I abstained on roll call votes on the European Defence Union report, and voted against the overall report for this reason: 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. The report is based on premises for EU action that contradict this commitment. Moreover, I disagree that at this time especially, the EU should reinforce a military dimension to its character. 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. Again, we see the old “business as usual” methods by which “small” steps “forward” are cumulated and then presented as requiring further integration, failing which disaster would ensue. 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.

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