Tuesday, 17 December 2019

Questions (70)

Thomas Pringle

Question:

70. Deputy Thomas Pringle asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence if he will consider the proposal to increase the defence budget of the EU in the coming years as mentioned at the recent NATO summit; his views on the proposal that Europe needs to contribute more to NATO defence; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [52906/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Defence)

I understand that your question relates to the NATO Summit of July 2018 which took place in Brussels, Belgium at which it was proposed that the NATO members who are also EU Member States should give consideration to increasing their defence spending to the NATO target of 2% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP). It should be noted that the commitment sought applies to NATO Allies only. The commitment sought does not apply to partner nations such as Ireland and therefore is not under consideration.

Ireland’s engagement with NATO is through our participation in Partnership for Peace, which is a voluntary flexible instrument for cooperation between NATO and its partner countries. This involvement has delivered significant improvements for our Defence Forces in terms of capability development and operational capacity and has enabled us to make a positive impact, particularly in undertaking more demanding international crisis management operations. Ireland views its contribution to such operations, whether through UN, EU, NATO or OSCE led operations, as contributing to the overall European security architecture and, more widely, to international peace and security, which is a key focus of our foreign policy.

Interoperability with partners is central to the efficiency and effectiveness of our involvement in peace support deployments and, more importantly, the protection of our troops when deployed depends on interoperability with partners deployed alongside us. Participation in Partnership for Peace assists us in achieving this objective but with financial obligations remaining a national prerogative.