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 Lisbon and Neutrality

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PostSubject: Re: Lisbon and Neutrality   Sat Apr 05, 2008 12:23 am

'Neutrality? Spare me!' sez Peter Sutherland yesterday at the Forum gathering in Dublin Castle.
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PostSubject: Re: Lisbon and Neutrality   Sat Apr 05, 2008 12:28 am

Tell me more Kate - and take a look at the late late show maybe.
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PostSubject: Re: Lisbon and Neutrality   Sat Apr 05, 2008 12:29 am

Kate P wrote:
'Neutrality? Spare me!' sez Peter Sutherland yesterday at the Forum gathering in Dublin Castle.

Gladly Peter.
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PostSubject: Re: Lisbon and Neutrality   Sat Apr 05, 2008 1:19 am

It was billed as a debate between himself and Mary Lou about the economic implications of the treaty. I took notes but everyone got a copy of the speech later. What he said was very different to what he wrote.

The written speech did actually have some reference to economics but he launched a staggering offensive at the No side, essentially questioning their right to say no at all.

He didn't labour the neutrality issue but said "Neutrality? Spare me!", called the reference to Ireland's 'special position' an embarrasment (by that I assume he means the neutrality that dare not speak its name in the treaty).

He said that because unanimity is required for any common military action, the neutrality argument was "illusory" from day one.

It was a rather dismissive attitude.

But the most interesting thing was the timing - or, I suppose, the fact that he said anything at all.

He opened the debate and everyone was surprised that he attacked general No arguments/perspectives rather than dealing with the finances. In fact a number of members of the forum - including ML, said that they understood the debate was supposed to be on economics - and ML's speech was very focussed on dealing with what SF perceive to be the economic arguments.

Had he said nothing about neutrality and other general issues, it would have been a much quieter debate.
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PostSubject: Re: Lisbon and Neutrality   Sat Apr 05, 2008 12:40 pm

Interesting: thanks Kate. Can I ask your advice as the my best bet for reading the Treaty. I remember a thread on P.ie in which there was talk of a consolidated version online - do you know anything about that? I want to make a start next week.
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PostSubject: Re: Lisbon and Neutrality   Sat Apr 05, 2008 2:38 pm

cactus flower wrote:
Interesting: thanks Kate. Can I ask your advice as the my best bet for reading the Treaty. I remember a thread on P.ie in which there was talk of a consolidated version online - do you know anything about that? I want to make a start next week.

Down the bottom of this page are links to the consolidated versions of the TEU and the TFEU as they would be amended by Lisbon. They're from the IEA, who are EU-approved (those versions are currently linked from the EU Ireland pages).

The official official EU consolidated version will be out on the 15th April - week after next.

I have seen a claim that the IEA will be bringing out an "annotated" version - which will be a version of the existing treaties, as amended by Lisbon, showing the struck-out bits and the new bits. I'm kind of looking forward to that, sadly.
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PostSubject: Re: Lisbon and Neutrality   Sat Apr 05, 2008 3:13 pm

I would love the annotated version, but perhaps too risky to wait for it.
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PostSubject: Re: Lisbon and Neutrality   Sun Apr 06, 2008 1:00 am

Quote :
I have seen a claim that the IEA will be bringing out an "annotated" version - which will be a version of the existing treaties, as amended by Lisbon, showing the struck-out bits and the new bits. I'm kind of looking forward to that, sadly.

How many trillion pages is that likely to run to?
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PostSubject: Re: Lisbon and Neutrality   Sun Apr 06, 2008 1:14 am

Kate P wrote:
Quote :
I have seen a claim that the IEA will be bringing out an "annotated" version - which will be a version of the existing treaties, as amended by Lisbon, showing the struck-out bits and the new bits. I'm kind of looking forward to that, sadly.

How many trillion pages is that likely to run to?

