Brussels is to unveil plans to “turbo boost” spending on cyber security, war ships and drone technology as part of a multi-billion euro European Defence Fund, which comes as US president-elect Donald Trump presses Nato allies to significantly increase military spending.
The proposals from the European Commission, to be unveiled on Wednesday, follow a decision by member states to deepen defence co-ordination in an effort to fortify Europe’s anti-terror defences and reinforce external borders.
The plans include an increase in cross-border defence procurement and greater emphasis on the standardisation of equipment, as well as the use of EU space programmes for security and defence purposes. At the moment about 80 per cent of defence procurement is run on a purely national basis, the commission estimates.
Mr Trump’s election win has prompted deep anxiety within Nato. The president-elect warned during the campaign that Washington might not defend its allies under Russian attack, although he later “underlined Nato’s enduring importance” in a post-election call with Jens Stoltenberg, secretary-general of the alliance.
But he has consistently called for European members of Nato to increase defence expenditure to meet the alliance’s target to spend 2 per cent of economic output on defence. Twenty-two of the 28 EU member states are in Nato, although only the UK, Estonia, Poland and Greece meet the threshold.
The new plan from the EU executive, to be put forward by Jyrki Katainen, commission vice-president, aims to increase Europe’s land, air, sea and space capabilities, as well as investment in cyber security and intelligence gathering. (end of excerpt)
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