Sinn Féin MEP Matt Carthy has slammed the Irish government for its continued complicity in the relentless EU drive to create an EU army. The Midlands North West MEP was speaking following the final voting session of this parliamentary mandate, in which MEPs voted to establish a European Defence Fund and finance it with €13billion of taxpayers’ money. One Fine Gael MEP voted in favour and while others abstained on this dangerous proposal.
Carthy said: “We often hear that the European Union’s greatest achievement is that it has been a successful ‘project of peace’. Peace projects don’t need armies!
“It is astonishing that EU elected representatives would sign up to providing €13billion to set up a new European Defence Fund, a key staging post in the development of an EU army. That they would do so while simultaneously reducing funding to key funding programmes such as CAP and the Cohesion programme and at a time when public services are at breaking point is mind-boggling.
“All the while Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael are complicit in this aggressive militarisation drive.
“Despite Sinn Féin MEPs warning for years of the dangers of this agenda, and the threat it poses to Irish military neutrality, Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil have remained, at best silent, and often openly complicit. The fact the Fine Gael MEPs have either voted for or abstained on this latest proposal is truly a disgrace and a betrayal of the Irish people and our constitution.
“Europe is still exporting weapons of war on a mass scale to Saudi Arabia, responsible for the ongoing starvation of the people of Yemen. Britain and France top the export list among EU states but many other EU member states, including Ireland, are also selling weapons or dual-use items to arm Saudi Arabia – despite the European Parliament’s repeated demands for an EU arms embargo on this pariah state.
“Sinn Féin’s group in the European Parliament, GUE/NGL, tabled a minority report completely rejecting the proposal – on the grounds that it advocates the rapid further militarisation of the EU and Member States; promotes an arms race; and subsidises investments in defence and military research and development, in spite of the social crisis and environmental impact of these activities.
“I have raised the illegality of the EDF directly with the Commission, as it breaches Article 41(2) of the Treaty, which clearly prohibits defence-related funding measures being taken from the general budget of the EU. I based these questions on an important legal study carried out by the University of Bremen, which concluded that EU funding of such an instrument breaches EU law.
“In the Orwellian double-speak of the Commission, it responded to me by claiming ‘the EDF would foster the competitiveness and innovativeness of the Union’s defence technological and industrial base by supporting defence-oriented research and development activities, without providing any funding to operations having military or defence implications’.
“This is pure nonsense. The establishment of the EDF, and its funding by the general EU budget is illegal. Full stop.
“The election of Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil MEPs next month will accelerate the drive to an EU army, with all of the costs, risks and dangers that this entails for the Irish people.
“Sinn Féin representatives are needed at European level to demand that our country does not contribute increased sums to an EU budget that prioritises military expansion ahead of delivering public services, creating sustainable jobs and securing EU funding where it is needed most.”