Richard North, 12/03/2005  

The fragrant Margot, EU commissioner for truth and reconciliation, was in Dublin yesterday, making a case for the EU constitution in a debate at the National Forum on Europe.

There, Mrs Wallström is said to have claimed that the commission would not issue propaganda about the constitution during the referendum campaign in Ireland, due to take place later this year.

But, if the report by Arthur Beesley in the Irish Times (subscription only) is correct, not only is Wallström already issuing "propaganda", she also appears to be lying through her teeth.

Under a headline "Treaty 'will not clear way for EU army'", Beesley tells us that Wallström "has rejected claims that the EU constitutional treaty will clear the way for the creation of a European army", and also has "rejected concerns that the constitution would compromise Ireland's neutrality."

Beesley then quotes Wallström directly as saying: "Let me stress that the constitutional treaty does not create a European army, as some would have us believe. Defence will remain a matter of national sovereignty."

Technically, of course, Wallström is entirely correct about the creation of a European army. This is happening outwith the constitution and, as we have chronicled on the Blog, is proceeding apace.

But, on the issue of Irish neutrality, and the claim that: "Defence will remain a matter of national sovereignty", she is being wholly misleading, viz Article I-41 7, which states:

If a Member State is the victim of armed aggression on its territory, the other Member States shall have towards it and obligation of aid and assistance by all means in their power…
This, as we have pointed out earlier, transforms the European Union into a fully-fledged military alliance.

Ireland is bound by that provision, committed to military action in the case of armed aggression on, for instance, Lithuania , or Greece or even Cyprus. Irish neutrality is totally compromised. Furthermore, defence is no longer an issue of national sovereignty – it becomes a Community obligation.

By any normal construction, therefore, Wallström seems to be lying. An alternative construction, possibly, is that she has not read the constitution document properly, or does not understand the implications of Article I-41 7. That, perhaps, is even more alarming.

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