Sunday

24th Jun 2018

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.

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.

... our join as a group

"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."

Opinion

Europe's tech race - trying to keep pace with US and China

There is not a single European company among the world's top 10 computer hardware companies. Within the EU, Germany and Sweden rank among world leaders, but Bulgaria and Slovakia among the worst-performing developed nations.

Greece and creditors proclaim 'end of crisis'

After late-night talks, the Eurogroup agreed on a €15bn disbursement and debt relief measures for Greece, while setting out a tight monitoring when the bailout ends in August.

Greece and creditors proclaim 'end of crisis'

After late-night talks, the Eurogroup agreed on a €15bn disbursement and debt relief measures for Greece, while setting out a tight monitoring when the bailout ends in August.

News in Brief

  1. Venice Commission: Hungary should repeal NGO law
  2. Trump threatens to slap 20 percent tariff on EU cars
  3. EU closes deficit procedure against France
  4. Romania's ruling party leader gets jail sentence
  5. EU states defer individual decisions on asylum reforms
  6. Commission opens case on Qatar gas flow
  7. EU adopts posted workers directive
  8. EU leaders to call for 'coordinated plan' on AI

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Mission of China to the EUJointly Building Belt and Road Initiative Leads to a Better Future for All
  2. Macedonian Human Rights MovementMHRMI Launches Lawsuits Against Individuals and Countries Involved in Changing Macedonia's Name
  3. IPHRCivil society asks PACE to appoint Rapporteur to probe issue of political prisoners in Azerbaijan
  4. ACCASocial Mobility – How Can We Increase Opportunities Through Training and Education?
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersEnergy Solutions for a Greener Tomorrow
  6. UNICEFWhat Kind of Europe Do Children Want? Unicef & Eurochild Launch Survey on the Europe Kids Want
  7. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Countries Take a Stand for Climate-Smart Energy Solutions
  8. Mission of China to the EUChina: Work Together for a Better Globalisation
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersNordics Could Be First Carbon-Negative Region in World
  10. European Federation of Allergy and AirwaysLife Is Possible for Patients with Severe Asthma
  11. PKEE - Polish Energy AssociationCommon-Sense Approach Needed for EU Energy Reform
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Region to Lead in Developing and Rolling Out 5G Network

Latest News

  1. Migration row at centre of EU summit This Week
  2. Merkel's woes cast shadow on EU's future
  3. Europe's tech race - trying to keep pace with US and China
  4. Merkel and Juncker's mini-summit risks fiasco
  5. Greece and creditors proclaim 'end of crisis'
  6. How a US firm pushed for EU €2.1trn pension fund
  7. Commission defends Africa migrant plan ahead of summit
  8. Bavaria hijacks EU migration talks

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us