Saturday

3rd Dec 2016

MEPs to back multi-million euro military research budget

  • The EU wants to boost its defence industry with research grants (Photo: ThyssenKrupp)

The EU parliament is poised to approve spending public money on military research on a large scale for the first time.

MEPs on Wednesday (26 October) are voting on a proposal that seeks to fund "innovative defence technology" from 2017 over three years under a so-called Preparatory Action for Defence Research.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

  • (Photo: Defence Images)

Around €25 million per year will be set aside in annual EU budgets for an effort that aims to kick-start a multi-billion euro defence research programme in the next seven-year budget cycle starting 2021.

The move signals a major shift towards granting European defence companies access to an EU budget that has so far been largely off limits for military research. Many have received grants from the EU's Horizon 2020 programme, where spending has been categorised as “security” rather than military.

The 1,600-page draft 2017 EU budget proposal sets out explicit objectives.

It notes, among other things, the need to launch a "large scale demonstration project" by next year to showcase "a first experimental development of new, innovative defence technology".

Laetitia Sedou, EU programme officer at the Brussels-based European Network Against Arms Trade, says the EU subsidy push has been largely driven by the European Commission and the industry.

"There was a very strong involvement in the industry through what they call a Group of Personalities, more than half of which is made of industry who would be entitled to benefit from this funding," she said.

Along with politicians like EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini, the Group of Personalities includes the CEOs of Airbus, Saab, BAE systems, Finmeccanica, among others. Launched by the EU commission in 2015, the group provides policy advice on European defence cooperation.

Earlier this year, the group argued in a report that EU funding was needed to shore up national budget shortfalls given the financial crisis.

They also said a strong European defence industry would not only create jobs but also face down regional instability and over-reliance on allies like the US.

Efforts to get the EU to finance military research initially kicked off in 2014 when over €1 million was given to a pilot project run by the European Defence Agency (EDA).

"This is the first time that defence research will be funded through the EU budget," said the agency in March.

The pilot project was the initial step towards creating a possible fully fledged defence research programme under the Multiannual Financial Framework for 2021 to 2027.

The EDA is set to announce the projects it selected under the scheme this Friday.

“Securing the long-term future for our defence industry is in all our interests. Both nationally and collectively,” said the EU commission last year.

MEP barred from questioning Oettinger on plane trip

The Hungarian Green MEP who uncovered EU Commissioner Oettinger's flight to Budapest on a private plane of a lobbyist was not allowed to ask the German politician on the issue in the EP.

Column / Rem@rk@ble

Juncker’s time is running out

EU Commission chief's defensive media blitz reinforces the very thing he wants to deny: It’s time to leave.

News in Brief

  1. Talks on wholesale roaming rules to start
  2. Lead MEP Dieselgate committee: Italy and Slovakia will cooperate
  3. Transparency NGO sues EU commission on Turkey deal
  4. Pro-EU liberal wins UK by-election
  5. Finnish support for Nato drops, Russia-scepticism grows
  6. Cyprus talks to resume in January
  7. Documents from German NSA inquiry released
  8. Transport commissioner 'not aware' of legal action on emissions

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. CESIElects Leaders and Sets Safety & Health at Work and Gender Equality Among the Guidelines For Next Term
  2. European Gaming & Betting AssociationContinues to Grow its Membership and Welcomes its Newest Member Association
  3. ACCASupports the Women of Europe Awards, Celebrating the Women who are Building Europe
  4. European Heart NetworkWhat About our Kids? Protect Children From Unhealthy Food and Drink Marketing
  5. ECR GroupRestoring Trust and Confidence in the European Parliament
  6. UNICEFChild Rights Agencies Call on EU to put Refugee and Migrant Children First
  7. MIRAIA New Vision on Clean Tech: Balancing Energy Efficiency, Climate Change and Costs
  8. World VisionChildren Cannot Wait! 7 Priority Actions to Protect all Refugee and Migrant Children
  9. ANCI LazioRegio-Mob Project Delivers Analysis of Trasport and Mobility in Rome
  10. SDG Watch EuropeCivil Society Disappointed by the Commission's Plans for Sustainable Development Goals
  11. PLATO15 Fully-Funded PhD Positions Open – The Post-Crisis Legitimacy of the EU (PLATO)
  12. Access NowTell the EU Council: Protect our Rights to Privacy and Security