It would have to be longer than the consolidated versions, anyway. I do still think the shortest and most useful read is the UKFO one with the comparative tables.
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PostSubject: Re: Lisbon and Neutrality   Sun Apr 06, 2008 1:53 am

Thanks - will sleep with that under my pillow.
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PostSubject: Re: Lisbon and Neutrality   Wed Apr 16, 2008 10:59 am

And back to neutrality.

Apart from Shannon, which is a separate issue, what, if any, are the events or issues that have compromised our 'neutrality' since we joined the EU.

And how have we changed militarily since joining the EU.
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PostSubject: Re: Lisbon and Neutrality   Wed Apr 16, 2008 12:04 pm

There is a piece in the treaty which requires us to have our military up to a certain standard if I'm not mistaken. In other words more money going to Willie, not that that affects neutrality but we will have changed militarily.

At the debate last night I dozed through this particular topic, but the gist from SF was that neutrality was affected (don't know how) and from the pro-treaty side it was said that it wasn't affected. Battlegroups are designed ofr Petersburg scenarios (or something) which means they'll be used for peacekeeping and the like only. There was no EU army. Interestingly, both pro-treaty chaps were anti-neutrality, arguing that we can't cut ourselves off from the world and expect everything to be grand. This stance was used against Dukes, but not to great effect.

Overall, I suspect that neutrality hasn't been affected, unless it's in some extremely vague dense hidden manner that Libertas is always warning against. The problem with such examples is that they are vague enough for Libertas to, eh, interpret as they see fit.
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PostSubject: Re: Lisbon and Neutrality   Wed Apr 16, 2008 12:30 pm

905 wrote:
There is a piece in the treaty which requires us to have our military up to a certain standard if I'm not mistaken. In other words more money going to Willie, not that that affects neutrality but we will have changed militarily.

It's a commitment to "progressively improve" our defence forces. As I've said before, I'd love to have someone pay me on the basis of such an aspirational commitment.

As far as I can see, the reason for that commitment is the inter-operability of EU forces - that if Irish defence forces are to do peacekeeping with other EU forces, they should have the same standard of equipment.

905 wrote:
At the debate last night I dozed through this particular topic, but the gist from SF was that neutrality was affected (don't know how) and from the pro-treaty side it was said that it wasn't affected. Battlegroups are designed ofr Petersburg scenarios (or something) which means they'll be used for peacekeeping and the like only. There was no EU army. Interestingly, both pro-treaty chaps were anti-neutrality, arguing that we can't cut ourselves off from the world and expect everything to be grand. This stance was used against Dukes, but not to great effect.

Overall, I suspect that neutrality hasn't been affected, unless it's in some extremely vague dense hidden manner that Libertas is always warning against. The problem with such examples is that they are vague enough for Libertas to, eh, interpret as they see fit.

Well, we do have the usual guarantees, as per Nice and the rest. We also have the Triple Lock commitment of our own.
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PostSubject: Re: Lisbon and Neutrality   Wed Apr 16, 2008 1:38 pm

All depends on how you define "Neutrality" Kate

What is "neutrality" and is it really possible to be "neutral" ?

Is it an article of faith as opposed to having any real basis in reality?

Is it a moral principle for conducting international relations or a cowardly cheapskakes wayout of having to take a stand and put their money where their mouth is?

Lets have a look at our fellow "neutral" european neighbours

Swiss?

http://www.stacher.ch/swissopinion/OriginNeutrality.html


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Switzerland

http://www.wisegeek.com/why-is-switzerland-regarded-as-a-neutral-country.htm

finnish?
http://virtual.finland.fi/netcomm/news/showarticle.asp?intNWSAID=32643
http://www.country-data.com/cgi-bin/query/r-4709.html

Swedish?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Swedish_neutrality
http://www.iticu.edu.tr/Kutuphane/dergi/s11/M00167.pdf

http://www.economicexpert.com/a/Swedish:neutrality.htm

Austrian?

http://countrystudies.us/austria/47.htm
http://www.country-data.com/cgi-bin/query/r-913.html
http://www.country-studies.com/austria/foreign-relations.html
http://www.ciaonet.org/journals/iisfpa/v3i2/0000766.pdf



As you can see there are similarities and wide divergences in what each nation intreprets as "neutrality" ,how that policy of neutrality came about and how deeply imbedded it is an article of faith in the imagination of that nations pysche.

