The prospect of an EU army is becoming more frighteningly real – and must be opposed. In June 2016, the EU Commission issued a document titled ‘A Global Strategy for the European Union’s Foreign and Security Policy’. It claimed that ‘investment in security and defence is a matter of urgency. Full spectrum defence capabilities are necessary to respond to external crises’.
Jean Claude Juncker, the EU Commission President, was blunt about what this means: He wants ‘a common European army [that] would convey a clear message to Russia that we are serious about defending our European values’. Angela Merkel hailed a recent Franco-German pact because it ‘contributes to the creation of a European army’.
This is linked to a strategy to strengthen the EU arms industry whose weaponry gets sold to dictatorial countries like Saudi Arabia. A recent European Defence Fund has been set at €13 billion to promote research and development of new weapons. Private arms companies will be the main beneficiaries.
These moves have resulted in the formation of PESCO, the Permanent Structured Cooperation framework. Its purpose is to bring together member states to make ‘more binding commitments with a view to the most demanding missions’.
Each PESCO member state has pledged to raise military spending to 2% of GDP. As Ireland only spends 0.4% at the moment, this will mean a fivefold increase – from about €960 million to about €4.5 billion.
A People Before Profit MEP will:
- Be a voice for Irish neutrality and will oppose every move to draw Irish soldiers into wars promoted by the big powers.
- Press for an immediate withdrawal of Ireland from PESCO so that we can use money to build houses and not bombs.
- Demand attendance at EU Committees dealing with defence so that developments towards an expanded arms industry can be exposed.
- Insist on a boycott of weapons sales to dictatorships and oppressors.