Ireland's neutrality not affected by the ECT

The Britain in Europe site is taking an interest in Sinn Fein’s position on the European Constitutional Treaty. In this article, Queen’s doctoral student, Thomas Lefevre, argues the party’s position against the acceptance of an EU constitution on the grounds it would compromise Irish neutrality is flawed.

  • Occasional Commenter

    Before getting into the nitty gritty of what the constitution actually means I want to complain about the pro-EU line that “policy X was already handed over to the EU in Treaty Y, so there’s no point voting against the constitution.”, often referring to Maastricht. If I disagree with a policy, I am entitled to disagree with it being in Maastricht (referred to as the TEU) and with it being in the constitution (ECT) and voting against the constitution is a reasonable way to want to vote to rollback some of the Masstricht treaty. Remember, we never got a referendum on Maastricht

    Anyway, back to the substance of the story.

    From the article: soft security mechanisms such as humanitarian and rescue tasks, peacekeeping, the use of combat forces in crisis management, including peacemaking.

    The Iraq war could be interpreted to come under humanitarian or peacemaking. I mightn’t agree with this interpretation, what matters is the EU’s interpretation.

    from the article (quoting the constitution): The policy of the Union (…) shall not prejudice the specific character of the security and defense policy of certain Member States

    Note that it doesn’t say ‘not prejudice the policy’, it says ‘not prejudice the character‘. What does this mean? The EU will decide the interpretation.

    Article 15.2 states: Member States shall actively and unreservedly support the Union’s common foreign and
    security policy in a spirit of loyalty and mutual solidarity and shall comply with the acts
    adopted by the Union in this area. They shall refrain from action contrary to the Union’s
    interests or likely to impair its effectiveness.

    Note the ‘comply with all acts’.

    Article 40.3 states Member States shall make civilian and military capabilities available to the Union for the
    implementation of the common security and defence policy, to contribute to the objectives
    defined by the Council of Ministers. Those Member States which together establish
    multinational forces may also make them available to the common security and defence
    policy.
    So you can opt out of a multinational force, but are still required to supply your national troops for EU operations.

    One cannot say that neutrality is assured, at best the constitution is contradictory. When you read the constitution itself and check every word, you see this constitution does destroy neutrality.