Wednesday

15th Aug 2018

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 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join 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.

Burned cars fuel Swedish election debate

Sweden's first big party leader TV debate ahead of September elections was marked by the burning of dozen of cars in cities across the south-west of the country.

News in Brief

  1. Salvini questions EU 'constraints' after bridge collapse
  2. Bosnian Serbs to rewrite 1995 Srebrenica genocide report
  3. Malta to allow Aquarius migrants to disembark
  4. Juncker sends condolences over Genoa bridge collapse
  5. EU pledges €500,000 more for Indonesian earthquake island
  6. EU commission in talks with states on new Aquarius migrants
  7. Man held after car crashes into UK parliament security barrier
  8. Brexit delays better readability of medicines' instructions

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. ACCACompany Law Package: Making the Best of Digital and Cross Border Mobility,
  2. IPHRCivil Society Worried About Shortcomings in EU-Kyrgyzstan Human Rights Dialogue
  3. UNESDAThe European Soft Drinks Industry Supports over 1.7 Million Jobs
  4. Mission of China to the EUJointly Building Belt and Road Initiative Leads to a Better Future for All
  5. IPHRCivil society asks PACE to appoint Rapporteur to probe issue of political prisoners in Azerbaijan
  6. ACCASocial Mobility – How Can We Increase Opportunities Through Training and Education?
  7. Nordic Council of MinistersEnergy Solutions for a Greener Tomorrow
  8. UNICEFWhat Kind of Europe Do Children Want? Unicef & Eurochild Launch Survey on the Europe Kids Want
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Countries Take a Stand for Climate-Smart Energy Solutions
  10. Mission of China to the EUChina: Work Together for a Better Globalisation
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersNordics Could Be First Carbon-Negative Region in World
  12. European Federation of Allergy and AirwaysLife Is Possible for Patients with Severe Asthma

Latest News

  1. US trial sheds light on murky Cyprus-Russia links
  2. Burned cars fuel Swedish election debate
  3. EU court to hear citizens' climate case against EU
  4. How long can Bulgaria keep facing both East and West?
  5. EU commission steps up legal case against Poland
  6. Separation of powers instead of 'Spitzenkandidat' process
  7. Revealed: ExxonMobil's private dinner with Cyprus' top EU brass
  8. What Salvini teaches us about Operation Sophia

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us