Wednesday, 18 July 2007

"Neutral" Ireland joins other EU army representatives at Sarkozy's Bastille Day parade

The Irish Army Press Office has stated that 6 Irish armed forces personnel took part in last Saturday’s Bastille Day parade in Paris, representing the Irish army, naval service and air corps.

One man carried the Irish flag at the front of the parade, alongside those carrying the other 26 EU Member State flags. The other 5 marched together as one of the 26 non-French EU Member State contingents.

All this is seen by French President Sarkozy as prefiguring the European military force which he referred to in his speech as quoted by Lara Marlowe in today’s Irish Times.

Marlowe states that the heads of the EU Commission, Parliament and the rotating Portuguese presidency “were on hand to watch the V-shaped formation advance down the Champs-Elysees.. . .

“A child from the Petits Chanteurs a la Croix de Bois boys choir recited from Robert Schuman’s declaration of May 9th 1950: ‘ Europe will not happen all at ocne, or as an overall project. It will be made through concrete realisations that create solidarity on the ground”. The words resounded across the Place de la Concorde. . .

“Mr Sarkozy is the first leader to have brought troops from all 27 EU member states together. “I’d been thinking about it for years”, he told France 2 television. “I wanted to show that Europe is back in France and that France is back in Europe. I want a Europe that protects, a Europe that is led differently.”

Defence against whom or what, one may ask? Who is militarily threatening the EU that it needs defending? Military offence rather than defence, in the former Arican colonial territories, is much more likely to be what Sarkozy has in mind.

Marlowe writes also: “Mr Sarkozy has said that European defence will be a lever to relaunch ‘political Europe.”

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