Select Committee on Foreign Affairs Minutes of Evidence

Annex IV


  1.  The European Council takes cognisance of the National Declaration of Ireland presented at its meeting in Seville on 21-22 June 2002. It notes that Ireland intends to associate its National Declaration with its act of ratification of the Treaty of Nice, should the people of Ireland in a referendum decide to accept the Treaty of Nice.

  2.  The European Council notes that the Treaty on European Union provides that any decision to move to a common defence shall be adopted in accordance with the respective constitutional requirements of the Member States.

  3.  The European Council recalls that under the terms of the Treaty on European Union the policy of the Union shall not prejudice the specific character of the security and defence policy of certain Member States. Ireland has drawn attention, in this regard, to its traditional policy of military neutrality.

  4.  The European Council acknowledges that the Treaty on European Union does not impose any binding mutual defence commitments. Nor does the development of the Union's capacity to conduct humanitarian and crisis management tasks involve the establishment of a European army.

  5.  The European Council confirms that the situation referred to in paragraphs 2, 3 and 4 above would be unchanged by the entry into force of the Treaty of Nice.

  6.  The European Council recognises that, like all Member States of the Union, Ireland would retain the right, following the entry into force of the Treaty of Nice, to take its own sovereign decision, in accordance with its Constitution and its laws, on whether to commit military personnel to participate in any operation carried out under the European Security and Defence Policy. Ireland, in its national Declaration, has clearly set out its position in this regard.

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Prepared 16 October 2002