Another poser for you, to my mind anyway, would be the question that we maybe define the concept of neutrality very narrowly here - ie just the military hardware sphere, with the shadows of NATO and Uncle Sam lurking deliciously in the background, to the horrified delight of its most devoted and religious adherents here.

Economic and Diplomatic force are becoming far more potent in the pursuance of foreign policy objectives as opposed to Military -which is a distant third and is more about bluster and deterrence (Texan cowboys aside)

Back in the 80s - an unoffical boycott of SA goods here in support of the anti-apartheid became official Gov policy which in turn became an official EU policy of sanctions which led to the collapse of the Apartheid regime. Leaving aside the morality of the episode - Ireland took a distinct stand on this - is interfering in the domestic and economic affairs of an independent country that never displayed any aggressive intent towards ourselves really the action of a neutral country? - Yes what was happening terrible - but so was what happened in NAZI Germany in WWII - where we washed our hands and took a strict line - even turning back Jewish refugees.


Ireland is also one of the most militant promoters and protectors of CAP - a policy which has probably had a more detrimental effect on the economies of many third world nations than all the EU aid given can amileorate. Being aware of its effects and in particular the bullying open of third world markets and subsidised dumping of dairy and other agricultural commodities on their markets and the subsequent collapse and ruination of the indigeneous industry of the same really the actions of a neutral state?

there is more than one way to skin a cat.

Just posing these questions.

Irish Neutrality - I have no opinion on - because it doesn't exist - We are the cute hoers of the Western World and our non-aligned status(dont look too closely) has so far allowed us to duck and weave to our advantage - While this stance has worked for us so far - ie we are a thinly populated nation in the most peaceful part of the world - surrounded by more heavily armed neighbours who will come to our rescue if ever required - Things and times change and while we like to think of ourselves as neutral and independent - by our diplomatic and economic actions over the last 30 years we are percieved abroad as anything but - We are a fully paid up member of the Rich West - so far we've had all the cream and none of the chores - that may change in the future.
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PostSubject: Re: Lisbon and Neutrality   Sun Apr 20, 2008 4:09 pm

de Gaulle wrote on Yes or No to Lisbon thread
Quote :
I don't particularly care about neutrality. I don't want to join NATO but I would have no problem with mutual defence arrangements within the EU. Most neutral countries are much more militaristic than Ireland.

The policy I most detest is the Triple Lock which unilaterally gives other countries a veto over our armed forces. I have no problem with the EU where all countries are on the same level.

My understanding of the triple lock is that it really isn't a triple lock at all but a double bind in that there has to be Dáil and government approval of any action - which is the same thing really in two separate guises where there is a majority government.

I'm also concerned in principle that the Lisbon gives recognition within the EU to enhanced co-operation between member states - partly because I don't trust Britain and France.
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PostSubject: Re: Lisbon and Neutrality   Sun Apr 20, 2008 4:27 pm

Kate P wrote:
de Gaulle wrote on Yes or No to Lisbon thread
Quote :
I don't particularly care about neutrality. I don't want to join NATO but I would have no problem with mutual defence arrangements within the EU. Most neutral countries are much more militaristic than Ireland.

The policy I most detest is the Triple Lock which unilaterally gives other countries a veto over our armed forces. I have no problem with the EU where all countries are on the same level.

My understanding of the triple lock is that it really isn't a triple lock at all but a double bind in that there has to be Dáil and government approval of any action - which is the same thing really in two separate guises where there is a majority government.

I'm also concerned in principle that the Lisbon gives recognition within the EU to enhanced co-operation between member states - partly because I don't trust Britain and France.

