Military might: Commission proposes 5.5 billion per year for defence research and equipment
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The European Commission proposed on Wednesday (30 November) a 5.5 billion 'European Defence Fund' that would provide EU funds of 500 million per year for military research and development and 5 billion per year "from national contributions" for "Member States to develop certain assets together to reduce their costs." The Commission wants the EU to "demonstrate that it can act as a provider of hard as well as soft security".
The proposal to set up a Defence Fund seeks to put into practice the EU's Global Strategy on Security and Defence, published in July, which was followed in November by its own Implementation Plan (pdf). That Plan was also the subject of Council conclusions (pdf) in mid-November.
The new proposals are the most ambitious proposed so far by the EU during years of efforts to strengthen its military powers, but what form the Defence Fund will take when it comes out of the other side of political discussions remains to be seen.
The Commission will now "present and discuss these proposals, in particular the creation of a European Defence Fund, with all stakeholders. The European Council on 15-16 December will be a key milestone."
It is certain that the industry will be participating closely in discussions on the issue - it has already played a significant role in developing current EU military proposals.
Documentation and press coverage
- Communication, European Defence Action Plan (COM(2016) 950 final, pdf)
- European Defence Action Plan: Factsheet (pdf)
- European Defence Action Plan: Frequently Asked Questions (pdf)
- Spurred by Trump and Brexit, EU plans five-billion-euro defense fund (Reuters, link)
- European Officials Want to Fund Border Patrol Drones (Motherboard, link): "The European Commission, the executive body of the European Union, wants to allocate portions of an annual EUR 500 million research fund into developing border patrol drones, it announced this week."
- Juncker: Europe must take care of its own defence (EurActiv, link): "Europe has two armies worthy of this name, and if the United Kingdom leaves the EU there will only be one left: the French army, which very often steps in to save Europes honour. Governments will have to explain the reality of the situation to the public; in the long run, no EU member state is capable of defending either itself or the continent."
- Commission unveils EU defence action plan (The Parliament, link)
And: on three "pilot projects" already being funded by the EU - "the first time that the EU has ever funded defence research" - see an article from the EU-funded think-thank, the Institute of Security Studies: EU defence research in development (pdf) by Daniel Fiott.
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