Creating European Defence Fund would breach EU Treaty & further undermine Irish Neutrality – Matt Carthy MEP


Sinn Féin MEP Matt Carthy has condemned the vote of the European Parliament this week in favour of establishing a European Defence Fund (EDF), while welcoming the publication of a legal opinion which finds that the creation of an EDF would be in breach of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.  MEPs voted to support the EDF proposal, with 337 votes in favour, 178 against, and 109 abstentions.


Carthy said: “It is disgraceful that we have not heard a peep out of the Irish government in relation to this proposal, while Fine Gael MEPs abstained on this vote.


“Once approved by Council, the EDF will receive €13 billion of public money in the next multi-annual framework, the EU’s long-term budget covering the period 2021-2027.  These funds will go towards research and development into new weapons systems including collaborative projects between member states, directly funding arms programmes. It is a public handout to the arms industry in the EU, an industry that profits from war, misery and death.


“Europe is still exporting weapons of war on a mass scale to Saudi Arabia, responsible for the ongoing starvation of the people of Yemen. Britain and France top the export list among EU states but many other EU member states, including Ireland, are also selling weapons or dual-use items to arm Saudi Arabia – despite the European Parliament’s repeated demands for an EU arms embargo on this pariah state.


“To coincide with the vote on the EDF in the European Parliament, Sinn Féin’s group in the European Parliament, GUE/NGL, published a legal opinion that demonstrates beyond doubt that this move is illegal and contrary to several articles of the Treaty.


“The author of the legal opinion, Professor Andreas Fischer-Lescano from the University of Bremen, points out that the Treaty prohibits the financing of military or defence projects from the EU’s common budget – regardless of whether the main aim of the fund is to promote defence capabilities or the EU’s ‘strategic defence autonomy’ (which is the description of the aim in the text on establishing the EDF).


“The findings of this study are clear: Article 41 (2) of the Treaty prohibits the financing of defence and military and therefore forbids the funding of arms programmes. Thus, the creation of the EDF using the EU’s common budget is illegal.


“We will work with our colleagues in GUE/NGL to develop an EU-wide progressive response that aims to halt this programme in its tracks.


“The Irish government must oppose the creation of the EDF in Council on the grounds that it violates Ireland’s military neutrality, and that it breaches the EU Treaty.” ENDS


Note to editors:

The study referred to is called ‘Legal Issues Relating to the Establishment of a European Defence Fund (EDF): Expert Report for the GUE/NGL Parliamentary Group in the EP’ and was written by Prof. Dr. Andreas Fischer-Lescano, Law Department, University of Bremen. Link to document below:



Creating European Defence Fund would breach EU Treaty – Matt Carthy MEP

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