YES to a Partnership Europe - NO EU Superstate

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The Democratic Revolution
A Democratic Revolution is sweeping across Europe from Georgia to the Ukraine and now to France and the Netherlands where the people are rejecting the political elites that offer nothing but war and poverty.

In France in a referendum on the EU Constitution, where the turnout was 70%, the people voted no by a 55%-45% margin and in Holland with a 63% turnout, the margin was greater at 62%-38% no majority. Since every state must ratify the EU Constitution the ratification process should stop immediately unless the French and Dutch are to be forced to vote again as the Irish were forced to do after they rejected Nice 1. The difference is of course is that in Nice 1 only 34% voted and Ireland is a much smaller country than France or Holland. The political elite are refusing to terminate the EU Constitution and are preparing to declare a "period of reflection" where the EU Constitution instead of being killed off is being turned into a 21 st century Dracula, a sort of "undead". They will also continue to proceed to establish the EU Battle Groups and other aspects of the EU Constitution they can impose without need of a referendum.

They are underestimating the rejection of their vision of the future of Europe. Their idea of a centralised, militarised, and the people have rejected neo-liberal EU, allied to the US.

This is clear from an examination of the EU Constitution.

I would like to begin by quoting Jean-Pierre Raffarin, the ex-Prime Minister of France, "For the first time, Europe has a shared Constitution. This pact is the point of no return. Europe is becoming an irreversible project, irrevocable after the ratification of this treaty. It is a new era for Europe, a new geography, a new history." Le Metro, 7/10/04

Mr Raffarin is now himself history, but it is history, which informs PANA's attitude to the proposed Constitution for the EU.

For generations, Ireland was part of the British Empire. The 1790's saw the birth of the Irish Republican Movement, which sought to establish by exclusively democratic means a United Irish Republic. Wolfe Tone, one of its founders, in 1790 published a pamphlet entitled the Spanish War in which he made the case for Irish Neutrality. Denied the right to pursue their right to seek their objective by democratic means they rose in rebellion against the occupation of Ireland and were crushed by the Empire. Over 30,000 Republicans were killed in 1798, the same number as those killed in the "terror" period in Paris during the French Revolution.

Throughout most of the 19 th and early 20 th century, the dominant political parties sought only Home Rule within the British Union at best, supported its Imperialism and encouraged Irish people to join the Battle Groups of the BU. One leader, Isaac Butt supported the Crimean War in which 7,000 Irish people died and another, Redmond supported the 1st Word War in which 50,000 Irish people died. Irish people know all about a militarised, centralised, neo-liberal Imperial State.

It was only after the 1916 Rising, the threat of conscription and a National war of Independence that a degree of Independence was achieved in the 26 counties. Those that accepted the Treaty only did so because they believed it offered a stepping-stone to an Independent United Irish Republic.

But the Irish supporters of Imperialism did not go away you know. They merely waited in the long grass for their time to come again. In the EU they have found their new Empire, their new Imperial state.

The division in Ireland on the EU Constitution is just another chapter in of the long struggle between those Irish people that support Imperialism and those that support Irish Independence, Democracy and Neutrality.

In supporting the EU Constitution the Irish political/media elite are, far from being modern and progressive, are in fact, seeking to drag us back into the past, back into the 19 th century.

Since our foundation in 1996, PANA has advocated that Ireland, all 32 counties, should be a neutral state, have its own Independent Foreign Policy and pursue that policy primarily through a reformed United Nations. Our vision of the future is based in a belief in the need for global justice, not global war.

Therefore, PANA's vision of the future of Europe is as a Partnership of Independent, Democratic States, legal equals, without a military dimension and to advocate our own Independent foreign policy through inclusive global institutions such as the United Nations, reformed and renewed so it represents all the people of the world, not one dominated rich white Europeans and Americans.

We opposed the process by which Ireland was being steadily integrated into the EU/US/NATO military industrial structures in order to ensure Ireland's full participation in the resource wars of the 21 st century and not only campaigned against the militarisation of the EU, but also against the War on Iraq and Irish membership of Nato's PfP.

However to date, Irish experience as a member of the EEC-EC-EU has been largely benign. There has been a large and substantial transfer of funds from the other EU states via EU institutions to Ireland, in particular our farmers. The Irish government was forced to agree to equality legislation and to respond to environmental issues as a consequence of EU membership. Therefore, many of the political and social forces that would have a perception of themselves as being modern and progressive have developed a strong sense of identity with "Europe".

Those of us who belong to the Irish anti-imperialist tradition have had a tough job seeking to gain their support. We are not helped by the fact that the leader of the right wing opposition to the EU, who was made the Leader of the campaign against the Nice Treaty by the media, attended a neo-nazi rally.

