Europe's Rapid Reaction Force
The EU took a major step towards the militarisation of Europe at last Monday's meeting of the defence and foreign ministers pledging conference held in Brussels. EU states were apparently falling over themselves to commit more than the requisite number of troops. EU member states pledged a 60,000-strong force with back-up troops, as the blurb goes for purely ``peace keeping, peace enforcing and humanitarian objectives''.
The 26 Counties has pledged 850 troops, a light infantry battalion, a special service unit from the Rangers and some liaison officers, to a military force which inevitably must work in conjunction with NATO, given the shortcomings in the EU's capacity to airlift troops.
Although there is to be provision for each state to decide on whether and how they wish to contribute to any specific operation, and Ireland has declared that it will only participate where there is specific UN agreement, there is no question that contributing to the RRF is a further step down the road toward collaborating with the nuclear-armed NATO, and a further step towards abrogating any pretence at neutrality.