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Ó Snodaigh - Irish neutrality must be protected

15 July, 2003

Sinn Féin spokesperson on International Affairs and the EU Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD commenting on the militarisation of the EU and on security and defence issues said: "Sinn Féin has long warned that the EU is becoming progressively militarised, and predicted that developments pointed towards the establishment of an EU army with both force projection capabilities and an internal security function. Some dismissed this as exaggeration. But the provisions in the draft Constitution confirm our prediction. Deputy Ó Snodaigh said:

"We believe that it is the duty of Irish IGC negotiators to protect Irish independence in defence policy, and specifically the traditional policies of military neutrality and UN primacy, by at minimum securing a specific article

explicitly recognising the right of those states requiring a UN mandate for military operations. They must also insist that this be given the same weight of recognition as that accorded to the obligations of NATO states.

"In the area of Common Foreign and Security Policy there are a number of provisions in the draft constitution that represents serious incursions on Irish sovereignty in foreign and defence policy. We firmly oppose the diminution of sovereignty and democratic accountability in relation to foreign affairs entailed in these Articles. Irish IGC negotiators at minimum, must protect Irish exercise of sovereign independence in international affairs by securing an explicit statement that development cooperation and humanitarian aid, the exercise of EU competence in foreign policy shall not result in Members states being prevented from exercising their competence in foreign policy. They must also ensure the retention and strengthening of the unanimity requirement in both spheres of CFSP, which is undermined by proposals in the draft Constitution."ENDS

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