The reality however, is that PANA was the only broad based alliance to campaign against the Amsterdam Treaty. The right wing grouping represented by the likes of Justin Barrett played no role whatsoever in it and 38% of the people voted no. The establishment media by making Barrett a so-called leader in the Nice campaign sought to ensure the NO campaign was seen as led by right wing reactionaries. But the Amsterdam result had shown that the people were responding to a desire to fight imperialism, and to show their allegiance to Irish democracy and Independence, and Barrett etc had played no role in it. In the Nice 1 and 2 referendums the reality was it was the anti-imperialist that led the no campaigns.

However, as the financial transfers from the EU are terminated, as the vision of a Social Europe is replaced by a neo-liberal militarised Europe, support for an Independent Irish Republic is again steadily gaining the support of the people. PANA realising that the progressive forces needed to take the initiative and to broaden out the arguments from the militarisation which was and remains PANA's focus organised a Conference on the 10 th of December with speakers from Sinn Fein, DAPSE and the People's Movement out of which has grown the Campaign Against the EU Constitution. The CAEUC Declaration against the EU Constitution covers the neo-liberal and democracy issues as well as those of militarisation.

This EU Constitution transforms a EU based on Treaties between states into a militarised, neo-liberal and centralised superstate allied to the American Empire and committed to permanent war.

This future for Europe is being continually confirmed. Two recent examples being the 5 th joint Franco-German Cabinet meeting whose joint press statement included the sentence; "The EU Constitution will help reinforce the sphere of activity of Europe through the expansion of the scope of the EU (military) missions."

At the European Business Summit on March 11 th , European business leaders called again and again for the downscaling of environmental and social protection. In the session on the Transatlantic Defence Industry they talked about the opportunities to grow expenditure on military defence, taking advantage of, "the supply chain of insecurity". They made it clear that since the 2003 US budget on military expenditure was €380 billion and the expenditure of the EU states were only €150 million there was a great opportunity to demand more expenditure on the military. The European Arms Agency is made part of the EU Constitution and the EU states are to improve their military capabilities.

John Bruton, once an Irish Taoiseach is now the EU Ambassador in the United States believes that the new foreign, security and defence policy as envisaged under the EU Constitution would help,

"The EU become a more effective partner of the United States"
"EU arms industry will be facilitated by the EU Constitution to help Europe assume its responsibilities on the world scene" -

It is therefore absolutely clear, that while there some real tensions exist between the US and the EU, the elite of the US and the elite of the EU are united in favour of a EU/US partnership for war, facilitated and strengthened by the EU Constitution.

PANA as part of the European Peace Movement will seek to defeat this EU Constitution, not just because it militarises Europe, but because is part of a process of the militarisation the US/EU structures that offer nothing but permanent war, death destruction and ultimately, defeat.

The history is clear. Europe in the first half of the 20 th century was dominated by Imperial states that had extensive Empires throughout the world.

But states like Belgium, France, Italy, Portugal, Britain, Spain and Holland were defeated in Kenya, Algeria, the Congo, Vietnam, etc, and their Empires collapsed. This encouraged their elites to work together through an expanding EU. A series of Treaties transferred power from their people and their national parliaments to themselves to the various EU institutions.

Now the EU elite is seeking to create for the first time, a EU with its own separate identity, with a separate legal personality from the states themselves. The process had been a series of treaties between the states. Now it is proposed the EU becomes an entity in itself, with its own Constitution, Minister for Foreign Affairs, national anthem, Diplomatic Corps, Central Bank, citizenship, President, Foreign Minister, flag military headquarters and evolving army. The states of the EU and their Constitutions are to be subservient to the EU and its Constitution. Ireland will have the same relationship to the EU as Alabama has to the US.

To quote Article 1-6; "The Constitution and law adopted by the institutions of the Union in exercising competences conferred on it shall have primacy over the law of the Member States."

In short, the broken Empires of France, Germany, Holland, Belgium, Italy. Spain, Portugal and Britain, etc, seek by getting together to create a new European Empire, a new world power.

The EU elite has established EU Battle Groups and the EU Constitution ensures, that like the armies of Bush's American Empire, they can be sent to war anywhere in the world without a UN mandate.

