Seanad debates

Tuesday, 21 November 2017

Commencement Matters

European Security Strategy

2:30 pm

Photo of Paul KehoePaul Kehoe (Wexford, Fine Gael) | Oireachtas source

PESCO was specifically referenced in the Lisbon treaty protocol to address the concerns of the Irish people and in Ireland's national declaration. The legislation setting down Ireland's approval process for PESCO was published in advance of that vote and enacted in November 2009.

The Senator also makes reference to the European defence fund. The purpose of the fund is to promote research and innovation and contribute to the strengthening of the European defence technology and industrial base so that it can deliver essential capabilities required for CSDP operations.

The defence fund is divided into two strands or windows which are complementary. The research window involves Commission-funded direct grants for research in innovative defence products and technologies. This is already under way for the period from 2017 to 2020 in the form of the preparatory action on defence research.

Under the capability window, participating member states will pool their financial resources to jointly develop and acquire key defence capabilities. The EU will offer co-financing from the EU budget on the development phase of such projects. Eligible projects developed through the PESCO framework could benefit from additional financing under the European defence fund. The voluntary nature of participation in the European defence fund is very much a feature of this initiative and fully acknowledges and reaffirms that defence remains a member state prerogative. Ireland would be in full control regarding what type of project it wanted to participate in and with whom. The Senator can be assured that the proposals under the fund fully respect the EU treaties and the Lisbon treaty protocols and pose no challenge to Ireland's traditional policy on military neutrality.


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