(BRUSSELS2) The "guarantees" given to Ireland to facilitate the holding of a second referendum on the Lisbon Treaty will be at the center of discussions at the European Summit on 18 and 19 June. Or at least, the 27 Heads of State and Government will be able to approve the main elements. The Irish diplomats, assisted by the Council's lawyers, have indeed worked on several projects. And we are close to a global agreement.
According to the first elements, there will thus be four “Irish” guarantees. Three will be included in a decision with legal value, for example a decision of the European Council (which has legal value): on defense policy and neutrality, on taxation, on the family, education and ethics. The last guarantee (on social policy and labor law) will be included in a "solemn" declaration of purely political value.
Clarify, explain, specify, de-dramatize...
In terms of the ESDP, it is essentially - as one European diplomat explained - " to clarify the text of the Lisbon Treaty - not to modify it (which would require a new ratification of the Treaty) - to explain in general terms that the adoption of the new Treaty does not mean that Ireland renounces
neutrality, that it does not lead to the creation of this "European army" (an idea that runs like a leitmotif among some euro sceptics, was mentioned by some in the No campaign, and is not based on any concrete European project), or to increase military spending. All the difficulty - explains this diplomat - was to give guarantees to Ireland without putting in cantilever the other countries, in particular the Neutral ones (Austria, Finland, Sweden...) which already ratified the text.
Thus for the solidarity clause, the text specifies that it is up to each Member State to determine the means by which it intends to support the attacked State (means which are not automatically military, but can be diplomatic or humanitarian). It recalls that participation in permanent structured cooperation is a matter for the will of each Member State.
Like participation in the European Defense Agency, moreover (which would be new since Ireland already participates in the work of the agency). It clarifies participation in military operations, stating that it remains voluntary - neither Ireland nor other member states can be required to participate.
Participation in a military operation by Ireland - according to the draft declaration - will be conditional on three elements:
- 1) an authorization from the UN Security Council,
- 2) the agreement of the Irish government,
- 3) the approval of the Irish Parliament (Dail Eireann).
The formula adopted at the European Summit should thus be substantially close to the draft text prepared by the Irish government (and published in the Irish Times):
- "The Union's action on the international scene is guided by the principles of democracy, the rule of law, the universality and indivisibility of human rights and fundamental freedoms, respect for human dignity, the principles of equality and solidarity, and respect for the principles of the United Nations Charter and international law.
- The Union's common security and defense policy is an integral part of the common foreign and security policy and provides the Union with an operational capacity to undertake missions outside the Union for peace-keeping, conflict prevention and strengthening international security in accordance with the principles of the United Nations Charter. It does not prejudice the specific character of the security and defense policy of Ireland.
- The Lisbon Treaty does not affect or prejudice Ireland's traditional policy of military neutrality.
- It will be for 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 to a common defense will require a unanimous decision of the European Council. It would be a matter for the Member States, including Ireland, to decide, in accordance with the provisions of the Treaty of Lisbon and with their respective constitutional requirements, whether or not to adopt a common defence.
- Nothing in this Section affects or prejudices the position or policy of any other Member State on security and defense.
- It is also a matter for each Member State to decide, in accordance with the provisions of the Lisbon Treaty and any domestic legal requirements, whether to participate in permanent structured co-operation or the European Defense Agency.
- The Treaty of Lisbon does not provide for the creation of a European army or for conscription to any military training,
- 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 requirement, whether or not to participate in any military operation.
- It reiterates that the participation of contingents of the Irish Defense Forces in overseas operations, including those carried out under the European common security and defense policy requires (a) the authorization of the operation by the Security Council of the General Assembly of the United Nations, (b) the agreement of the Irish Government, and (c) the approval of Dáil Éireann, in accordance with Irish law.
- Ireland notes that nothing obliges it to participate in permanent structured co-operation as provided for in the Treaty on European Union. Any decision enabling Ireland to participate will require the approval of Dáil Éireann in accordance with Irish law.
- Ireland also notes that nothing obliges it to participate in the European Defense Agency, or in specific projects or programs initiated under its auspices. Any decision to participate in such projects or programs will be subject to national decision-making and the approval of Dáil Éireann in accordance with Irish law. Ireland declares that it will participate only in those projects and programs that contribute to enhancing the capabilities required for participation in UN-mandated missions for peace-keeping, conflict prevention and strengthening international security, in accordance with the principles of the United Nations Charter.