Irish Participation in PESCO - the European defence co-operation entity

29 Jan 2020

Military 2

Congress has written to political party leaders expressing concern at Irish Participation in PESCO, the European defence co-operation entity

Dear Party Leader,

At our Biennial Delegate Conference in July 2019, in line with the proud and consistent record of support by the Trade Union movement for Irish neutrality, we noted with dismay the decision by the Government to participate in Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO), seen by many as a precursor to an EU army.

The pace of development of EU militarisation and Ireland’s involvement has accelerated in recent times and Ireland has committed troops to a German commanded EU Battlegroup, which can be dispatched at short notice to emerging crises and conflicts around the world.  Ireland has also signed up as an observer on eight PESCO projects as well as participation in two projects.

We also note that the European Defence Fund will see at least €13 billion spent on weapons research and development during the next multi-annual financial framework (2021-2027) to the detriment of cohesion and development funds.  National contributions to the Fund during the period are expected to reach €36bn.  This is also happening alongside the launch of the Future Air Combat System (FCAS) and the growing EU/NATO cooperation.

All of this will lead to a massive annual increase in military expenditure 2021-2027 by the EU. Consequently, this will result in a massive increase in Irish military expenditure, thereby reducing monies available for investment in social expenditure such as health, housing, and pensions.

Concerned by the above developments, among others, Conference urges all political parties to express their opposition to further participation in PESCO and calls on them to commit to using any post-election influence to ensure that any new Government will immediately exercise its right to withdrawal under Article 46.5 (TEU) of the Lisbon Treaty and to notify the European Council accordingly.

I would be grateful if you could communicate your party’s position on the matter.

Yours faithfully