by Roger Cole (European Conference on the EU Constitution, London, 9 April 2005)
I would like to thank the Democracy Movement and the Campaign against euro-Federalism for inviting me to address this Conference in London. A previous European Empire established London, an Empire that was militarised, centralised, dominated by a neo-liberal ideology, where political power resided with an elite, and the people had little or role in they way it was ruled. Rome was the perfect place to sign the EU Constitution. There is no record of an Antonius Blairus becoming the Emperor of that European Empire, but a certain Tony Blair might aspire to the role of Emperor, or President of the newly emerging European Empire.
Ireland was not part of that previous European Empire, and throughout our history there have always been Irish people who did not want to be part of an Empire, and it is from that anti-imperialist tradition that the Peace & Neutrality Alliance developed. As the people of England, Scotland and Wales become part of the newly emerging European Empire, and experience the realities of Empire as we have done, then maybe they will become more Irish than the Irish themselves.
PANA advocates that Ireland should be a neutral state, have its own Independent Foreign Policy and pursue that policy through a reformed United Nations.
Therefore PANA's vision of the future of Europe is as a Partnership of Independent, Democratic States, legal equals, without a military dimension.
PANA was established to oppose the process by which Ireland was being steadily integrated into the EU/US/NATO military industrial structures in order to ensure Irelands full participation in the resource wars of the 21st century. We sought not to build a new group, but to create an alliance of existing groups that opposed this process, which is supported by virtually the entire political/media elite in Ireland.
PANA was the only alliance to oppose the Amsterdam Treaty and while we were defeated, over 38% of the Irish people voted no. PANA also played a key role in achieving a 54% No vote victory, of Nice 1 and achieving a 38% No vote in Nice 2. We sought a Protocol similar to that achieved by the Danes which would exclude Ireland from paying for, or involvement with the EU Battle Groups or Rapid Reaction Force.
We lost but the fact that the yes side spent euro 1,675,500 and the no campaign spent euro 268,000 on the Nice 2 campaign was a central factor in the victory for the Empire Loyalists.
PANA is now campaigning against the EU Constitution, and played an important role in establishing the broad based Campaign Against the EU Constitution (CAECU) in Ireland.
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 continuous war.
John Bruton, once an Irish Taoiseach has been appointed the EU Ambassador in the United States. In his last major speech in Ireland before he took up his new job, he attacked Pearse, Connolly, De Valera and Michael Collins and all the others that fought for Irish National Independence. His hero is John Redmond, a supporter of Irish Home Rule within the British Empire. Bruton believes that the new foreign, security and defence policy as envisaged under the EU Constitution would help the EU "to become a more effective partner of the United States in tackling the many regional and global issues we face together" and that EU arms industry will be facilitated by the EU Constitution to help, "Europe assume its responsibilities on the world scene" -www.eurunion.org
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.
They however have a problem. George Bush, the Head of the American Empire is a rich white Protestant Fundamentalist, a 21st century Oliver Cromwell. An Oliver Cromwell II is not popular in Ireland, or England, where Cromwell Is corpse was dug up and hanged. Indeed Oliver Cromwell II is not very popular with the peoples throughout Europe, and while the EU elite support Bush, the latest example being the endorsement of Paul Wolfowitz as President of the World Bank, they are going to have a hell of a job asking the people to die for Bush in wars that will be made easier by this 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 and destruction.
To quote the French Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin, "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)
PANA agrees with Mr. Raffarin. The EU Constitution is not a 'tidying up exercise' as Tony Blair and Bertie Ahern claim, but 'a new geography, a new history', or more accurately, old Imperial history in a new 21st century Imperial bottle.
The history is clear. Europe in the first half of the 20th 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 via 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.
Anybody with any knowledge of the histories of the rulers of these Empires has every right to not trust their successors. Never mind their declared values as outlined in the Fundamental Rights section. Bush says he believes in democracy and Freedom as well.
The EU elite has established EU Battle Groups and the EU Constitution ensures, that like the armies of Bushs 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 2nd 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 Irelands 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 11/05).
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 EUs 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.
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. The FRES, or battlefield vehicle or more accurately family of vehicles will cost euro 6.7 million stirling each, and the life-time cost for each would be 55.5 million stirling. These new military systems designed for rapid reaction military forces 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 EUs 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 Natos defence policy, with is based on the first use of nuclear weapons.
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.
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.
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 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 are in Iraq as they are mostly the poor who join 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 20th century and Imperialism whither American, Chinese or European is no answer to social justice in the 21st 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.
We need to build a European Peace Alliance throughout all of Europe, from Russia to Ireland. We need to build an alliance with all democrats. We need to start by build an EPA to oppose this EU Constitution. The IMI in Germany and PANA in Ireland have already established an EPA based on the IMI Declaration in opposition to the EU Constitution. But it is not enough. We need to build a European Alliance that brings together peace movements throughout Europe. This is a struggle against an emerging Empire that offers nothing but war, death, destruction and defeat. The alternative we offer for Europe, a Partnership of Independent, Democratic states working for peace and security through a reformed and renewed United Nations, the only global and inclusive institution committed to collective security is one to which the peoples of national democratic states of Europe will respond. It is up to us provide that vision of peace and security for Europe and the world.
Chair,Peace & Neutrality Alliance.