“PESCO Is Not About Peace, It Is Preparation For EU Wars”

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From top: The Commissioning Ceremony of new Army Officers in the Defence Forces Church, Curragh Camp, Co Kildare lin January; Luke ‘Ming Flanagan MEP

Luke ‘Ming’ Flanagan MEP writes:

In the last week, EU Defence Ministers, along with Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, met in “PESCO format” [Permanent Structured Cooperation] for the first time.

They pushed plans to strengthen European Union security and defence and cooperation between the European Union and NATO, and discussed the European Defence Fund and new laws to establish a European Defence Industrial Development Programme.

None of these PESCO initiatives are in Ireland’s interests.

The Treaty on European Union’s description of PESCO is vague, and deliberately so.

It mentions “more binding commitments”, “with a view to the most demanding missions”, to fulfil “the Union level of ambition”, but what exactly is the ambition of the European Union in the use of military force sphere?

We DO know that no matter what the propaganda coming from Fine Gael or what Taoiseach Varadkar says, ‘the most demanding missions’ have nothing to do with UN peacekeeping.

The law establishing PESCO doesn’t contain a single mention of the United Nations, nor does it refer to peacekeeping, nor even “peace”.

We know that in the Lisbon Treaty debates the European Union and the Irish Government actively suppressed discussion of the implications of the Common Security and Defence Policy, including the mutual defence clause which is an integral part of PESCO.

According to Eurobarometer surveys, carried out twice a year among EU citizens, only 12% of European citizens claim to be aware of the mutual defence clause and to know what it is.

This level of ignorance among EU citizens about the EU’s CSDP and PESCO is no accident.

Let’s look at a few facts:

1) This legally binding EU decision mandates PESCO member states to increase defence budgets, to provide troops (on stand-by) for use in EU Battle-Groups , to join “structures partaking in European external action in the military field”, and for “common funding of military CSDP operations and missions”.

2) It states quite bluntly that “Increasing joint and collaborative defence capability development projects, is among the binding commitments under PESCO”.

3) PESCO aims to establish an EU-wide arms industry, and the EU’s European Defence Agency will tell PESCO members, including Ireland, what weapons to buy.

4) International humanitarian law, also known as the laws of war, requires that all attacks be directed at military targets. Attacks cannot cause disproportionate civilian loss.

Yet, we know that in modern warfare, missiles can miss the intended targets up 90% of the time. We also know that for every one soldier killed in modern conflicts, on average, ten civilians die.

The European Union’s own European Security Strategy, adopted by the European Council in Brussels in December 2003, stated as fact that ‘since 1990, almost 4 million people have died in wars, 90% of them civilians’.

A few questions then for our Taoiseach:

1) Will the EU procure weapons including BVR or “beyond visual range” missiles?

2) Will the European Defence Agency publish the “operational pK” (probability of Kill) for the weapons it demands the PESCO member-states buy?

3) Will the Irish government support the purchase of these weapons and against whom will they be used?

4) Mindful that the US military and government pays no attention to civilian deaths in America’s wars, will the EU publish the body count of the civilians inevitably killed through the so-called “alliance of individual PESCO armies” actions in EU CSDP military missions?

The Irish political establishment tells us that PESCO is OK for Ireland to be a member of because ‘non-NATO’ Sweden is a member.

What the Irish establishment won’t say is that Swedish foreign policy is entwined with commercial arms export interests, and that the Swedish Government no longer regards itself as neutral, or even non-allied, and were active participants in the establishment of the NATO ‘no fly zone’ in Libya in 2011 because it wanted to promote sales of its fighter jets.

As Gunnar Hult of Sweden’s National Defence College said:

“(Libya) was quite beneficial to the Gripen. This is something no politician would ever admit, but it’s true. People saw it participating in air campaigns. It’s good for business.

