The proposed Constitution for Europe militarises the EU, commits us to a mutual defence pact and binds us to support the aims of the Euratom Treaty
The proposed Constitution for Europe states unambiguously in Article I-40 that: "The common security and defence policy" it proposes "shall include the progressive framing of a common defence policy for the Union. This will lead to a common defence, when the European Council, acting unanimously, so decides". This Article is an example of the methodical incremental progression towards a federal EU state that has characterised each successive EU treaty. This step by step approach is best illustrated by referring back to a similar Article in the Nice Treaty. You will recall that one of the most contested Articles in that treaty stated that the progressive framing of a defence policy "might lead to a common defence, should the European Council so decide".
So, should the Irish people decide to accept this proposed constitution at referendum, what remains of our neutrality will finally disappear and we will be committed to the EU objective of a common defence - and constitutionally committed at that! There is no ambiguity, there is no fudge. This is the end of the line. It is simply a matter of when it will happen, not if it will happen.
Article I-40 further provides that a European Armaments, Research and Military Capabilities Agency be established to provide support for a common defence. Clearly the intent is the establishment of a military-industrial complex - first signaled in the Amsterdam Treaty - to rival that of the US. Working Group 8 of the Convention that drafted the constitution states in its Report that: "it is essential to step up investment in military research ... to ensure that equipment is in the interests of civil industry". Currently, EU member's investment in military research is running at 20% of that of the US. The draft Constitution further provides that civil and military assets may be used for foreign interventions under the Common Security and Defence policy. These interventions ominously include: "... peacemaking and post-conflict stabilization" and "supporting third countries in combating terrorism in their territories" (Art. III-210).
Working Group 8 on Defence further reported that the "interests" of the EU will be expressed by force in the context of "global insecurity". This process will be realised through the "projection of stability outside the Union" and sustained by "a public opinion" that "appears to be very much in favour of European defence". It is not too late to prove them wrong. We must organize a strong, democratic and accountable opposition to the proposed Constitution at the referendum that is most likely to be held later next year.
The Proposed EU Constitution Binds us to Support the Aims of the Euratom Treaty
The Treaty establishing the Constitution for Europe has a number of binding protocols attached, one of which was added without debate at the last minute. This protocol links the provisions of the European Atomic Energy Treaty to the Constitution and through further amendments, facilitates the application of the financial provisions of the Union to the European Atomic Energy Community. The Euratom Treaty binds EU member states to "create the conditions necessary for the speedy establishment and growth of nuclear industries" while "facilitating investment to develop nuclear energy". The EU Commission is responsible for the financing of Euratom through the EU budget and decisions on loans etc. are made in secret. Neither is there any form of public consultation. The Commission is pro-nuclear and is set to make just such a decision on Wednesday next (24th) when it decides whether to fund a nuclear reactor in Romania - a prospective EU member.
Two key concerns arise from the addition of this protocol to the Constitution: On May first, thirteen of the twenty-five member states - a majority - will have nuclear reactors but there is no common set of safety rules that can be enforced. Attempts by Transport Minister de Palacio in 2002 to give powers to the Commission to supervise the safety of reactors, were opposed by Britain and France. Secondly, there is now a real danger that the balance of forces in the EU in favour of the aggressive promotion of nuclear power may change through the dual effect of the accession of the new nuclear using member states and the powerful binding Constitutional protocol. This would result in the diversion of larger portions of the EU budget to the development of nuclear power. Public opinion in countries such as Sweden and Germany has been successful in achieving a phase-out of nuclear power and our own small success at Carnsore prevented Ireland going nuclear. These hard won outcomes are now set to be compromised or reversed by the Euratom protocol which alone provides sufficient reason to campaign against this proposed Constitution.
Peoples Movement - Gluaiseacht an Phobail calls for principled opposition to the proposed Constitution based on the above Articles and protocol but also based on other articles, principal among them being Article I-10 which provides that: "The Constitution, and law adopted by the Union's institutions in exercising competences conferred upon it, shall have primacy over the law of member states". Given that the only major area of competence remaining to member states if the Constitution is accepted will be direct taxation, this in effect amounts to a complete emasculation of national sovereignty. This erosion is further compounded by the abolition of the veto in twenty-seven further policy areas.
We call on all democrats to assist us in our opposition to this proposed Constitution, to assist us locally by forming branches to campaign during the referendum and to make a donation to our Campaign Fund.