Monday

25th Mar 2019

EU mulls joint defence spending

  • Commission keen to develop EU's own surveillance UAVs (Photo: EADS)

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).

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

  • Trump caused upset at Nato last week (Photo: nato.int)

“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 an ad-hoc basis.

The new military research and procurement budget is to be worth €250 million in its first year in 2020 rising to up to €1.5 billion a year from the €150-billion EU budget.

It is to be spent on research and procurement of 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.

The defence integration is to take place until 2025.

The EU reflection on defence began prior to the Brexit vote in the UK and the election of Donald Trump in the US.

The UK was the EU’s pre-eminent military power and British prime minister Theresa May has flip-flopped on whether its future EU security cooperation could be withheld if Brexit talks went badly.

Trump last week disappointed Nato allies by refusing to say he would honour the Nato treaty’s Article 5 on mutual defence.

Germany and Italy have in the past called for the creation of an EU army, but France and Finland, among others, were more sceptical, while the UK has opposed such a move.

Trump lukewarm on Nato joint defence

Trump voiced half-hearted support for Nato and reprimanded allies over what he called unpaid debts on his maiden trip to Europe.

EU to propose joint defence fund

New fund for military procurement and research, to be worth tens of billions of euros a year, is part of wider plans for an EU defence union.

EU to spend €1.5bn a year on joint defence

The Commission has offered to put aside €1.5 billion a year for joint defence spending in what could be the first step toward the creation of an EU army.

News in Brief

  1. May admits 'not sufficient support' for third Brexit vote
  2. Orban vows more EU 'information campaigns'
  3. May 'effectively out of power', says Scottish leader
  4. May under pressure to resign over Brexit endgame
  5. Million march against Brexit, five million sign petition
  6. Italy first G7 country to sign China Belt and Road deal
  7. EU leaders at summit demand more effort on disinformation
  8. Report: Corbyn to meet May on Monday for Brexit talks

EU migrants sneaking into US from Mexico

Almost 1,000 Romanian nationals were caught trying to sneak into the United States in 2017, of which around half attempted to cross via Mexico. Nationals from countries like Hungary and the UK were also intercepted.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNew campaign: spot, capture and share Traces of North
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersLeading Nordic candidates go head-to-head in EU election debate
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Secretary General: Nordic co-operation must benefit everybody
  4. Platform for Peace and JusticeMEP Kati Piri: “Our red line on Turkey has been crossed”
  5. UNICEF2018 deadliest year yet for children in Syria as war enters 9th year
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic commitment to driving global gender equality
  7. International Partnership for Human RightsMeet your defender: Rasul Jafarov leading human rights defender from Azerbaijan
  8. UNICEFUNICEF Hosts MEPs in Jordan Ahead of Brussels Conference on the Future of Syria
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic talks on parental leave at the UN
  10. International Partnership for Human RightsTrial of Chechen prisoner of conscience and human rights activist Oyub Titiev continues.
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic food policy inspires India to be a sustainable superpower
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersMilestone for Nordic-Baltic e-ID

Latest News

  1. Romania presidency shatters EU line on Jerusalem
  2. The Spitzen process - a coup that was never accepted
  3. Russia and money laundering in Europe
  4. Italy takes China's new Silk Road to the heart of Europe
  5. What EU leaders agreed on climate - and what they mean
  6. Copyright and (another) new Brexit vote This WEEK
  7. EU avoids Brexit crash, sets new date for 12 April
  8. Campaigning commissioners blur the lines

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us