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This has to stop FFS! look what this treaty will do!
Quote:Militarism and the EU
The Lisbon Treaty would further militarise the EU. It calls for increased military spending by all member states and requires them to make facilities available for EU military activity. It reinforces EU-NATO links. It allows a sub-group of states to form a military alliance within the EU and in cooperation with US-dominated NATO; non-participating states would not share in its discussions and not vote on its decisions.
This alliance could be set up without a referendum here. The Treaty widens the range of reasons to justify EU military interventions abroad. It would integrate Irish forces into EU military structures and planning, which are dominated by states with colonial histories and use military force for political-economic ends. All member states must pay towards the costs of militarisation.
Quote:Neutrality in the gutter
Irish neutrality meaning we dont participate in military alliances or allow our territory to be used by belligerents involved in war has been thrown into the gutter. Our political elite have allowed over one million US troops use Shannon going to and from the US colony in Iraq. This contravenes international law on neutrality (Hague Convention, 1907). Likewise they refuse to search US planes en route to illegal secret prisons, for example in Poland, Romania and Egypt carrying prisoners to these torture centres.
Irish troops are to take part in a French-dominated EU intervention into the conflict in Chad, ostensibly to provide security for refugees. For us the well being of ordinary people is paramount. While this is a UN-authorised mission, France as the former colonial power - has been giving military support to the dictatorial regime in Chad that has rigged elections and used child soldiers. Beneath humanitarian concerns lies a French desire to maintain western influence over the oil and uranium of the region. In the eyes of local people, Irish troops are likely to be indistinguishable from French forces, hated in much of Africa for their brutal colonial history.
The Lisbon Treaty would facilitate more controversial EU military activity of this kind, since the militarily dominant states are former colonial powers. If we are to reclaim the tradition of Irish neutrality and keep Irish troops out of wars that have a neo-colonial motivation, we must reject this treaty.
Quote:What would the treaty do?
The public debate surrounding the Lisbon Treaty has included calls by German chancellor Angela Merkel for the creation of a European army. The president of France also advocates stronger EU military links, and last year his foreign minister said on French TV: We must prepare for war with Iran. (September 17th, 2007)
The new treaty would extend the existing Petersberg Tasks, a list of military and security tasks to be carried out by the EUs civilian and military forces. It says the common security and defence policy shall include joint disarmament operations, military advice and assistance tasks and post-conflict stabilisation. All these tasks may contribute to the fight against terrorism, including by supporting third countries in combating terrorism in their territories (Art 28B).
So who is to be disarmed and what kind of governments would be put into power through post-conflict stabilisation? How would this be decided?
The new foreign minister, who is also a vice-president of the commission, would chair the meetings of the foreign ministers of the member states and lead EU foreign policy. The European Council (heads of state) would decide the overall approach, on a proposal from the foreign minister. S/he would then make a proposal on what exactly should be done, who to disarm or to support, to the Council of (Defence) Ministers. They would give the foreign minister the go-ahead by unanimous agreement. So the foreign minister would have a very powerful and central role compared to the intergovernmental process at present.
The EUs military policy is made in accordance with its foreign policy (Art 10a), which includes the policies on international trade. The EUs trade policy is to remove barriers to international trade, foreign direct investment, customs and other barriers (Art 188c see section on trade justice). Given that this is the way the EU promotes European interests overseas, wouldnt EU forces intervening abroad inevitably take the side of those who accept the EUs approach to trade and allow European companies easy access to their countries resources? Such free trade doesnt usually benefit the poor.
The fight against terrorism (Art 28B) is not politically neutral either. It can be used to justify political-military action against people, movements or governments. It is a very questionable reason to use military force in another country.
Quote:No UN mandate
The EU, like the US, does not see itself as being bound by the necessity of securing a UN mandate before dispatching its military forces abroad. Nowhere in the new treaty is it mentioned that a UN mandate is needed to authorise an EU military intervention. Under this treaty, an Irish government could participate in planning, training and oversight of EU military activities, even when no UN mandate was in place. But the Government might maintain the illusion of support for the UN by not actually sending Irish troops to the field of battle.
The new treaty would institutionalise the idea of permanent structured cooperation (Art 28). This allows military alliances of those member states that want to set up a joint force, in the situation where some states do not agree to an EU army. The sub-group can go ahead anyway, operating within the EU framework, provided they have the military capability for more demanding missions (polite words for war). This EU force will act in accordance with the principle of a single set of forces. In effect this would be an EU army.
The protocol on structured co-operation declares: The common security and defence policy of the union respects the obligations under the North Atlantic Treaty ... and is compatible with ... that framework: ... a more assertive union role ... will contribute to the vitality of a renewed Atlantic Alliance, in accordance with the Berlin Plus arrangements (the sharing of EU and NATO military assets) .... According to the government's Forum on Europe, the Treaty will...allow for those Member States with bigger military capabilities to commit to taking part together in the most demanding missions within the external tasks listed
. Only the Member States taking part in this arrangement would be allowed to debate and vote in the Council on any action proposed under this pact.
