by Roger Cole - Chair Peace & Neutrality Alliance.
National Forum on Europe debate on the Renamed EU Constitution (The Lisbon Treaty), Plaza Hotel, Tallaght, Dublin - 24 April 2008.
In June 2008 the Irish people living in the Republic of Ireland will have the right to vote on whether they accept or reject the Renamed EU Constitution, now called the Lisbon Treaty. It certainly will not happen in October. According to a leaked memo, by then the French Government, whose Presidency of the EU commences in July will be substantially progressing its plan to accelerate the militarisation of the European Union. The last thing the Irish political elite wants is for the people to vote on the Lisbon Treaty in full knowledge of its facts and implications. The attitude of the Irish political elite towards the people is clear an unambiguous. It is one of keeping them in the dark, and feed them full of manure.
PANA therefore now make the clear demand that the referendum be postponed until October, so that when they vote, the people will be fully informed of the contents and reality of this Imperial Charter. In fact, the polls show that a massive number of people do not know enough about the treaty, so even on a democratic basis, to ensure the people make a decision in on informed basis, the referendum should be postponed until October.
Irish people living in the six counties have been denied their right to vote in this referendum, as have all the other peoples in all the other states of the EU, even though public opinion polls have shown that on average 75% of the people want to have one. The reason behind why they are not being allowed to vote is simple, the French, the Dutch, and many of the other peoples in the EU, would vote no.
Therefore if the Irish people in this state vote no, far from becoming the laughing stock of Europe, we will be welcome everywhere, especially in France and Holland be the ordinary people. They do not want this treaty. So, if you do go on your holidays to virtually any of the states of the EU your going to have a great holiday if you vote no.
The only group that want this treaty is the political elite of the EU because it transfers power away from the people and their national democratic institutions, to the elite and their institutions that is, the EU Council of Ministers, the EU Parliament, the EU Commission and the EU Court of Justice. They are creating a European Superstate, a European Empire ruled by an elite, not by the people. By refusing to hold referendums they are making it crystal clear that they wish to rule without the consent of the people.
To quote Jose Barroso, President of the EU Commission speaking on the treaty on the 10/7/07: "Sometimes I like to compare the EU as a creation to the organisation of Empire. We have the dimensions of Empire".
Indeed we recently had the bizarre sight of a German Chancellor and a Portuguese politician coming to Ireland telling us how to vote in a referendum. When there is no referendum in their own countries.
Of course Ireland was part of a militarised, centralised, neo-liberal Superstate before, it was called the British Union and Empire. Leaders like Isaac Butt and John Redmond actively encouraged Irish participation in the Battle Groups of the British Union as they took part in Imperialist wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Palestine, the Sudan and many other parts of the world.
The only difference now, is that their successors, the advocates of a of a yes vote in Ireland, now support the Battle Groups of the European Union. The Irish Remondite Imperialist tradition is being restored.
They have already destroyed Irish Neutrality by turning Ireland into a US aircraft carrier, as over 1 million US troops have landed in Shannon Airport on their way to wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Planes that carry prisoners to torture chambers are not searched. All they now offer is more wars and, in particular, and maybe very soon, a war on Iran. The EU/US/NATO axis is building missile bases in Poland and the Czech Republic to defend Europe against Iran, a State that's GDP is substantially less than Holland's.
These Imperialist wars have cost the US over $3 trillion and it has account liabilities of $53,000 billion. The UK cost alone is at least Euro 6 billion, so the cost to all the EU states is much greater. These wars have led a major crisis in the global capitalist system. Its supporters are committed to totally supporting them and the so-called Washington Consensus neo-liberal economics that underpins them.
Now, with their hands covered in the blood of the hundreds of thousands of Iraqi people they have helped kill, the Irish elite now want to drag us even deeper into more wars by supporting a treaty that further transforms the EU into a militarised, centralised, neo-liberal superstate.
When groups like the Peace and Neutrality Alliance organised massive demonstrations against these wars and Ireland's involvement with them, we were right. The only step that will restore global economic stability is the withdrawal of the EU/US/NATO armies from Afghanistan and Iraq, and their Zionists allies go back to their 1967 borders.
A no vote to this Imperial Charter will be not be just a rejection of militarisation of the EU, it will be a rejection of the US/EU/NATO military agenda long advocated by the US neo-cons and their Irish supporters that has brought so much death, destruction and economic chaos to the world.
In 1948, the Western European Union, a nuclear-armed military alliance was established. In the last few EU treaties the assets and competences of the WEU have been transferred to the EU, leaving only that of collective self-defence. Andrew Duff, MEP and Rapporteur of the Foreign Affairs Committee on the Lisbon Treaty believe that the WEU should now be terminated completely because the Mutual Defence clause 28A (7) provides for mutual self-defence. It states:
"If a member state is the victim of armed aggression on its territory, the other Member States shall have towards it an obligation of aid and assistance by all means in their power, in accordance with Art. 51 of the UN Charter. This shall not prejudice the specific character of the security and defence policy of certain member states. Commitments and cooperation in this area shall be consistent with commitments under the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, which, for those states that are members of it, remains the foundation of their collective defence."
