The EU as a global superpower


Speaking on the subject at this year's Desmond Greaves Summer School, Dr Andy Storey, School of Development Studies UCD and Council member of AfRI (Action from Ireland) said:

"THE MOST recent and important development in EU military doctrine and practice springs from British and French proposals for a series of rapid-deployment military units. By 2007 the EU is to have 9 such "battle groups", each consisting of 1,500 troops and capable of being deployed within two weeks.

Dr Andy Storey

"When the Irish government commits, as it will, Irish soldiers to these 'battle groups', we can be sure that we will hear the usual nonsense that Irish neutrality is unaffected because we have not signed up to a mutual defence pact. True enough, but what Irish soldiers will be doing is going to war outside Europe itself alongside the armies of other European countries.

It is hard to know how a meaningful conception of neutrality is not violated by such adventures. "The eminently predictable response to that will be that these 'battle groups' are going to do good things: stop ethnic cleansing, alleviate humanitarian catastrophes, and so on. We can fervently hope that is the case, but it is far from guaranteed. "The EU security chief and foreign minister in waiting is Javier Solana. One of his most senior advisers is Robert Cooper, who recently wrote that Europe had:

'to get used to the idea of double standards...Amongst ourselves we keep the law but when we are operating in the jungle, we must also use the laws of the jungle...We need to revert to the tougher methods of an earlier era: force, preemptive attack, deception, whatever is necessary'.

This is the kind of cynical and aggressive philosophy that looks set to guide the use of the EU's emerging military capacity. It is not going to make the world a safer place, and it is not something that Ireland, or the EU as a whole, should contemplate buying into."

Further contributions to the 2004 Desmond Greaves Summer School can be found at

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This document was last modified by David Granville on 2004-09-29 16:48:39.
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