BRUSSELS --- The European Commission proposed on Wednesday spending 8 billion euros ($8.81 billion) of its next budget on a new European Union defence fund, keeping alive a Franco-German plan to deepen military cooperation despite the economic impact of COVID-19.
Unveiled as part of the EU executive’s proposals for the bloc’s seven-year budget from 2021, the fund would allow EU states’ militaries to develop weapons, deploy together and streamline military systems in Europe.
Though the amount is much less than the 13 billion euros the Commission had initially proposed, the defence fund, if agreed by EU governments, could generate investment worth much more by enticing defence contractors to help finance deals through it.
The fund would mark the biggest step forward in EU defence integration since the late 1990s, when Britain and France helped launch closer military cooperation in the bloc. (end of excerpt)
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