Pesco is not a Nato-style defence union


A chara, – Kevin Hiney appears to believe that Pesco represents a Nato-style defence union (January 4th). To support this, he paraphrases two European officials, both of whom confirm that Pesco is not a defence union, although they believe it could provide the foundations for one in the future. This distinction is critical to understand why Pesco membership is in Ireland’s benefit.

Pesco is a voluntary collaboration between sovereign EU member states, several of whom are neutral and unaligned. It is founded on an opt-in, opt-out model, where members are free to cherry-pick the aspects they wish to join and those they wish to leave. There is no defence union now, and even if other Pesco members decide to form one among themselves in the future, Ireland cannot be compelled to join. That decision remains ours alone, as a sovereign EU member state.

I agree with Mr Hiney that debate about Ireland’s place in Europe is important, but this must be grounded in facts and clear thinking. Attempting to equate Pesco to a Nato-style defence union is neither. – Is mise,



Dublin 4.