The Triple Lock means that the Ireland can only participate in operations approved by the UN Security Council. This means that Britain and France (who you don't trust) as well as China, Russia and the U.S. can veto the deployment of Irish troops abroad. This has already happened - Ireland was unable to participate in a peacekeeping mission in Macedonia a few years ago because China vetoed it.
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PostSubject: Re: Lisbon and Neutrality   Sun Apr 20, 2008 4:50 pm

From the other side, however, if there is huge national opposition to something - say for example peacekeeping in Iraq, the notion that there is a 'double' lock in Ireland is a bit ridiculous because it's essentially the same constituency deciding twice and deciding almost invariably, to make the same decision.

It's a bit disingenuous to call it a triple lock in that circumstance, is it not?
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PostSubject: Re: Lisbon and Neutrality   Mon Apr 21, 2008 3:55 am

too true kate

the idea of peacekeeping in iraq, and other so called peterburgs task are just spin.

our neutrality is farce it doesn't exist, and the triple lock is farce cos its never been used and will never be and the dail often does things that a majority of the country are against so there no comfort from it.
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PostSubject: Re: Lisbon and Neutrality   Sat May 10, 2008 1:01 am

There was an interesting discussion on this yesterday at the Forum plenary session in Dublin.

Pat Cox, MEP and Joe Noonan, solicitor (who was an expert witness in the Crotty case) debated the implications.

Joe made the point that the language of the Treaty is the language of legally binding, international agreements and that it is more or less dishonourable of us to sign up to it with our fingers crossed behind our backs intending to say no if we are called upon to act under article 28 should another member state be a victim of aggression.

The basis of the legal argument made by the government during the hearing was that the foreign policy commitments were aspirational and not binding. This was shown conclusively not to be the case.

I am unhappy with the prospect of Enhanced Co-operation. It creates a situation where a group of EU states can do as a big gang what the UK did when getting involved in Iraq. I don't see why the EU should facilitate this and I think it's a regressive step for the Union - and the other member states.
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PostSubject: Re: Lisbon and Neutrality   Sat May 10, 2008 1:46 am

Kate P wrote:
There was an interesting discussion on this yesterday at the Forum plenary session in Dublin.

Pat Cox, MEP and Joe Noonan, solicitor (who was an expert witness in the Crotty case) debated the implications.

Joe made the point that the language of the Treaty is the language of legally binding, international agreements and that it is more or less dishonourable of us to sign up to it with our fingers crossed behind our backs intending to say no if we are called upon to act under article 28 should another member state be a victim of aggression.

The basis of the legal argument made by the government during the hearing was that the foreign policy commitments were aspirational and not binding. This was shown conclusively not to be the case.

I am unhappy with the prospect of Enhanced Co-operation. It creates a situation where a group of EU states can do as a big gang what the UK did when getting involved in Iraq. I don't see why the EU should facilitate this and I think it's a regressive step for the Union - and the other member states.

Enhanced Cooperation in foreign and defence matters can only go ahead if unanimously accepted - like everything else in foreign and defence matters.Strange but true.

As to signing up for the Treaty "with our fingers crossed", that relies on the idea that the aid and assistance clause is a mutual defence clause (in which case, why not say so?), and ignores the fact that we have the standard clause respecting our neutrality (and the neutrality of Austria, Sweden, and Finland) which would mean that if it were a case of "having our fingers crossed", we have them crossed right there in the Treaty - in the next sentence to the one that Joe Noonan and Helium Three are so hung up on - the one that neither of them quote.

Joe is undoubtedly passionately committed to his interpretation, but that does not make it correct.
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PostSubject: Re: Lisbon and Neutrality   Sat May 10, 2008 1:57 am

Kate P wrote:

I am unhappy with the prospect of Enhanced Co-operation. It creates a situation where a group of EU states can do as a big gang what the UK did when getting involved in Iraq. I don't see why the EU should facilitate this and I think it's a regressive step for the Union - and the other member states.

You think a Treaty is needed before a gang of EU states get together to form a military alliance?