We agree with this assessment of Art 28. The treaty would allow this subgroup to form its own military alliance within the EU framework, working in consultation with the EU foreign minister and aligned to NATO. The states outside this alliance would have no say in what it did but would be affected by the consequences of the sub-groups military actions. And all states would help pay for it through their contribution to EU military funds.
The treaty would reinforce the EU commitment to work within NATO planning, the core of which is the commitment to first use of nuclear weapons.
Quote:Military spending all states pay
Whatever our level of participation, the Irish taxpayer will have to pay toward the cost of militarisation (Art 28). The treaty also stipulates that all member states shall undertake to progressively improve their military capabilities. Increased military spending is a requirement of the treaty, unlike health or education. And we are required to make civilian and military capabilities available for the implementation of EU
defence policy (Art 28).
The new treaty would set up an EU foreign affairs department employing thousands of personnel. Thus there would be a large and powerful group of people committed to institutionalising an EU foreign, security and defence policy rather than an independent Irish foreign, security and defence policy. An EU military committee has already been established to co-ordinate EU military activity, as has an EU defence agency (EDA).
Establishing an EU army would be helped by the new treaty, which says that a common EU defence policy will lead to common defence, instead of Nices previous might lead to common defence if all heads of state agree (Art 28A). Such a move should require a referendum here. An EU armed force, however, would be established through permanent structured cooperation.
The EU already agreed in 2003 to establish a military force of 60,000 to go anywhere in the world within 60 days. Establishing this de facto EU army did not progress as rapidly as planned and the smaller battle groups were devised.The 13 battle groups consist of 1,500-2,500 well-armed soldiers capable of high intensity operations (war), and able to go anywhere in the world within 15 days of agreement by the EU Council of Ministers.
The Irish Army has been integrated into the Nordic battle group, which includes Sweden, Norway, Finland and Estonia. Since Norway and Estonia are already in NATO, the Finnish foreign minister is advocating that Finland join NATO and the Swedish army is training with NATO, the battle groups are effectively an extension of the EU-US military. The Nordic battle group will be operational in 2008.
The tasks given to the EU battle groups include joint disarmament operations, the support for third countries in combating terrorism and security sector reform. The EU must be able to act before a crisis occurs and undertake preventive engagements.
Also new in the treaty, the mutual defence and assistance clause in Art 28 says: If a member state is the victim of armed aggression on its territory, the other member states shall have towards it an obligation of aid and assistance by all means in their power, in accordance with Article 52 of the UN Charter. Elsewhere in the treaty, Art 188R, the solidarity clause, says the same.
This could be used to demand support for another EU state invading a country said to harbour terrorists, just as the US demanded and got support in the case of Afghanistan. These clauses make clear the EUs commitment to collective defence and military action on a very broad basis. They may be seen by supporters of an EU army as a commitment to drawing up a common defence clause
for the EU.
The current EU security strategy (EUSS) is the same as president Bushs doctrine of preventive war. It says: Our traditional concept of self-defence
was based on the threat of invasion. With the new threats, the first line of defence will often be abroad
We should be ready to act before a crisis occurs.
The EUSS says these threats cannot be countered by purely military means. This has raised the possibility of humanitarian aid being used by the EU as a tool in war, a concern raised by Concord, a pan-European federation of over 1,200 development NGOs. It is still not clear if the new foreign minister will control the budget for development aid. If humanitarian aid was linked to military interventions, it would increasingly put at risk the lives of aid workers from Concern, Trocaire, Oxfam and other NGOs, since the victims of US or EU imperialist military operations would see no real difference between their soldiers and civilians.
Quote:Consequences for Ireland
This treaty has serious military consequences for all EU states, especially once-neutral Ireland. It is another significant step toward the creation of a European superstate with imperial politics. It gives increased military powers to an EU political elite who refuse to hold referendums to consult the people of the states from whom they claim to derive their power. Meanwhile, some EU states actively support, and the others accept, president Bushs invasion, conquest and occupation of Iraq in order to gain US control of Iraqi oil, and to consolidate US-Zionist military domination of the Middle East.
It is the same EU political elite that cut off all aid to the Palestinian Authority (PA) because they did not like they way they voted in a democratic election, and that refused to call for a ceasefire when Israel invaded Lebanon. This EU elite will drag the peoples of the EU deeper and deeper into wars that they cannot win.
The Irish people fought a war of independence against British rule. As a consequence we were able to adopt our own Constitution. Article 6 declares that all power derives from the Irish people. The Irish political elite have been willing to abandon the powers enshrined in our Constitution without consulting the people. They bitterly opposed Raymond Crotty, who brought a case to the Supreme Court in 1986 to ensure a referendum every time power is transferred from the Irish state to the EU.
Thats the only reason we have a say in what they want to do now: transfer even more powers to the EU. If we fought so hard for independence from the British empire, why should we now partake in a military alliance of wealthy and powerful neo-colonial states? What is the difference between the role Irish soldiers would play in EU battle groups, in the eyes of people with whom they come into conflict, and the role they played in the army that ruled the British empire?
What the EU elite have on offer is an increasingly imperialist Europe. We know this from the words of the president of the European Commission, Jose Manuel Barroso:
Sometimes I like to compare the EU as a creation to the organisation of an empire.