The formation of an EU army continues apace with the elite special forces Irish Army Ranger Wing (ARW) set to join an EU “battlegroup” based in Germany for the first time.
Ireland has always been resistant to this but now the government have dropped any pretence of neutrality following the Dáil passing a motion earlier this year allowing the Defence Forces to taken part in a German led EU Battle Group that will be on stand-by for six months from July 2020.
The Wing will join other European special forces to form a rapid reaction force which Brussels could then quickly deploy to troubled areas around the world to defend the blocs interests.
Over the past year the French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and outgoing EU Commission President Jean Claude Junker all proclaimed that the European Union will have its own army capable of foreign intervention.
Last month the EU Commission’s new incoming president, Ursula von der Leyen, has echoed the words of her predecessor, Jean Claude Junker, as well as other senior EU leaders saying that there will be a European army “under one command”.
The plans for an EU army were kicked into high gear since the adoption of PESCO, which is the Permanent Structured Cooperation is the part of the European Union’s security and defence policy in which 25 of the 28 national armed forces pursue structural integration.
The Irish government signed up to this agreement in December 2017 with little fanfare or media attention.
The move came as part of the structural integration within the Common Security and Defence Policy, based on Article 42.6 of the Treaty on European Union which also includes the development of a shared EU foreign policy.
Irish soldiers, including Army Rangers, are already taking part in an EU Training Mission (EUTM) in Mali.
They are there to help train the Malian army to combat Islamist militias blighting the North African country and raiding into neighbouring Niger where, coincidentally, France just so happens to have significant uranium mining interests.
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