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Sant votes against EU defence proposals: ‘No mandate for military coalition’

Sant votes against European Defence Union report, Labour MEPs abstain, PN MEPs vote in favour

matthew_vella
Matthew Vella
25 November 2016, 9:49am
Alfred Sant: “This move might appear suitable to counter the supposedly disintegrating effects of Brexit. It could have the opposite effect”
Alfred Sant: “This move might appear suitable to counter the supposedly disintegrating effects of Brexit. It could have the opposite effect”
Former Prime Minister Alfred Sant has voted against resolutions on the European Defence Union report and the report for the ‘Implementation of the Common Security and Defence Policy’, and abstained on roll-call votes on separate clauses in both reports.

“Malta is a neutral country. Its constitution prohibits participation in military alliances and in international cooperative efforts promoting warfare capabilities and exercises, unless backed by the UN,” Sant said.

Labour MEPs Marlene Mizzi and Miriam Dalli abstained on the report, while Nationalist MEPs David Casa, Therese Comodini Cachia and Roberta Metsola voted in favour.

“I disagree that at this time especially, the EU should reinforce a military dimension to its character,” Sant said. “This move might appear suitable to counter the supposedly disintegrating effects of Brexit. It could have the opposite effect. There is no popular constituency for a European Union that morphs into a military coalition, funded from EU budgetary resources.”

The European Defence Union report was voted in favour by 369 votes to 255, backed mainly by Liberals, the EPP, and European socialists (S&D); the European left, Greens, as well as conservatives and right-wing eurosceptics voted against (255).

The report backs the idea of progressing in the direction of a European Defence Union, proposing the activation of the Permanent Structured Cooperation, an EU Operational Headquarters, and encourages the fostering of the EU defence industries.

The report ‘Implementation of the Common Security and Defence Policy’ assesses the implementation of the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) and calls for a stronger defence industry and advocates for cooperation with NATO.

Sant complained of the “old business as usual” methods towards further integration. “This is not an acceptable way by which to forge unity in Europe. I abstained on all subsidiary roll call votes because it would not have been coherent to vote one way or the other on different aspects of the issues at hand, while voting against the overall concept.”

matthew_vella
Matthew Vella is executive editor at MaltaToday.