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European Defence Union: EU must invest in its own defence


22 Nov 2016


Global Europe

European Defence Union: EU must invest in its own defence

"We must build our own defence union", said Michael Gahler MEP, EPP Group Spokesman on the European Defence Union who shadowed the Report on the same issue adopted today in the European Parliament. The Report calls on Member States to “ finally begin to improve their military capabilities with the help of the EU within the framework of the UN, EU, NATO or coalitions of the willing.”

The security situation in and around Europe has significantly worsened and risks deteriorating further. No single country or organisation is able to face this alone. The outcome of the US presidential elections and recurrent appeals to the US administration to increase burden sharıng make the need for building up European defence capabilities even more urgent.

"The accusation that Europe often starts shirking in security and defence policy cannot, unfortunately, be dismissed. The Americans will not care about security in Europe for the long term. Now, Europe has not only the chance but also the responsibility to ensure the necessary stability in the world for Europe's future. It is therefore even more important that we are well positioned for the future in Europe, make a new start for a common defence union, and ultimately spend the money on security for Europe in a meaningful way”, added Gahler.

For the EPP Group, financial resources necessary for the implementation of the common defence policy should be included in the next EU multiannual budget starting from 2021.

“The EU budget can provide a European value by financing the peacetime cooperation of common military forces or defence research. The Report on the European Defence Union has given us a good opportunity to improve military and armaments cooperation in order to ensure the security of Europe. This is a good first step, but the implementation has to be done quickly. We cannot waste any more time", stressed Michael Gahler.

Concretely, this means that the EU can finance activities like education and training, creation and maintenance of infrastructure, standards and interoperability as well as research and development.

The EPP Group also calls for the revision of the so-called Athena mechanism in order to extend its scope to all costs related, first, to rapid reaction operations and deployment of the EU Battlegroups, and then to all military operations. Accent is also put on the facilitations for the European defence industries and European defence research allowing for the development of new capabilities. In this field, MEPs also called for the development of an EU Defence Research Programme under the next MFF (2021-2027). The first step has been achieved thanks to the approval in next year’s budget of €25 million for the preparatory action which would lead to its activation and Council’s decision to set up this action. MEPs insist that this mechanism should be provided with a sufficient budget of at least €90 million for three years starting from 2017.