Ireland’s Increasing Entanglement in EU Militarisation Must Be Put to the People
NB Please see PQ below.
On foot of a PQ response from the Minister for Defence, Aontú Leader & Meath West TD Peadar Tóibín has accentuated Ireland’s increasing entanglement in EU militarisation that is being done without the consent of the Irish people.
An Teachta Tóibín: “Ireland is supposed to be militarily neutral. Fine Gael are the only political party to expressly call for an abandonment of neutrality, and a lurch towards EU militarisation. What we have seen is a gradual erosion of that neutrality and the neglect of our defence forces, by our increasing entanglement in EU militarisation. I have submitted questions on several occasions pertaining to Ireland’s financial contributions to EU Defence/Army Initiatives – only to be stonewalled.
Thankfully now, I have been able to get some insight into our participation and contributions. Since 2017, Ireland has contributed over €11 million to various EU defence missions and security projects. However, this is without accounting for our contributions to the European Defence Fund which are taken from our annual EU contribution, meaning ‘there is no defined cost to the Exchequer for the EDF.’ Irish contributions to the ‘common costs for EU military crisis management operations’ (via the European Peace Facility) were also not disclosed in response to my question. All the while, Ireland becomes a greater party to PESCO and the Coordinated Annual Review on Defence Schemes which aim to solidify a common, militarised European security stratagem.”
“In essence, the intention is to incrementally work Ireland into a common EU defence scheme whilst covertly undermining neutrality to the point that neutrality is gone in all but name. Most political representatives of the people, let alone the public, are unaware of this fact and it is undemocratic for neutrality to be eroded in this way. It is time for Ireland’s entanglement in EU militarisation to be put to the people.”
For Oral Answer on : 10/03/2022
Question Number(s): 27 Question Reference(s): 13160/22
Asked by: Peadar Tóibín T.D.
To ask the Minister for Defence the details of Ireland's participation and contribution to European Union defence schemes and initiatives by scheme since 2017.
Since 2017 Ireland has engaged with a number of European Union defence-related initiatives, including the European Defence Agency, the Coordinated Annual Review on Defence (CARD), the Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO), the EU Satellite Centre (EU SatCen), the European Defence Fund (EDF) and the European Peace Facility (EPF).
The European Defence Agency is an Agency of the European Union, which supports Member States to develop a range of capabilities and capability standards to support CSDP, in particular the deployment of military capabilities in support of Crisis Management Tasks, as outlined in the Treaty on European Union. Ireland’s participation in the Agency provides access to research and information on developing and maintaining professional capabilities and research that we cannot self-generate. This is important in terms of Ireland's ability to participate in UN-mandated Peacekeeping Operations. Ireland contributes, on an annual basis, to the operational budget of the EDA. The financial commitment to this budget is in accordance with EDA funding principles, based on gross national income (GNI) key. Since 2017, Ireland has contributed a total of €3.3m, this includes contributions to the operational budget and also to the capability development projects in which Ireland has or is participating.
In May 2017, the Council endorsed the modalities to establish the Coordinated Annual Review on Defence (CARD). This is a process which aims to create greater transparency by sharing Member States information on future defence policy, capability development, budgets and investment. All 27 EU Member States, including Ireland, participate and contribute to the CARD process. There is no financial requirement to Ireland’s participation in the CARD.
Ireland joined the Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO) in 2017. The establishment of PESCO represents a further development in EU Cooperation in support of international peace and security under CSDP. Under PESCO, Member States come together in different groups to develop and make available additional capabilities and enablers for peacekeeping and crisis management operations. Ireland is currently participating in one PESCO project and is an observer on a further nine projects. To date, no additional costs have been incurred through PESCO-related activities other than costs associated with attendance by Defence Forces Subject Matter Experts at PESCO project planning meetings. Ireland is currently a participant in one PESCO project and an observer on a further none projects.
Ireland has participated in The EU Satellite Centre (EU SatCen) since 2007. The EU SatCen is an Agency working for the Common Security and Defence Policy of the European Union under the Political Supervision of the Political and Security Committee and the Operational Direction of the High Representative, which is governed by a Council Joint Action. In the international security and defence field, it handles sensitive and classified data to support CSDP military operations and civilian missions. The Department of Defence and the Department of Foreign Affairs contribute to the budget of the EU SatCen. Since 2017, the total contribution to the budget of the SatCen by Ireland is €1.1m.
The European Defence Fund (EDF) is an industrial sectoral programme, providing funding for research and capability development, which supports the European Defence and Industrial Technology Base in delivering capabilities for Common Security Defence Policy operations. The fund is designed to foster innovation to address new security and defence challenges and allow economies of scale through greater industrial and research cooperation and enhancing the competitiveness of the EU defence industry. The EDF is funded within the Multiannual Financial Framework which itself is funded directly by the Exchequer. Member State contributions to the EU Budget (Own Resources) are currently calculated annually by the EU Commission in line with the provisions outlined in Own Resources Decision (ORD) Regulation. As Ireland’s contributions go into the general pool of revenue that funds all EU budget expenditure, including the EDF, there is no defined cost to the Exchequer for the EDF.
Ireland contributes to the funding of common costs for EU military crisis management operations through the European Peace Facility (EPF). The EPF, established in March 2021, replaced the Athena Mechanism and the African Peace Facility. Under the EPF, the Department of Defence has responsibility for the financing of common costs relating to EU military operations under the EU's common security and defence policy (CSDP). The Department of Foreign Affairs has responsibility for the funding of African peace support operations, previously handled by the African Peace Facility, as well as Assistance Measures in order to provide assistance to individual countries and regional or sub-regional organisations. In 2020, the European Council agreed a €5bn financial ceiling for the EPF over the seven years of the 2021-2027 MFF. Actual spending of EPF funds require separate unanimous Council Decisions for each operation or assistance measure, such as the recent examples of the EPF Assistance Measures in support of Ukraine. An annual ceiling for each of the seven years is set out in the Council Decision establishing the EPF.
In 2017, Ireland’s contribution to the common costs of EU missions and operations via the Athena mechanism was approximately €730,000, in 2018 it was approximately €1.1m, in 2019 €1m, in 2020 €1.7m and in 2021, the first year of the European Peace Facility, €2.1m. The 2021 figure of €2.1m was reduced to a spend of €1.9m in practical terms by a credit note of approximately €220,000 due to a surplus from the previous year.
Ireland’s contribution to EU Assistance Measures under the EPF is currently funded by the Department of Foreign Affairs.