Ireland should have followed the path of Denmark in relation to PESCO, and secured an opt-out to PESCO and CSDP. As the PESCO law says:

“Denmark does not participate in the elaboration and the implementation of decisions and actions of the Union which have defence implications.Denmark is therefore not bound by this Decision”.

Ireland can have the same legally binding opt out.

The Taoiseach must reverse the decision he took in December 2017 to join PESCO and should instead re-orientate Irish foreign policy to neutrality and to what Ireland and her Defence Forces can do best to tackle conflicts and save civilian lives today, UN peacekeeping.

Luke Ming Flanagan is a member of the European Parliament for Midlands North West


Previously: PESCO on Broadsheet

43 thoughts on ““PESCO Is Not About Peace, It Is Preparation For EU Wars”

    1. david

      You think so?
      Last time a Reich was in control in Europe circa 1939-1945
      They needed an army to ensure all were kept in their place
      Seems the forth Reich has achieved just that

  1. shitferbrains


    Participation in any PESCO project is entirely voluntary and it is a matter for each member state to decide for itself whether to participate on a case-by-case basis. While further work is required before Ireland can decide which PESCO projects we may wish to participate in, I can advise the committee that examples of the types of projects which we are currently considering include: upgrade of maritime surveillance systems; development of unmanned underwater vehicles for protection of harbours and maritime systems; a centre of excellence for EU military training missions; and cyberthreats and incident response information-sharing platform. Ireland has been centrally involved in the development of the CSDP from the outset and has been one of the leading contributors to CSDP operations. Ireland supports the role the EU can play in support of international peace and security with the UN at its core. All CSDP operations to date have either been mandated or supported by the UN and endorsed in UN Security Council resolutions. PESCO is a further initiative in strengthening the Union’s capacity in this regard. Speaking at the informal meeting of defence Ministers in Estonia last October, the UN under-secretary general for peacekeeping supported the initiative as potentially providing additional capabilities for UN mandated operations.

    1. david

      Get ready for a force to control us post brexit when the people finally wake up to how much this country is destroyed
      These will be nations like Germany and France sent for by request from our KAPO leadership
      As for Irelands role our KAPO regime will do exactly what its told
      I see maybe for youth experience a draft will be a future option suggested by PESCO

      It will teach the youth the skills needed for Irelands role in Europe

        1. david

          Yep pre 1939 who would of known of Nazi Germany’s plan for the world
          Look at the photo with their little hand books
          Could not enlarge to see what books they are holding
          Paddy power are offering odds 2 to 1 its the thoughts of chairman mao
          Or odds on mein kamph

  2. scottser

    in my down time today i’ve been reading about home methane and saltpetre production. if we literally had our poo together we could weaponise it – god knows we produce enough of it. i still maintain we could take back the 6 with a ham sangich in one hand and a poo bomb in the other.

    i have no problem with an eu army. as the nutter quotient increases worldwide i expect we will be glad of a well equipped and trained force.

  3. Joe Small

    I think Irish neutrality has always been a sham. In World War 2, we effectively let the British defend us and ever since, we’ve effectively been under the NATO umbrella. You can tell our neutrality is a sham by how we never made a serious effort or spend significant amounts of money on defending ourselves the way, for example, Sweden and Switzerland did. They had compulsory military service, an armaments industry and relatively large defence force so they could actually defend themselves if attacked. We never had any of that.

    1. david

      Certain irish republicans were german allies and always remember dev’s condolences for Hitler
      Ireland role in WW2 was bigoted and anti British
      My father grew up in Ireland then and he stated this

        1. david

          Not at all
          If we were perceived as a threat Britain would of invaded us
          The fact is the Irish governments neutrality was because of the hatred towards Britain
          Lets face it they will all kiss the frau’s arse

        1. david

          Enough of a notion for you to post that
          Google the internet and you will find articles about Merkel
          They say she was created from hitlers frozen sperm
          Now if I believed that I would have no credibility but saying that she looks exactly like her and various cases state Hitler fled Germany and ended up in argentina

      1. ReproBertie

        “My father grew up in Ireland then and he stated this”
        Well everyone alive today has the same opinion about things so I’m sure everyone alive back then had the same opinion too.

