EU Mulls Joint Defence Spending (excerpt)
(Source: EU Observer: posted June 7, 2017)
By Andrew Rettman

BRUSSELS --- The EU budget should be used for military research and the bloc could become a defence alliance akin to Nato, the European Commission is poised to say.

The Commission is to outline its ideas in a legislative proposal on spending and in an ideas paper on defence due out on Wednesday (7 June).

“The development of a new generation of many major defence systems is today beyond the reach of a single EU member state … ‘More Europe’ in defence and security is clearly needed”, the draft proposals, seen by Bloomberg, a US news agency, said.

The reflection paper adds that the “nature of the trans-Atlantic relationship is evolving” and that “more than ever, Europeans need to take greater responsibility for their own security”.

It outlines three scenarios, one of which speaks of “common defence and security” in which defence of Europe “would become a mutually reinforcing responsibility of the EU and Nato”.

It says the EU should have “pre-positioned permanently available forces” for deployment “on behalf of the union” that could be used in anti-crisis or counter-terrorist operations in hostile areas.

The less ambitious scenarios speak of voluntary contributions to joint defence on ad-hoc basis.

The new military research budget is to be worth €250 million in its first year in 2020 rising to up to €1 billion a year from the €150-billion EU budget.

It is to be spent on research into surveillance drones and cyber defence in its initial phase, but this would still mark the first time EU money had been spent directly on military assets. (end of excerpt)

Click here for the full story, on the EU Observer website.

Click here for the full report (24 PDF pages) on the EU Commission website.

(EDITOR’S NOTE: It is symptomatic of the EU Commission’s desire to expand its reach into areas it knows nothing about that this new defense fund should duplicate an existing effort, by funding “research into surveillance drones,” which NATO has already bought as part of its Alliance Ground Surveillance (AGS) program.
Furthermore, France, Germany and Italy have already launched a two-year definition study of a European Medium Altitude/Long Endurance (MALE) drone, whose conclusions should be announced during the Paris Air Show.
By belatedly trying to enter this sector, the EU Commission risks disrupting existing initiatives, to which it has little to contribute.
Finally, given its mismanagement of most of what it touches – border controls, monetary union, agricultural policy, international trade, etc. – the best way to guarantee an effective European defense is to keep the EU well away.)


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