The policy of Irish neutrality has already been destroyed. This clause in the treaty legalises its destruction.
Instead of funding the Irish health service the Irish Taxpayers will have to fund the militarisation of the EU which is the main function of the European Defence Agency. Article 28(3) provides for the establishment of a start-up fund for the EU military as outlined in the Petersburg Tasks. In Article 28(2) EU states are also charged in accordance with the GDP scale for expenditures arising from operations having military or defence implications. Ireland will also have to pay for administrative military expenditure, which is paid out of the EU budget. The EU Council can also decide unanimously to charge all military expenditure to the Union budget Article 28(2).
Ireland will also have an obligation to "progressively improve" its military capacity.
The Irish defence budget is already over Euro 1,079 million with an army of little over 10,000. There are already Irish troops in Afghanistan and Kosovo and many more are being sent to Chad. A highly sophisticated US guided missile system has been purchased for use in backing up France's military in its neo-colonial state run by Debray, its local dictator, and will cost the Irish taxpayer €60million at least, this year alone. The initial cost for the missile system is Euro 13million and each missile costs Euro 75,000. Each confrontation could cost Ireland up to a million euro.
Let there be no mistake or misunderstanding. The advocates of this treaty virtually all have private health insurance. They do not care about the sick.
They want to spend more money on weapons and take part in more wars and spend less money on the health system. They want the EU to be more like the US, which spends 46% of the global military expenditure and has 46 million of its citizens with no health care.
If the Irish people vote for this Imperial Charter then that is exactly what they will get.
As the EU Foreign policy Chief, Javier Solana talking about military expenditure so clearly said: "there is an absolute requirement for us to spend more, spend better, and spend more together". (EU Observer, Nov 20 th , 2007)
The Protocol on Permanent Structured Cooperation states: "Recalling that the common security and defence policy of the Union respects the obligations under the under the North Atlantic Treaty of those member States which see their common defence realised in the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, which remains the foundation of the collective defence of its members, and is compatible with the common security and defence policy established within that framework; Convinced that a more assertive Union role in security and defence matters will contribute to the vitality of a renewed Atlantic Alliance, in accordance with the Berlin Plus arrangements(the sharing of EU/NATO assets)."
Irish people should vote no to a EU Common Foreign Security and Defence policy that is compatible with the use of nuclear weapons as a first strike weapon and contributes to the "vitality" of an existing nuclear-armed military alliance.
Structured Cooperation allows a group of states within the EU to form permanent military groups to implement the "most demanding" military adventures. It is not clear if once established these groups can have their own defence policies. Their military operations shall be "in accordance with the principle of a single set of forces" which is just another way of saying an army, a European Army. France is already proposing that the six largest EU states establish a massive EU intervention Army using this Protocol.
The Secretary General of the nuclear-armed military alliance, NATO Jaap Hoop Scheffer recently called upon NATO and the EU to pool their military forces and make them equally available to both the EU and NATO.
Finally, PANA was established in 1996 to advocate Irish Independence because we believed it was the intention of the Irish/EU political elite to integrate Ireland into the EU/US/NATO military structures in order to ensure Ireland's full and active participation in the resource wars of the 21 st century, wars in which the defeat of the EU/US/NATO axis would be the only and absolutely inevitable result. The Irish people, on their own, cannot stop this process. The Americans, French, British, German and other peoples living in the axis states can only do this. We can however, vote NO to this process by voting No to the treaty and obtain a Protocol, similar to that which the Danes already have. This would exclude Ireland from paying for, or involvement with the militarisation of the EU. If we win, we would hope that other people in the remaining EU states would follow our example.
This year marks the 90th anniversary of the decision of the Irish people to establish the Republic in the 1918 election. It is a good year to stand by that Republic and to reject the born-again Redmondites that support this Imperial Charter.
The choice facing the Irish people on the 12 th of June is between a Partnership Europe and an Imperial Europe. PANA stands by the Irish Republic and a Partnership Europe and urges to people of Ireland to vote no.
This year also marks the 150 th anniversary of the foundation of the Fenian Movement, the Irish Republican Brotherhood.
The Irish people have a real decision to make in this referendum on the 12th of June. Either they vote no and stay on the stepping-stones to the Republic as advocated by Michael Collins, one of the greatest of the Fenians by voting no, or they re-establish the Irish Imperialist tradition by voting yes. It is a big choice and PANA is confident that given a fair and democratic opportunity to vote, with the full knowledge of the facts, the Irish people will vote NO.