EU Army 'would not be a force for good or peace' - Murphy

Italy's Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani suggested a combined army could play a role in peacekeeping and preventing conflict
Jack Quann
Jack Quann

14.35 9 Jan 2024

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EU Army 'would not be a force for good or peace' - Murphy

Jack Quann
Jack Quann

14.35 9 Jan 2024

Share this article

A European Union Army would not be a force for good or peace in the world, a TD has claimed.

Italy's Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani said on Sunday that a combined force for the bloc could play a role in peacekeeping and preventing conflict.

People Before Profit TD Paul Murphy told The Pat Kenny Show there’s no risk of a European army being formed any time soon - but it is the direction things are going in.


"This is a thing that's spoken about from time to time by leading European figures," he said.

"That isn't something - an actual European army - that is going to take place today or tomorrow, but I would draw people's attention to the fact that this is the road that we are on.

"Things are happening, in terms of the militarisation of Europe, that are bringing us much closer to that position".

'Irish troops sent to pursue wars'

Deputy Murphy said he believes any Irish participation in such a force would put an onus on Ireland.

"I have no confidence that a European army... would only play a defence role or would only play a role in terms of emergency operations," he said.

"If you participate in a European army and the European Commission says, 'We're going to war in Iraq, Afghanistan or to support Israel in terms of their assault on Palestine'... Irish troops would be sent abroad to pursue wars that are not wars for justice, not wars for peace.

"Look what [European Commission President] Ursula von der Leyen's position has been in terms of the genocide of Palestinians, she gave a green light to it.

"The European Council has still failed even to call for a ceasefire.

"That should illustrate to people this is not a force for good or peace or human rights in the world, and an army which is set up by these people would similarly not be".

'Always being discussed'

MEP for Ireland South Billy Kelleher told the show the idea for an EU army is not a new one.

"This issue has always been discussed, it's been discussed for a number of years at this stage," he said.

"Some countries do believe that we should have more [of a] federal Europe, and that we should have a standing army as such - or that there would at least be a Rapid Reaction Force available in the event of there being emergencies or potential security threats.

"It's something that's always being discussed.

“As you go further east in the European Union, you do hear more discussions around the need for there to be a standing security in terms of the potential threats of invasion from Russia, for example.

"They are very concerned about the fact that Europe cannot defend itself, it depends on NATO.

"There's major concerns in Europe around the fact that if Donald Trump becomes President of the United States that NATO may, in effect, be abandoned as such from the point of view of the US involvement in it".

'A real concern'

Mr Kelleher said the issue is further complicated as Europe "is not a direct political construct".

"Having an army - who would decide the deployment, where do they be deployed, what would be their riding instructions?"

Mr Kelleher said the idea is widely supported by France, as well as Estonia, Poland and Romania.

"We have also seen previous neutral countries like Finland and Sweden joining NATO," he said.

"So there is, across Europe, a real concern about potential threats to the security of Europe itself".

Mr Kelleher said he would be in favour of enhanced cooperation between states.

Listen back here:

Main image: People Before Profit TD Paul Murphy at a solidarity protest for Palestine at the Dáil, 9-10-23. Image: Sasko Lazarov/©

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Antonio Tajani Billy Kelleher EU Army European Army European Union Army Ireland NATO Paul Murphy The Pat Kenny Show Threats Ursula Von Der Leyen

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