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    Ireland Joining New EU Defense Framework to Undermine Neutrality Principle

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    Lynn Boylan, a member of the European Parliament for the Dublin Constituency, said that the new EU defense framework would undermine the Ireland’s principle of neutrality.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — The new EU defense framework, effectively a duplicate of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), will undermine the Ireland’s principle of neutrality if signed by the nation's government, Lynn Boylan, a member of the European Parliament for the Dublin Constituency told Sputnik.

    On Monday, Ireland's Minister of Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney said that Ireland’s involvement in a new EU defense framework, the Permanent Structured Cooperation on security and defense (PESCO), will go to Ireland’s cabinet within a couple of weeks.

    "Participation in PESCO will completely undermine Irish neutrality; PESCO is a further step in creating a fully-fledged EU defense union … As a neutral nation Ireland does not participate in military alliances such as NATO. PESCO undermines this position as it is seen by both European leaders and NATO as complementing the European [equivalent] of NATO," Boylan said.

    According to Ireland's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, successive Irish governments have followed a policy of military neutrality, which is characterized by non-membership of military alliances. Boylan stated that Ireland however can still engage in military cooperation internationally without joining PESCO and undermining the country’s neutrality.

    "PESCO is being justified by the Irish government as allowing for more cooperation on important defense and humanitarian issues. However as Ireland’s involvement in UN missions and the successful bilateral mission between the Irish and Italian navies show that ongoing bilateral cooperation is possible without sacrificing further sovereignty to the EU," Boylan said.

    On Tuesday, 23 EU countries signed a declaration of intent to enter the PESCO pact, which will be officially launched at the EU summit in December, by which stage Ireland is also expected to have joined them. The project is set to enhance the European Union's capacity as an international partner of other blocs and countries in the area of security and increase effectiveness of the bloc’s defense spending.

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