Carthy calls for end to EU militarisation agenda during Dáil ‘Europe Day’ debate
Cavan Monaghan TD, Matt Carthy, has warned against the intensification of an EU militarisation agenda that see billions of euro in public funding used to subsidise the arms industry. Carthy, who is a former member of the European Parliament, was speaking during a Dáil debate to mark ‘Europe day’ last week.
Highlighting the disconnect between citizens and EU institutions in Brussels, Carthy warned that investment in the arms industry at the cost of investment in communities risked undermining support for the European Union..
Teachta Carthy told the Dáil:
“My experiences of Europe Day have been a bit strange. Before I was an MEP, I did not even know that such a day existed.
“When I was in the European Parliament, I often found it bizarre that European institutions treated the day as if it was being marked on every street corner and in every community centre in each member state. MEPs would gather in Strasbourg where the EU flag was flown everywhere, including a massive one unfurled at the centre of the Hemicycle; Beethoven’s Ode to Joy, which somebody decided was the EU’s anthem, would blare out across the sound system before speakers from each institution would rise and decry nationalism.
“It was a surreal experience that was far removed from the reality of the citizens across member states who, on that day, were simply getting on with their lives. Many were struggling and I suspect, like the pre-MEP me, the majority were unaware that it was a day that the great and good expected them to mark. That experience was a good reflection of the European institutions which all too often are far removed from the communities, workers and families affected by their decisions.
“The European Union has delivered much that should be celebrated. It has established universal rights and embedded peace among its members. The Common Agricultural Policy, CAP, has created an open market that has sustained many farming communities in Ireland and across Europe.
“The cohesion policy has diverted infrastructure resources to regions that were long neglected by national governments. The role the EU played in supporting the Irish peace process is something we are all grateful for.
“The people of Ireland want to be part of the European Union. We saw that most recently in the Six Counties when a majority voted to remain part of the European Union against a Brexiteer agenda that was led by the right and the Tories in Britain.
“But, in recognising the Irish people’s wish to be part of the European Union, it is important to also recognise some of the deeply worrying flaws and moves the European Union is currently taking. Just last week, Members of the European Parliament voted to endorse €7.9 billion as part of the next multi-annual financial framework, MFF, going towards a so-called European defence fund. In reality, that fund is a massive subsidy taken from the peoples of Europe to go to the European arms industry. I am not sure any ordinary citizen in Europe believes that is the correct way to spend money.
“At the end of the next MFF, we in this country will contribute an additional €1 billion per annum to the European Union budget but we will get less back in the most important EU programmes, those that made the Union popular in the first place.
“There will be less money coming back to Ireland in the Common Agricultural Policy and very little money coming back in cohesion funding. Instead, every single line in the EU budget is facilitating and creating the wherewithal for the EU arms industry to draw down even more money than the €7.9 billion allocation. Some estimates suggest upwards of €15 billion from the next seven-year financial programme could end up in the hands of that industry. That is not the Europe that Irish people want.
“The days in which the EU can celebrate itself as a peace process will be numbered unless the European Union at every level, including our Government, takes a stand on behalf of the people of Palestine. The state of Israel, which is recognised as an apartheid, rogue state that is trampling on the human rights and lives of the Palestinian people, is considered a favoured nation by the EU. That needs to change.
“Today is a day for reflecting on the positives but it must also be a day on which we collectively determine that we will create a better and fairer EU and that Ireland will ensure that the EU delivers for citizens rather than corporations and arms companies.”