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Agreement of the 27 on an “Irish” protocol on Defense

(BRUSSELS2) There will indeed be an “Irish” protocol on defense (as well as taxation and family) added to a European Treaty. The 27 heads of state and government, meeting at a summit in Brussels, agreed on this point this Friday.

It was mainly the United Kingdom and Ireland who held the final rounds of negotiations during the day, eventually agreeing on a compromise formula. The United Kingdom did not want to be required to re-ratify the Lisbon Treaty, Ireland wanted a decision with “constitutional” legal value immediately to convince its voters to return to the vote and eliminate any risk of a new “No” vote. ”. In the end, the system is as follows:

1) a decision of the European Council includes a set of positions – particularly in matters of defense – intended to clarify defense issues for the Irish, it has legal value (secondary law) and enters into force at the same time as the Treaty of Lisbon;

2) it will be transformed into a protocol to the Treaty (therefore a text with primary or constitutional law value) but not immediately: in the next treaty which will be submitted for ratification (probably that of Croatia's accession);

3) this decision is accompanied by a unilateral declaration from Ireland – of more political than legal value – which will be annexed to the Treaty subject to ratification by the Irish (and to the Irish instrument of ratification of the Treaty).

The content is quite similar to what I announced on this blog (ESDP guarantees given to Ireland).

The text is based on a double principle that could be called “legal non-proliferation":"the common defense and security policy does not prejudice the defense policy of each Member State, or its obligations. Lisbon Treaty does not affect Ireland's traditional policy of military neutrality" (Union's common security and defense policy) “does not prejudice the security and defense policy of each Member State, including Ireland, or the obligations of any Member State”. (and) The Treaty of Lisbon does not affect or prejudice Ireland's traditional policy of military neutrality.

It is up to each Member State to “determine what help or assistance it provides to the Member State victim of a terrorist attack or armed attack on its territory”. “It will be for Member States – including Ireland, acting in a spirit of solidarity and without prejudice to its traditional policy of military neutrality – to determine the nature of aid or assistance to be provided to a Member State which is the object of a terrorist attack or the victim of armed aggression on its territory”

"Any decision to move on common defense requires a unanimous decision of the European Council". Any decision to move to a common defense will require a unanimous decision of the European Council.

It is up to each Member State to “decide to participate in the permanent structured cooperation or toEuropean Defense Agency." It is also a matter for each Member State to decide, in accordance with the provisions of the Treaty of Lisbon and any domestic legal requirements, whether to participate in permanent structured cooperation or the European Defense Agency.

The Treaty of Lisbon “does not provide for the creation of a european army (like a) conscription for military training. It does not affect the right of Ireland or any Member State to determine the nature and volume of defense spending, such as the nature of its defense capabilities". The Treaty of Lisbon does not provide for the creation of a European army or for conscription to any military formation. It does not affect the right of Ireland or any other Member State to determine the nature and volume of its defense and security expenditure and the nature of its defense capabilities.

It will be a matter for Ireland or any other Member State, to decide, in accordance with any domestic legal requirements, whether or not to participate in any military operation.

(Nicolas Gros-Verheyde)

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Nicolas Gros Verheyde

Chief editor of the B2 site. Graduated in European law from the University of Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne and listener to the 65th session of the IHEDN (Institut des Hautes Etudes de la Défense Nationale. Journalist since 1989, founded B2 - Bruxelles2 in 2008. EU/NATO correspondent in Brussels for Sud-Ouest (previously West-France and France-Soir).

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