Ireland, the Lisbon Referendums, and the Ongoing Debate on European Security

By Daniel Sweeney.

Published by The Global Studies Journal

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: January 22, 2016 $US5.00

The first referendum on the Treaty of Lisbon and the assurances on security and defence policy sought from the European Union by Ireland before the second referendum have demonstrated that Ireland’s policy of neutrality is a live political issue. While the provisions in the Treaty of Lisbon relating to the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) and the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) did not necessitate a change in Ireland’s security policy, the issue helped the “No” campaign. While Ireland’s contributions are relatively modest, the study of this issue remains important because future EU treaties will require ratification by referendum and Lisbon demonstrated that domestic political constraints continue to limit the freedom of Irish governments in security policy. The electorate’s attachment to neutrality proves that the policy remains a symbol of national identity at a time when this is increasingly important across smaller Member States. The retention of neutrality is one way to maintain a distinct Irish identity in the EU and the policy can be maintained given the level of defence cooperation within the EU.

Keywords: Irish Security Policy, Irish Neutrality, EU Security Cooperation, EU CFSP, Member State Identities

The Global Studies Journal, Volume 9, Issue 1, March 2016, pp.43-54. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: January 22, 2016 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 640.646KB)).

Dr. Daniel Sweeney

Assistant Professor, Department of Political Science, University of Scranton, Scranton, PA, USA


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