by Roger Cole - Chair Peace & Neutrality Alliance.
After the French voted no, I wrote this letter to the Irish Times..
"The EU Constitution is dead. It will not make any difference if it is dragged around the states of the EU like some 21 st century Dracula. A stake has been driven through its heart by the French people, and the Dutch will do the same".
I was right about the Dutch and wrong about the EU Constitution, it has returned like a bad movie sequel. On average 75% of the people in the EU want the right to vote on it, but only we are allowed. Showing solidarity with the people of France, Holland and those denied a vote, provides enough justification on its own, to vote no.
You'd get a great welcome if you went on holiday to France or Holland after voting no. The same applies for England. New Labour broke their word and refused their people the right to vote and had their worst result in 40 years.
If you want to venture further, try Saxony. The European Court of Justice ( the EU Supreme Court) decided that a Lower Saxony law obliging public building contractors to respect local collective agreements was incompatible with EU law when a Polish company paid workers the Polish minimum wage, only 46.5% that of Lower Saxony. The case was similar to that of the Laval and the Viking Judgement, so add Finland and Sweden to your holiday destination list.
The ECJ decisions are sustained attacks on the wages and working conditions of workers throughout the EU. Social Europe is dead and gone; it's with the well heeled right wing Irish social democrats in the grave. A trade unionist voting yes would be like a turkey voting for Christmas.
If the major corporations plan to increase their profits by ensuring workers incomes are drastically reduced, then what better way of getting away with it than by engendering fear of "terrorism" and enriching the arms industry corporations? For PANA, the militarisation of the EU is one of the cornerstones of the treaty and a continuation of the "war on terrorism".
Irish neutrality is already destroyed. The main parties advocating a yes vote have already supported the invasion, conquest and occupation of Iraq by the US because it wanted to consolidate US/Israeli military domination of the Middle East. Over a million US troops have used Shannon Airport on their way to the war. Ireland is a US aircraft carrier in total contravention of the 1907 Hague Convention. The militarisation of the EU can only be understood in the context of the Iraq war and of the integration of Ireland into the US/EU/NATO military structures to ensure Ireland's full and active participation in the resource wars of the 21 st century, wars in which the defeat of the US/EU/NATO axis is the only inevitable outcome. These wars have already cost the US and its vassal states, well over $3 trillion and have caused a massive global economic crisis, the responsibility for which is shared by the yes campaigners. Not content with supporting President Bush, they now want to drag us even deeper into the "war on terrorism" via this treaty.
Ireland has already signed up to the EU's Security Strategy in 2003 with it's codification of preventive war in tandem with Bush's policy. The EU Parliament voted 414 to 117 in November 2006 to approve a report highlighting the links with NATO stating that the, "EU is on the way to developing into a Security and Defence Union." It also voted not to respect the decision of the Irish people. The EU Council in 2004 agreed to; "enhance the operational capability of the EU and provide the framework for the strategic partnership between the EU and NATO".
The Lisbon treaty continues and legalises the process of the militarisation of the EU and strengthening EU/NATO links.
Ireland "shall undertake to improve their military capabilities". The European Defence Agency the function of which is to expand and improve EU military expenditure is part of the treaty. In December 07 the EU Commission made it clear that the emerging EDA will mean even more arms exports and a boost to the global arms trade. If you want to support the arms trade make sure you vote yes.
Up to now the concept of the EU as a Partnership of Independent States was expressed by the fact that the position of EU President was rotated between all the states. That now ends with the appointment of an EU President and Minister for Foreign Affairs with an EU Diplomatic Service, for a de facto 5 year period.
We would have to, "support the Union's external and security policy actively and unreservedly in a spirit of loyalty and mutual solidarity". When President Barosso said the EU had the, "dimensions of Empire", he was not joking.
The mutual defence and solidarity clauses, the military Structured Cooperation clauses that allow a group of states within the EU to create their own armed force to take part in more "demanding" military expeditions and the EU Battlegroups leave no room for doubt about the militarisation of the EU. The French have already called for the six largest EU states to establish a 60,000 strong expeditionary army. No wonder the leaked memo said the referendum should not be held later this year because, "the risk of unhelpful developments during the French Presidency- particularly relating to EU defence- were just too great".
When people vote the key question is: what kind of Europe do they want? If the want a centralised, militarised, neo-liberal superstate allied to the US engaged in wars all over the world, then they should vote yes. If they want a Partnership Europe, a partnership of Independent, Democratic States, legal equals, without a military dimension, then they should vote no. The referendum is not just an Irish battle, it is a European battle fought on Irish soil, and is one PANA needs to win.