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17 February 2005 Edition

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Vote No to EU Superstate - Plans for military force of 108,000

Roger Cole

Roger Cole

In the second of a series of articles on the upcoming referenda on the proposed EU Constitution, ROGER COLE of the Peace and Neutrality Alliance (PANA), who is also a member of the Labour Party, looks at the implications for Irish sovereignty and neutrality.

"For the first time, Europe has a shared Constitution. This pact is the point of no return. Europe is becoming an irreversible project, irrevocable after the ratification of this treaty. It is a new era for Europe, a new geography, a new history."

French Prime Minister

Jean-Pierre Raffarin, Le Metro, 7/10/04

PANA agrees with Mr Raffarin. The EU Constitution is not a "tidying up exercise", as Taoiseach Bertie Ahern claims, but a "new geography, a new history", or more accurately, old history in a new bottle.

The history is clear. Europe was dominated by Imperial states that had extensive Empires throughout the world.

But states like Belgium, France, Italy, Portugal, Britain and Holland were defeated in Kenya, Algeria, the Congo, etc, and their Empires collapsed. This encouraged their elites to work together through an expanding EU.

A series of Treaties transferred power from their people and their national parliaments to themselves via the various EU institutions.

Now the elite is seeking to create for the first time an EU with a separate legal status from the states themselves. The process had been a series of treaties between the states. Now it is proposed that the EU becomes an entity in itself, with its own Constitution, Minister for Foreign Affairs, national anthem, Diplomatic Corps, Central Bank, citizenship, President, Foreign Minister, flag military headquarters and evolving army.

The states of the EU and their Constitutions are to be subservient to the EU and its Constitution.

In short, the broken Empires of France, Germany, Holland, Belgium, Italy, Spain, Portugal and Britain seek, by getting together, to create a new Empire, a new world power.

They have established EU Battle Groups and the EU Constitution ensures that, like the armies of the American Empire, they can be sent to war anywhere in the world without a UN mandate.

These Battle Groups consist of 1,500 troops each and have to be able to go into battle within 15 days. To allow for rotation, for every soldier in the field they need seven backup troops, which means a total of 12,000 soldiers in each group, the size of the existing Irish Army. The EU intends to have nine established by 2007.

A military force of 108,000 able to go into battle anywhere in the world within 15 days without a UN mandate is an Imperial Army. It is true that the decision to deploy them would have to be unanimous, but does anybody believe that an Irish political elite that actively supported an illegal imperialist war for oil by allowing the US Army to send over 300,000 troops to Iraq via Shannon will do anything other than enthusiastically support the EU's Imperial adventures.

The Petersberg tasks given to these Battle groups, already is broad enough to include war. Humanitarian, rescue, peace-keeping and peace-making, have been expanded to 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."

In its European Security Review (July 23, 2004) the Brussels-based Security Information Service (ISIS) stated that "joint disarmament operations" "could include anything from providing personal security to UN inspectors to full scale invasions á là Iraq".

As well as these Battle groups, the EU intends to establish a Rapid Reaction Force, capable of sending 60,000 troops into battle in 60 days.

The EU Constitution establishes new posts to preside over these new Battle Groups with their new tasks. A new EU Council President will be appointed for up to five years to preside over EU Summits. A new EU Minister for Foreign Affairs will preside over meetings of the EU Foreign Ministers. A new EU Diplomatic Service is established.

The member states will have an obligation to show mutual solidarity to the EU's Common Foreign, security and defence policies, to make their civilian and military capabilities available to the EU and to assist the already established European Armaments, Research and Military Capabilities Agency.

The wording of the Nice Treaty, that the progressive framing of a common defence policy "might lead to common defence" is changed to "will lead to a common defence". The EU Constitution states that the common security and defence policy of the Union shall contribute to the "vitality of a renewed NATO" and be compatible with Nato's defence policy, which is based on the first use of nuclear weapons.

Irish taxpayers will have to pay towards the EU military structures now being established. This will leave less money for health, education and social services and therefore provides a reason for their privatisation.

Structured Cooperation means that "member states whose military capabilities fulfil higher criteria and which have made more binding commitments in this area with a view to more demanding missions, shall establish permanent structured cooperation within the Union framework". These mini alliances can be established by Qualified Majority Voting and can then execute any of the Petersberg Tasks subject only to their own members. States that do not join will have no role.

Article 1-41.7 provides a mutual defence assistance clause for all EU states in the case of armed aggression. It states:

"If a member state is a victim of armed aggression its territory the other Member States shall have towards it an obligation of aid and assistance by all means in their power" It goes on to say such commitments shall be consistent with NATO commitments.

Article 1-43 states: "The Union and its Member States shall act jointly in a spirit of solidarity if a Member State is the object of a terrorist attack"

Since Britain, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Ireland Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Portugal, and Spain have already supported an illegal imperialist war for oil, we can legitimately assume that any or all of them feel they can invade another country such as Iran or Syria any time they like. They will do so for the oil, call them terrorists and say their doing it for democracy.

In an MRBI survey in February 2004, 51% of the Irish people said that Ireland should do all it can to preserve its Independence from the EU, while 48% wanted to fully integrate with the EU, so a narrow no vote is a real possibility.

Yet virtually the entire political/media elite supports integration, supports the creation of a centralised, neo-liberal, militarised Imperial superstate because it gives power to themselves at the expense of the people.

As a member of the Labour Party and a Connolly Socialist, I ask you to vote against this Constitution. I ask you to vote against Battle Groups, war and Imperialism. I ask you to become part of an Irish Social Movement, a European Social Movement, a World Social Movement and not join Fianna Fail, Fine Gael and |Progressive Democrats in their attack on Irish Independence, democracy and neutrality. Vote NO.

If we want a neo-liberal, militarised and Imperialist Europe then we should vote yes. If we want a Social Europe, a democratic Europe and an anti-imperialist Europe we should vote no.

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