        Ireland’s neutrality in the second World War was very pro the allied side. As a simple example, we allowed their airmen to slip across the border while locking up German flyers. We also had 10s of thousands of Irish men and women fighting on the Allied side.

        1. david

          Read up about those who were captured and frankly disowned by the irish government
          Plenty merchant seamen whose fate when ships were sunk ended up in work camps fact
          Some even were about to end up in concentration camps Google Irish times about the 32 Irish seamen in Nazi work camps used as slave labour
          talking about the thousands who fought and when they returned home after the war were treated like traitors many died stigmatized

          1. ReproBertie

            You act like this would all be news to me but none of it changes the unofficial Allied leaning neutral stance that Ireland had during the war.

            I hate to be that guy but could you try punctuation? Some of your posts are confusing without it.

  4. steve white

    People against PESCO and suggesting we follow Denmarks path keep neglecting to mention that Denmark is a member of NATO.

  5. Anomanomanom

    While I dont agree with being stealthily heaped on us, its probably not a bad thing to have an EU wide force. Russia are getting worse and US with trump, well god knows what he’d do if there was any type of aggression towards them. It might be a necessary evil.

    1. Rob_G


      In recent years, Russia has been:

      – flying warplanes into EU member states’ airspace to test their air defences – off the coast of Portugal and the UK a few times, and too many times to count in the Baltic states. Oh, and once over Ireland, too.

      – sent its security forces in a raid over an EU border and kidnapped an Estonian security official

      – killed a few defectors in the UK via chemical agents

      – its armed proxies shot down an airliner full of EU citizens

      – invaded a country bordering the EU

      We need EU-wide defence cooperation more than ever.

          1. Rob_G

            You’re right, my mistake.

            Still, the fact that they are regularly sparking incidents such as this sure seems like sabre-rattling.

      1. david

        And the EU stirred the poo including backing a coup in Kiev leading to civil war
        All ex soviet block nations were courted by NATO most are now members of NATO
        Plus putting missile defence units in Poland
        Look at the whole picture
        We have NATO we do not need another unless its the intention for lebensraum like in the days of the third reich

  6. Jimmey_russell

    tinfoil hat nonsense, the EU is the best thing to happen to Europe without the EU we would probably be up to WW5 by now, they PREVENT wars, not start them. even if it is true though as others have said Puketin and Drumpf want to invade Europe and divide it between them so it’s probably a good idea to have an EU army to fight them.

  7. Harry Molloy

    All this is fine as long as each country has a veto as to which operations they are involved in. Which I believe they do?

    I would also like to know if a majority of countries can compel other countries not to act.

  8. ahjayzis

    Sometimes I worry that we’ve not been clear enough to our friends and allies that if anything should happen to them, they can get go fupp themselves because we’re NEUTRAL BABY!

    A brave, selfless stance to take given our geographical location in such a dangerous region.

  9. Clampers Outside!

    During WW2 up in Donegal my Da would spot planes in the sky, usually Spitfires from an airfield in Derry.

    He once asked his Mum… “where do they get the small men to put in the tiny planes?” Haha!
    Yes, my Da as a kid had a near/far Dougle moment… :)

    To his delight one morning, a pilot was out showing off his skills pulling dives, loops and low flying passes around the town, Ballybofey, when there was a splutter from the engine…. the pilot ran out of fuel!
    He had to make an emergency landing in a field close by.

    Due to that, my Da got to see one of the world’s most beautiful planes up close and watched as they took the wings off and put it on a trailer to be brought back to Derry where the pilot was given a stern talking to.
    Me Da says he can still here the wonderful sound off the RR Merlin engine…. which makes me somewhat envious :)

    ….just thought I’d share that


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