Ireland should not ‘fear’ a European Union defence debate, says Harris – – Our News, Your Views

Ireland should not ‘fear’ a European Union defence debate, says Harris

Taoiseach Simon Harris has stated that Ireland shouldn’t “be afraid of” a discussion on strengthening collective defence at the European level, reports RTE.

Mr. Harris made the following statement upon arriving to the second day of a meeting held by the European Union in Brussels: “It is important that Ireland participate in debates and make it clear that we will maintain our military neutrality.

“There’s nothing that I see here at a European level that I think Ireland should be fearful of, and I think Ireland should continue to be an honest participant.”

After Russia invaded Ukraine, opinions on the EU’s military responsibilities changed, reports RTE.

This has been influenced in part by the bloc’s inability to fulfil its obligations to restock Europe’s long-depleted artillery ammunition stockpiles and provide Ukraine with much-needed artillery munitions after the end of the Cold War.

In order to enable a more economical procurement system at the EU level, outgoing European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, who is running for a second term, has backed the notion of a European commissioner for defence cooperation.

According to the European Commission, 78% of member states’ defence purchases in the year after the conflict in Ukraine came from outside the union, reports RTE.

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