Tuesday, 16 January 2018
European Council: Statements
I will not rehearse the debate about PESCO again. As the Minister of State knows, we are against involvement because we believe it is the slippery slope towards involvement in a European army. The Minister of State and the Government dispute that but I will not get into that debate now. What exact commitments are we going to have to honour as a result of this? The Minister of State and the Taoiseach have identified specific areas but one that I worry about is terrorism because that is a catch-all term. What are our commitments in terms of "combatting terrorism"? That was the justification for the Iraq war. What exactly are we involved in, in the context of combatting so-called terrorism? That is a term that can be used to justify just about anything and to potentially involve us in just about anything. Will the Minister of State be precise about what commitments we have to give under the monitoring process for arms expenditure and the type of arms expenditure, which is referenced in what are described as the "binding" commitments in the annexe of the PESCO agreement. What exactly are our commitments in that regard? Do we have to produce an annual report on the nature and quantity of arms and military expenditure, which is then overseen or dictated by Europe? What is going to happen between us and this new European body with regard to arms expenditure, in terms of both the type and amount of such expenditure?