What's this NATO do-da I keep hearing about?

Europe has been home to a military alliance for the last 30 years, except that its a military alliance which is controlled by the US.

If we have to have a military alliance in Europe I'd much prefer if was controlled by the EU.
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PostSubject: Re: Lisbon and Neutrality   Sat May 10, 2008 11:39 am

seinfeld wrote:
Kate P wrote:

I am unhappy with the prospect of Enhanced Co-operation. It creates a situation where a group of EU states can do as a big gang what the UK did when getting involved in Iraq. I don't see why the EU should facilitate this and I think it's a regressive step for the Union - and the other member states.

You think a Treaty is needed before a gang of EU states get together to form a military alliance?

What's this NATO do-da I keep hearing about?

Europe has been home to a military alliance for the last 30 years, except that its a military alliance which is controlled by the US.

If we have to have a military alliance in Europe I'd much prefer if was controlled by the EU.

The point is not that we need a Treaty before they can get together, but that the treaty gives them licence to under a sort of EU banner - and I'm not in favour of that. Europe may have been home to a military alliance - but the EU per se has not. To me that's a fundamental shift.

If we have to have a military alliance in Europe, as a citizen of the EU, I don't want to be associated with it. I was mortally ashamed of the actions of Britain in joining with the US on the war on Iraq - ashamed and angry but had the consolation, if I can call it that, of knowing that I hadn't signed up to giving it my blessing.

ibis wrote
Quote :
Enhanced Cooperation in foreign and defence matters can only go ahead if unanimously accepted - like everything else in foreign and defence matters.Strange but true.

And saying yes to Lisbon opens to the door to making Enhanced Cooperation a possibility. I can't stand over having a part in making that possible.

And if, as seinfeld suggests, we don't need a Treaty to facilitate military alliances in Europe, why do we need this facility in the Treaty?
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PostSubject: Re: Lisbon and Neutrality   Sat May 10, 2008 12:16 pm

We do seem to already have that facility through whatever arrangement there is for the EUFORs, as in Chad.
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PostSubject: Re: Lisbon and Neutrality   Sat May 10, 2008 2:43 pm

Kate P wrote:
Quote :
Enhanced Cooperation in foreign and defence matters can only go ahead if unanimously accepted - like everything else in foreign and defence matters.Strange but true.

And saying yes to Lisbon opens to the door to making Enhanced Cooperation a possibility. I can't stand over having a part in making that possible.

And if, as seinfeld suggests, we don't need a Treaty to facilitate military alliances in Europe, why do we need this facility in the Treaty?

That's a fair question, and I can appreciate those concerns. The best answer I can give is the one from Grahnlaw:

“Compared to intergovernmental cooperation outside the Union, the
enhanced cooperation mechanism is advantageous: it maintains the
community method, parliamentary and judicial control, and guarantees
for the non-participants. Compared to predefined systems of flexibility
(Euro, Schengen): it can create functioning subsystem without needing
an IGC, it is more general and coherent a system, and through the
“passerelle” clause it can modify its internal decision making system.”

Which is to say that the EU provides a ready-made and well-understood mechanism for inter-governmental cooperation.

Personally, like seinfeld, my view would be the opposite of yours. If our EU partners are going to establish something like the Iraq invasion "coalition of the willing", our hands are not clean, and I would prefer that that was formally recognised, and the coalition subject to the EU mechanisms.
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PostSubject: Re: Lisbon and Neutrality   Sat May 10, 2008 3:03 pm

They are only our EU partners in a coalition of the willing in so far as we make it possible for such a coalition to be set up by EU partners as opposed to individual states acting outside of the EU's remit.

Grahnlaw's argument makes perfect logical sense but it leaves out the ethics: enhanced co-operation under an EU banner has the approval of every member state who has ratified the Treaty of Lisbon.

Are our (Irish) hands clean regarding Britain's role in Iraq, ibis? I mean apart from that scandal in Shannon.
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