Ireland has always strongly supported the development of the EU's Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) and the EU’s capacity to respond to international crises in support of the United Nations. We have participated in all aspects of the CSDP since it was established and are one of the leading contributors to CSDP Operations, both military and civil.
Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO) is a further initiative in strengthening the Union’s capacity in this regard and developments in CSDP have been supported by the UN Secretary General as potentially providing additional capabilities for UN mandated operations.
While not changing Ireland’s existing security and defence arrangements, participation in PESCO will enhance our military capabilities for participation in UN mandated peace support operations; enhance interoperability and, working with our EU partners thereby ensure that our troops are equipped with the latest and best equipment and training. PESCO will also facilitate burden-sharing of the costs of capability development across a number of like-minded Member States by enabling participating countries to come together voluntarily and - on a project by project basis – to jointly develop military crisis management capabilities for use in CSDP operations and missions. It was for these reasons that I sought Government approval last November to participate in PESCO, followed by Dáil approval in December.
Our participation in PESCO involves no commitment to participate in any CSDP operation or to the development of any form of common military force. It goes without saying that any future potential Irish participation in EU missions or operations will be considered within the framework of the Irish Constitution and Irish law and that there is no change to the current triple lock arrangements in regard to the deployment of Irish military personnel overseas.
In considering potential future operations regard will also be had to the prevailing demands on the Defence Forces, our overseas commitments and available resources and the nature and mandate of the operation foreseen.