Senator Alice-Mary Higgins urges European Parliamentarians to reject a proposal which would deny MEPs powers of oversight over the €13 billion European Defence Fund

Seanad Debate
Seanad Debate

The proposal, due to be voted on by the parliament this week, in the last plenary session before the elections, would limit decisions on the work programme of the European Defence Fund to the European Commission and committees through “implementation acts”, effectively bypassing debate, criticism or approval from MEPs.

Senator Higgins said, “If MEP’s sign off on this agreement this week, they will be undermining the power of the next parliament to scrutinise or hold the European Defence Fund to account.”
She continued “I am asking MEP’s of all parties to indicate where they stand on this by either speaking and voting against this abdication of democratic oversight. At the very least, I would ask them to delay the vote until a new Parliament with a new mandate is in place.”
Senator Higgins was an early critic of Ireland's decision to join the PESCO military alliance, noting at the time that "In the founding document of PESCO, peace is not mentioned even once" and raising concerns about PESCO's goal of greatly increased defence spending, "very little of which is likely to go towards wages".
Speaking this morning, Senator Higgins noted, "When we look at PESCO and the European Defence Fund, we have to question the appropriateness of directing so much funding towards militarisation when the EU faces such huge collective challenges in other areas like climate change. There are also very specific issues around the purpose and detail of this spending.  Will it, for example, support autonomous weaponry such as AI based drones?  Will it undermine UN mandates? These are the kind of questions MEPs in the next Parliament need to be able to ask".
Senator Higgins, who is chair of the Oireachtas cross party group on Peace, Neutrality and Disarmament, concluded, "Ireland has a proud record on disarmament and peacekeeping and our best contribution to Europe is as beacons and champions for peace. We should not compromise our peace builder role by signing up to the European Defence Fund and choosing to turn a blind eye to its operations.”

More Stories

Senator Alice-Mary Higgins welcomes decision not to permit hedge-cutting in August and calls on Minister Madigan to review the Heritage Act and to protect biodiversity

The decision by the Minister not to extend hedge-cutting into August this year is an important recognition of the growing crisis in biodiversity in Ireland and worldwide.
Senator Higgins said in response to today’s announcement, “I am glad to see Minister Madigan has apparently given new consideration to the serious concerns expressed by myself and others during the extensive Seanad Debate in the Heritage Bill and has removed the threat of August cutting from the habitats which our insects, birds, bees rely on. The essential next step must be to review this flawed legislation and ensure that biodiversity is protected not just this year but every year.”