Article 42 of the proposed Constitution for Europe states in part that: "The Union and its Member States shall act jointly in a spirit of solidarity if a Member State is the victim of terrorist attack or natural or man-made disaster. The Union shall mobilize all the instruments at its disposal, including the military resources made available by the Member States'. Bertie Ahern successfully proposed that this Article be adopted as a political commitment by member states at the meeting of EU heads of State and Government meeting in Brussels last week.

The adoption of this clause, ostensibly to bolster the fight against terrorism, foreshadows the Mutual Defence Pact enshrined in the proposed Constitution for Europe which states, 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".

The decision to implement the provisions of the 'Solidarity Clause' and the specific arrangements for their implementation will be taken by the Council of Ministers acting on a joint proposal from the unelected Commission and the new Union Minister for Foreign Affairs. They will then inform the European Parliament. The request will be originated by the effected Member State. It should be noted that the definition of a terrorist act is discretionary on the part of the effected member state and that the implementation arrangements are then handed over totally to the EU.

This proposal from Bertie Ahern is a typical example of the methodical incremental progression towards a federal EU state with its own army. It is also part of the softening up process in preparation for the eventual referendum on the proposed Constitution for Europe, which includes the 'Mutual Defence Pact'.

The appropriate body to lead the fight against terrorism in the EU and elsewhere is the United Nations. The Irish Government should seek support for a resolution at the UN that would mandate that organization to coordinate international action against terrorism. But, not until all member nations recognise and strictly adhere to resolutions of the UN will terrorism of the kind recently and so tragically experienced in Spain, be finally defeated. The invocation of the 'Solidarity Clause' at the instigation of Bertie Ahern, echoes Bush's bypassing of the UN prior to the invasion of Iraq and should be rejected.

For sovereignty, democracy and social justice.