Tuesday

4th Aug 2020

MEPs: EU needs defence force 'under Union command'

  • The largest group in the EU parliament wants the Union to have its own military force (Photo: europarl.europa.eu)

Europe should create a civilian and military crisis operations HQ under EU command, according to a report by centre-right MEPs.

The proposal, contained in a policy paper published on Tuesday (3 September), by deputies from the European People’s Party, the largest group in the assembly, said EU "heads of state and government have to start building stand-by forces under Union command."

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

It called for EU leaders to commit themselves to defining the union’s security interests, prioritising its strategic objectives and linking these with operational deployments.

They said this should include a definition of European defence interests and its geographical priority zones.

Launching the paper, deputies Michael Gahler, Arnaud Danjean and Krzysztof Lisek, all members of the Eparliament's security and defence sub-committee, noted that "deepening the EU's security and defence co-operation will help slash procurement costs and allow the EU to react faster to international crises."

Leaders will debate the idea of EU-level military integration at a summit in December.

For the time being, defence and security policy remains exclusively in the hands of national governments, many of which are reluctant to increase the EU's role in the field.

Last month, a French Senate paper outlined ideas to abandon plans for a Europe-wide defence system in favour of creating a so-called "Eurogroup" force which would work outside the influence of EU institutions.

The force would see four European generals in charge of co-operating on military operations.

Meanwhile, a report by the European Commission in July warned that the bloc's military strength was diluted by overlapping capacities and defence procurement at national level.

In a nod to this, the MEPs described it as an "unacceptable situation to have 10 different versions of one European attack helicopter or to have six different versions of one European military transport aircraft."

The commission's "ideas paper," also designed to feed into the summit talks, called on member states to review national defence capabilities and to identify what is hardware is needed for the protection of EU countries' interests.

Between them, EU governments spent €194 billion on defence in 2011, down from €251 billion in 2001.

Defence R&D spending also fell by 14 percent between 2005 and 2010, to €9 billion.

In contrast, the US spends seven times more on research and development than the EU's 28 member states put together, while Russia and China are expected to double their defence spending by 2015 when compared to 2011.

Investigation

Security industry is shaping EU legislation

EOS, a trade body of some of Europe's main arms dealers, wants to buy and sell EU maritime surveillance data, in its latest push to shape EU policy.

News in Brief

  1. France imposes new Covid-19 tests on visitors
  2. Brussels closes all mosques for Eid festival
  3. Amsterdam and Rotterdam tighten face mask measures
  4. UK tightens lockdown measures in north England
  5. EU banking watchdog warning on 26 banks
  6. 60,000 rally in Minsk ahead of Belarus election
  7. 'Better Regulation' is key for EU policy-making, auditors say
  8. Polish tribunal to examine EU gender-violence treaty

Six 'LGBTI-free' Polish cities left out of EU funding

Six Polish cities that declared themselves as "LGBTI-free zones" have been denied funding under the EU's Town Twinning programme for failing to meet the standards of "equal access and non-discrimination".

Opinion

Why is building renovation 'Cinderella' of EU Green Deal?

The renovation of old buildings will be crucial to the success of the European Green Deal and a clean, robust economic recovery. Unless there is serious commitment from policymakers, we risk the Green Deal turning into a pumpkin.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNESDANext generation Europe should be green and circular
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNEW REPORT: Eight in ten people are concerned about climate change
  3. UNESDAHow reducing sugar and calories in soft drinks makes the healthier choice the easy choice
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersGreen energy to power Nordic start after Covid-19
  5. European Sustainable Energy WeekThis year’s EU Sustainable Energy Week (EUSEW) will be held digitally!
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic states are fighting to protect gender equality during corona crisis

Latest News

  1. EU mishandling corona-travel, Belgian expert says
  2. France wants rule-of-law sanctions on recovery budget
  3. The three 'Elephants in Room' in EU-India relations
  4. First use of new EU sanctions against Russia, China hackers
  5. Six 'LGBTI-free' Polish cities left out of EU funding
  6. EU's new Security Union Strategy is a good first step
  7. US 'cavalry' leaving Germany to go back home
  8. Why is building renovation 'Cinderella' of EU Green Deal?

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us