even more tax payers’ money to support the EU Defence Agency. I would call on anyone who supports neutrality to reject this treaty out of hand.”

Deputy Ó Snodaigh said:

“Contrary to the claims of Fianna Fáil and their supporters on the yes side, the Lisbon Treaty is crystal clear on the issue of a common defence policy. Article 28, which is one of the most readable articles in the Treaty states that Lisbon, ‘will lead to a common defence’. This is the first time that an EU Treaty will definitively state that there will be a common defence. The article then goes on to outline what that means in practice.

“The Treaty states that the common defence must be NATO compatible.

“The Treaty places new financial obligations on member states to contribute to a new start up fund; to progressively improve military capabilities; to provide rapid access to funds; and to support the European Defence Agency. In Sinn Féin’s view these obligations will lead to an increase in military spending by this state.

“The Treaty also includes a new provision for the creation of mini-military alliances, which may embark on military missions. While an Irish government may choose not to send Irish troops on such missions, they will happen in the name of the EU and use the resources of the EU.

“The Treaty also significantly expands the list of permissible military missions beyond the traditional mandate of peacekeeping and humanitarian aid. These include joint disarmament missions; assistance to non-EU countries in combating terrorism; and military advice and assistance. The first two additions were the justifications used for the US led invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan, while the third can mean anything to anyone at any time.

“All of these provisions significantly undermine the positive neutrality of this state and draw us into a common defence. While Irish troops can only be deployed abroad with the consent of the Irish government, neutrality is about much more than what a state does with its defence forces. It is about the alliances a state is part of and the obligations that those alliances place on you.

“If you are opposed to an EU common defence, or if you are uncomfortable with the common defence framework that the Lisbon treaty outlines the on October 2nd your only choice is to Vote No.’ ENDS

Note to editor: Below is a list and text of Lisbon treaty Articles relevant to issues of defence policy and neutrality:

Article 11 (TEU) “The Unions competence in matters of common foreign and security policy shall cover all areas of foreign policy and all questions relating to the Unions security, including the progressive framing of a common defence.”

Article 25b(d)(3) (TEU) “The Council shall adopt a decision establishing the specific procedures for guaranteeing rapid access to appropriations in the Union budget for urgent financing of initiatives in the framework of the common foreign and security policy.”

Article 25(d)(3)(TEU) “Preparatory activities... which are not charged to the Union budget shall be financed by a start-up fund made up of Member State’ contributions....”

Article 28 (a)(1) (TEU) “The common security and defence policy shall be an integral part of the common foreign and security policy. It shall provide the Union with an operational capacity drawing on civilian and military assets.”

Article 28(b)(2) (TEU) “The common security and defence policy shall include the progressive framing of a common Union defence policy. This will lead to a common defence, when the European Council, acting unanimously so decides. It shall in that case recommend to Member States the adoption of such a decision in accordance with their respective constitutional requirements.”

Article 28(c)(3)(TEU) “Member States shall make civilian and military capabilities available to the Union for the implementation of the common security and defence policy.”

Article 28A(c)3 (TEU) “member states shall undertake progressively to improve their military capabilities.”

Article 28A(c)(7) (TEU)“Commitments and cooperation in this area shall be consistent with commitments under the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation.”

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