Debate Needed on PESCO

The Fine Gael / Independents government is to propose to the Dail this coming week that Ireland join the EU's Permanent Structured Cooperation on security and defence (PESCO). This will mean a new EU Defence budget starting at over €1.5 billion a year (up from €590 million). Each participating EU state, including Ireland, will be required to reach an average of 2% of its GDP to ensure that the EU becomes a global military power.

As a result, Ireland will have to increase its military expenditure by 2020. According to the Phoenix Magazine (1/12/17) the Government is seeking a leap in defence spending from the current €946 million in 2018 to around €3 billion plus by 2020. This is likely to result in major cuts in other areas such as the health sector.

Shannonwatch supports calls by PANA and other organisations to have a serious and open debate before this decision is made. Despite the rhetoric coming from supporters of PESCO, increased spending on weapons and military affairs will not improve our security. Indeed it has little to do with fighting terrorism or extremism, and more to do with the emergence of a military-industrial complex within the EU. Its stated aim is to “jointly develop defense capabilities, invest in shared projects and enhance the operational readiness and contribution of their armed forces.” As such it is a significant step towards the formation of an EU army.

As noted by Afri earlier this week, the single greatest action that Ireland can take in order to combat terrorism is to withdraw the facilities of Shannon Airport from the US military for use in wars of aggression, wars which have played a major part in increasing the global terrorist threat in the first place.

If Ireland signs up to PESCO it will further erode our long-standing and valued policy of neutrality. But the government appear intent on pushing this through without giving the Irish people an opportunity to consider the consequences. And they are likely to do so with the support of the Fianna Fail party.

Shannonwatch opposes Ireland's integration into all EU/US/NATO military structures. Joining PESCO is a very major step in that integration.

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