Monday

24th Apr 2017

EU called on to increase military spending

Greece, which currently holds the EU Presidency on Defence due to Denmark's opt-out, has called on the EU member states to increase their defence spending so that the EU would be able to have a Rapid Reaction Force which is autonomous from the US.

Speaking in the European Parliament on Wednesday, Greek Defence minister Yiannos Papantoniou said the EU needs to look at the defence budget.

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.

"We need to look at the defence budgets and have framework decisions taken at Council levels, so that there would be set guidelines during Ecofin Councils. Technical procedures could also be put in place, so that defence spending will not threaten the Stability and Growth Pact," Mr Papantoniou said.

Finalising European Capabilities Action Plan

The European Council is at the moment finalising its European Capabilities Action Plan, where it is being identified which shortcomings the EU has in military set-up whilst re-examining the particular interests of each member state. Although the Greek Defence Minister wants this process to be finished off by the November General Affairs Council, it appears that there would be still out-standing issues until further meetings in April and May 2003.

France's government, however, on Wednesday approved a six-year plan to boost military spending, in a drive to narrow the gap between the French and UK armed forces and advance European defence co-operation in a world dominated by the US.

EU wants its own autonomous force

The proposed Rapid Reaction Force of 60,000 is supposed to be ready for peacekeeping and humanitarian operations by the end of 2003. However, many of the resources regarded as essential to make the force work are still not available.

UK Conservative MEP Geoffrey Van Orden expressed doubts as to whether there is a need for the EU to embark on its own defence structure. Yiannos Papantoniou however believes that the EU should take a stronger role. "The EU should not give the impression that Americans are leading", the Greek Defence minister said, saying that the EU should equip itself with its own military capabilities. Mr Papantoniou said that the Rapid Reaction Force should be independent of Nato forces, although co-operation would still be maintained.

Next stage will be a Common European Defence

"We need an autonomous and self-sufficient defence system for the Union. The next stage will be a Common European defence." Papantoniou also advocated the need of a European defence industry. His calls were mirrored by the French Defence Minister Michèle Alliot-Marie. As reported in the Financial Times, although she acknowledged there was no chance that Europe would begin to match US weapons spending, she said that "what's important is that we have the means for autonomy of decision and of action."

Agenda

Brexit summit, Turkey and Hungary dominate EU This WEEK

European leaders will adopt their negotiating position on the Brexit summit on Saturday, whereas the situation of Hungary's democracy and post-referendum Turkey will be under scrutiny in the EU this week.

Russia threat triggers European military spending hike

Russia's annexation of Crimea in Ukraine has intensified military and defence spending throughout much of Central Europe, according to a new report by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.

Voters 'change face' of French politics

Newcomer Macron and far-right leader Le Pen qualified for the presidential election run-off in a vote that pushed aside the two main traditional parties.

Analysis

France holds nail-biting 'anti-system' vote

Tactical votes could still bring down either of the two favourites in France on Sunday in a nervous election seen as crucial for the future of the EU.

Investigation

Illicit Russian money poses threat to EU democracy

It cost €11 million to help Le Pen campaign in elections, but it cost the Russian mafia less than €100,000 to hire a former UK attorney general to lobby against EU sanctions.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersDeveloping Independent Russian-Language Media in the Baltic Countries
  2. Swedish EnterprisesReform of the European Electricity Market: Lessons from the Nordics, Brussels 2 May
  3. Malta EU 2017Green Light Given for New EU Regulation to Bolster External Border Checks
  4. Counter BalanceCall for EU Commission to Withdraw Support of Trans-Adriatic Pipeline
  5. ACCAEconomic Confidence at Highest Since 2015
  6. European Federation of Allergy and Airways60%-90% of Your Life Is Spent Indoors. How Does Poor Indoor Air Quality Affect You?
  7. European Gaming and Betting AssociationCJEU Confirms Obligation for a Transparent Licensing Process
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Region and the US: A Time of Warlike Rhetoric and Militarisation?
  9. European Free AllianceEFA MEPs Vote in Favor of European Parliament's Brexit Mandate
  10. Mission of China to the EUXinhua Insight: China to Open up Like Never Before
  11. World VisionViolence Becomes New Normal for Syrian Children
  12. International Partnership for Human RightsTime to Turn the Tide and End Repression of Central Asia's Civil Society

Latest News

  1. Brexit summit, Turkey and Hungary dominate EU This WEEK
  2. Russia threat triggers European military spending hike
  3. Voters 'change face' of French politics
  4. France holds nail-biting 'anti-system' vote
  5. Le Pen-Putin friendship goes back a long way
  6. Mogherini should tell Russians their rights matter
  7. Le Pens Freunde aus dem Trump Tower
  8. Sexe et mensonges: l'information russe sur l'UE