8 September 2017
By Bryan Smyth
Sinn Féin MEP Liadh Ní Riada has said that the stepping up of efforts by the European Commission and certain member states to militarise the EU is “the greatest threat to Irish neutrality, and to peace and security in the region”.
The comments were made in response to the ongoing discourse in Brussels relating to the European Defense Fund and the Commission’s ‘reflection paper’ on security and defence.
Liadh Ní Riada said:
“Irish military neutrality is a central plank of our foreign policy and the way we relate with the world at large. It is highly valued by the Irish people, and puts us in a unique position to act in the interests of peace in conflict zones across the world.
“The so-called Common Security and Defense Policy published by the EU earlier this year directly contradicts our military neutrality and would have financial implications for Ireland, through its insistence on a minimum military spend by member states of 2%.
“This demand on our finances will fall within the existing EU budgetary constraints imposed on us by the EU as we struggle with the gravest housing and health crisis in modern Irish history.
“The European Commission seeks to establish a permanent EU military force, acting on the initiative and order of the EU and seeks to create a distinct budget line for defense spending. It also seeks to increase financial supports to manufacturers of weapons systems and military equipment, in effect creating an EU-wide military industrial complex.
“Many of those driving the militarisation agenda are enthusiastic members of NATO or former colonial powers that continue to meddle militarily in their former possessions. Ireland must not be frogmarched into an imperialistic military alliance.
“We can be rightly proud of our history of humanitarian and peace-keeping interventions in challenging and complex international situations on behalf of the United Nations. We should continue this important work. We should continue to maintain our defence forces, and ensure that our personnel are well equipped and well remunerated. We should continue to value our neutrality, and to use our position to encourage peaceful resolutions to world disputes.
“I will use my position on the European Parliament Budget Committee to oppose the insidious creeping militarisation of the EU.” she concluded.