PANA helped defeat the Irish political elite in the first referendum on the Nice Treaty. In order to win the 2 nd referendum, they were forced to pass legislation, which became known as the "triple lock"

The "triple lock" was to ensure that Irish soldiers would not serve abroad unless there was a UN Security Council mandate, as well as Dail and government approval. It is now to be abolished by the Irish government to ensure full participation by the Irish Army in the EU Battle Groups even though the ink on the Nice Treaty is hardly dry. Like the American Union that sent in its army to invade and conquer Iraq without a UN mandate and now intends to do the same with Iran, and maybe Syria, Cuba and Venezuela, the emerging European Union intends to give itself the same power, and be able to invade any country in the world without a UN mandate. The EU is also creating 13 military Battle Groups, its EU Marines, to do the invading.

These Battle Groups consist of 1,500 troops each and have to be able to go into battle within 15 days and be equipped so as to be capable of high intensity operations, i.e., kill large numbers of people. To allow for rotation for every soldier in the field they need seven back up troops, which means a total of 12,000 soldiers in each group, each one the size of the existing Irish Army. Since the Battle Groups are being formed on a regional basis, i.e. Finland and Sweden are jointly creating one, it is more than likely that Ireland and Britain will also establish one jointly. The headquarters of the EU Battle groups are to in the country that provides the largest number of troops, so in Ireland's case it will probably be somewhere in Britain.

Once the Irish Army is integrated into EU Battle Groups they will not only not be able to act independently. Irish soldiers will become part of the Battle Groups of the EU, just as they were par of the Battle Groups of the British Union. They will become the new born again Connaught Rangers.

The EU Battle Groups include one each from the following country or group of countries:
-Germany/the Netherlands / Finland,
-Germany/Czech Republic / Austria,
-Italy/Spain/Greece/Portugal, Poland/Germany/Slovakia/Latvia/Lithuania, Sweden/Finland/Norway, the UK/Netherlands.

The purpose of these Battle groups is to go to war, a reality confirmed by the General Secretary of NATO Jaap de Hoop Scheffer (IT 11/5/05).

A military force of 156,000 soldiers able to go into battle anywhere in the world within 15 days without a UN mandate is an Imperial Army. The EU Constitution says that before they are deployed there has to be unanimous agreement. But does anybody believe that an Irish political elite that has already destroyed Irish neutrality by actively supported an illegal imperialist war for oil by allowing the US Army to send over 300,000 via Shannon to Iraq will do anything other than enthuastically support the EU's Imperial adventures?

The Petersberg tasks given to these Battle groups, already is broad enough to include war, humanitarian, rescue, peace-keeping and peace-making, have been expanded by the EU Constitution to include, "joint disarmament operations, military advice and assistance tasks and post-conflict stabilisation". "All these tasks may contribute to the fight against terrorism, including by supporting Third countries in combating terrorism in their territories." In its European Security Review (July 23, 2004) the Brussels-based Security Information Service (ISIS) stated that "joint disarmament operations" "could include anything from providing personal security to UN inspectors to full scale invasions a la Iraq."

As well as these Battle groups the EU intends to eventually establish a Rapid Reaction Force capable of sending 60,000 troops into battle within 60 days. This means a military force of 480,000 troops, an even larger Imperial Army.

The military dimension of the Galileo navigation positioning system (at a cost of €3 billion) is another a key part of militarisation of the EU. Another is the FRES, or battlefield vehicle or more accurately family of vehicles will cost 6.7 million Stirling each, and the lifetime cost for each would be 55.5 million Stirling. These new military systems designed for rapid reaction military forces, such as the EU Battle Groups gives some idea of the costs involved.

The EU Constitution establishes new posts to preside over these new Battle Groups with their new tasks. A new EU Council President appointed for up to 5 years to preside over EU Summits. A new EU Minister for Foreign Affairs will preside over meetings of the EU Foreign Ministers. A new EU Diplomatic Service is established. The member states will have an obligation to show mutual solidarity to the EU's Common Foreign, security and defence policies, to make their civilian and military capabilities available to the EU and to assist the already established European Armaments, Research and Military Capabilities Agency.

The wording of the Nice Treaty, that the progressive framing of a common defence policy " might lead to common defence, should the European Council so decide" is now changed to, "will lead to a common defence, when the European Council, acting unanimously, so decides" .

The EU will ensure via its new security doctrine that;
The common security and defence policy of the Union shall contribute to the "vitality of a renewed NATO" and be compatible with Nato's defence policy, with is based on the first use of nuclear weapons. (Protocol 23)

Taxpayers will have to pay towards the EU military structures now being established. This will leave less money for health, education and social services and therefore provides another reason for their privatisation.

Structured Cooperation will allow "member states whose military capabilities fulfil higher criteria and which have made more binding commitments in this area with a view to more demanding missions shall establish permanent structured cooperation within the Union framework." These mini alliances can be established by QMV and can then execute any of the Petersberg Tasks subject only to their own members. States that do not join will have no role.

