MEP Matt Carthy
By Evan Short
The Irish government has been accused of selling out Irish neutrality.
It comes as the European Council has adopted the decision to establish a European Union defense pact, known as PESCO.
Portugal and Ireland are the latest countries to join the pact.
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However, Sinn Féin Member of the European Parliament, Matt Carthy, said there has been “zero public debate” on the issue.
“Among the most ludicrous argument proponents asserted was that we needed to sell off Irish neutrality in order to show support for the EU and its values,” Carthy said.
“Since when did increasing national defense budgets, creating new military capabilities, fuelling the arms industry and compromising respect for human rights and democracy become core values of the European Union?”
Continued Carthy: “PESCO, the new €5.5 billion European Defense Fund and The Action Plan on Military Mobility are just three initiatives of the past six months which show that there is a very strong push going on to establish a military union.
“It is no coincidence that this push is taking part concurrently, but entirely separately, to discussions on the future of Europe.”
European Commission Chief Jean-Claude Juncker, took another view: “She is awake, the sleeping beauty of the Lisbon Treaty.
“I welcome the steps taken today by member states to lay the foundations of a European Defense Union. Europe cannot, and should not, outsource our security and defense.”
Twenty-five European Union countries have signed up to establish the Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO).
It is seen as an EU move towards self-sufficiency in defense matters instead of relying exclusively on NATO.
Back in November, NATO Secretary General, Jens Stoltenberg, welcomed the launch saying it would “strengthen the European pillar within NATO.”
“I’m a firm believer of stronger European defense, so I welcome PESCO because I believe that it can strengthen European defense, which is good for Europe, but also good for NATO,” he said.