Question to: Proinsias De Rossa
Issue: EU defence
Question sent by

Thanks for your answer to my query about the EDA and it´s role if Lisbon is ratified.. From your answer I take it you agree with the Irish having to improve our military capabilities. Your argument that the EDA makes this a cheaper option because we buy in bulk and buy similar equipment, is missing the point I made. Your mention of conscription has nothing to do with my query, it is just putting spin on a genuine query. I will put the query to you in such a way that you cannot mix it up or spin it into a fudge..
It is a fact , in the treaty, It states that "you SHALL progressively improve your military capabilities" The ammount that each state spends WILL be decided by Europe and this will be overseen by the EDA. Europe will tell us how much % of our GDP they believe should be spent. That is very clear! We need our money for machines that save lives not machines that kill. Do you agree with Ireland being an equal partner in this EDA spending all our taxpayers money? Should we not be spending this money on educating our children, helping our people get good healthcare or creation of jobs for our young people.. Is it not a fair point to make?
Reply from
Proinsias De Rossa

Dear ,

Thanks for coming back. Within the specific provisions of the Common Security and Defence Policy, Member States shall make civilian and military capabilities available to the EU and shall undertake progressively to improve their military capabilities. The need to do this is quite obvious in the light of the difficulties encountered in deploying EU missions, such as the Chad mission to defend 500,000 refugees, due to a lack of vital equipment.

The European Defence Agency has the task of "supporting the Council and the Member States in their efforts to improve the EU´s defence capabilities in the field of crisis management...." There is no provision for deciding what individual member States spend.

Certainly there is no provision for the EDA to spend all our taxpayers money.

The EDA´s tasks include ´developing´, identifying´, ´coordinating´, ´appraising´ - all under the authority of the Council of Ministers. High Representative Javier Solana has made it clear that the EDA does not have "a supranational military equipment or capability plan which aims to replace national defence plans and programmes. It should support, not replace, national decision-making."

It would seem obvious that, insofar as this country plays a part in EU/UN crisis management operations, it should seek to improve its capabilities. The decision on how to achieve improvement is for the Irish Government and the Oireachtas.

To hold the view that we should not have military forces is, of course, an honourable stance but if we maintain forces then I do not think it is a tenable position to deny them the equipment and training needed to carry out the tasks asked of them and to protect themselves.