The original proposed amendment to our own Irish Constitution was framed in such a way as to allow Ireland to join the structured co-operation group without need for another referendum. The were removed through pressure from sections of the media and the Green Party and the Labour Party, but only after they became public.

Article 1-41.7 provides a mutual defence assistance clause for all EU states in the case of armed aggression. It states: "If a member state is a victim of armed aggression its territory the other Member States shall have towards it an obligation of aid and assistance by all means in their power" It goes on to say such commitments shall be consistent with NATO commitments.

Article 1-43 states: "The Union and its Member States shall act jointly in a spirit of solidarity if a Member State is the object of a terrorist attack"

Since Britain, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Holland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Portugal, and Spain have already supported an illegal imperialist war for oil, we can legitimately assume that any or all of them feel they can invade any other country any time they like.

In an MRBI survey in February 2004, 51% of the Irish people said that Ireland should do all it can to preserve its Independence from the EU, while 48% wanted to fully integrate with the EU, so a narrow no vote is a real possibility in Ireland.

But in the recent Eurobarometer survey 59% of the Irish people surveyed believed the Irish government should make decisions on defence policy rather than their being a EU defence. So in Ireland the issue of defence is a key issue on which we can win again as we did on Nice 1. PANA agrees with 59% of the Irish people. PANA seeks to defeat this Imperialist, neo-liberal and centralising Constitution. We seek a legally binding Protocol, similar to that already achieved by Denmark (Protocol 20) that would exclude Ireland from paying for or involvement with the process of militarisation of the EU. We would call on all the other peace movements in the other states of the EU to also call for such a Protocol for their own country.

Yet in Ireland, virtually the entire political/media elite supports integration, supports the creation of a centralised, neo-liberal, militarised Imperial superstate because it gives power to themselves at the expense of the Irish people. There should be no surprise in this. At the moment for example, virtually no family member of the US Senate or Congress is in Iraq as they are mostly the poor who join the US army to get citizenship or education grants. You can be sure that the rich EU elite including the rich Irish will make certain that their kids will not be joining the Battle Groups.

In the course of the referendum campaign on the EU Constitution in Spain, its Prime Minister Jose Zapartero said, "Britain and all the other EU states will close their embassies around the world as they are replaced by a single European service."

Mr Zapartero is to be congratulated for pulling Spanish troops out of Iraq after they were sent to help in the illegal invasion, conquest and occupation of Iraq by the American Superstate, the American Empire. Building a European superstate, a European Empire, however, is no solution.

Imperialism, whether it was British or Soviet was no solution to social justice in the 20 th century and Imperialism whither American, Chinese or European is no answer to social justice in the 21 st century. An Imperial EU superstate provides no solution to poverty, injustice and the struggle for human rights and democracy.

If you want a neo-liberal, militarised and Imperialist EU then you should vote yes. If you want a Social Europe, a democratic Europe and an anti-imperialist Europe you should vote no.

Finally, this meting is taking place just after the Dutch and French people voted on the EU Constitution. They voted no in massive numbers. Since each state must vote to support the Treaty establishing the EU Constitution, is now dead. The rich and powerful voted in favour and the ordinary men and women of France and Holland voted no. The Empire loyalists are now divided. Some want to force the other states to proceed and then force the French and Dutch to vote again. Others accept that several of the states that must have a referendum such as Ireland, or those like England that have been promised one will vote no. Others advocate that the key elements of the Empire be agreed to and implemented anyway, regardless of what the peoples of the EU states want.

Those of us in Ireland who oppose Imperialism and who advocate a Partnership Europe, a partnership of Independent, Democratic States, legal equals, without a military dimension need to do more than say NO. We need to put flesh on our vision of Europe. We need to move past the slogan of "Another Europe is possible". We must start with the premise that there is no European Demos; there is no such thing as the European people. We are all different people, all Irish, or French or Dutch or German etc. We need to construct a Europe out of these realities and firmly based on values that are anti-imperialist, democratic and centred on human, social and democratic rights. There is a democratic tradition and an imperialist tradition rooted in all our histories. We need to seek to ensure that it is the democracy that wins.

It will not be easy. Most of the major corporations, especially those in the arms industry are providing massive amounts of money to the Empire Loyalists. The bulk of the media corporations support the Empire loyalists. But the French and the Dutch have shown that they can be beaten. PANA is steadily building up links with other groups in the EU, in the US and throughout the world that oppose war and imperialism. We do not only need another Europe, we need another world.

Roger Cole, Chair
Peace & Neutrality Alliance

- Mansion House, Dublin.

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