Saturday

27th Aug 2016

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."

Gulen faithful at work in EU capital

Persecuted in Turkey as the alleged authors of the July putsch, the followers of Islamic teacher Fethullah Gulen stay active as ever in the EU capital.

Italy earthquake is test for Renzi

Italian prime minister is expected to present a quick reconstruction plan and request more budget flexibility from the EU after this week's tragic earthquake.

News in Brief

  1. Hungary plans to reinforce border fence against migrants
  2. France's highest court suspends burkini ban
  3. Greeks paid €1bn more in taxes in June
  4. Greek minister denounces EU letter on former statistics chief
  5. Turks seeking asylum in Greece may cause diplomatic row
  6. Merkel becomes digital resident of Estonia
  7. Report: VW will compensate US dealers with €1bln
  8. EU mulls making Google pay news media for content

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. GoogleBrussels - home of beer, fries, chocolate and Google’s Public Policy Team - follow @GoogleBrussels
  2. HuaweiSeeds for the Future Programme to Bring Students from 50 countries to China for Much-Needed ICT Training
  3. EFASpain is not a democratic state. EFA expresses its solidarity to Arnaldo Otegi and EH Bildu
  4. UNICEFBoko Haram Violence in Lake Chad Region Leaves Children Displaced and Trapped
  5. HuaweiMaking Cities Smarter and Safer
  6. GoogleHow Google Makes Connections More Secure For Users
  7. EGBAThe EU Court of Justice Confirms the Application of Proportionality in Assessing Gambling Laws
  8. World VisionThe EU and Member States Must Not Use Overseas Aid for Promoting EU Interests
  9. Dialogue PlatformInterview: "There is a witch hunt against the Gulen Movement in Turkey"
  10. ACCAACCA Calls for ‘Future Looking’ Integrated Reporting Culture With IIRC and IAAER
  11. EURidNominate Your Favourite .eu or .ею Website for the .EU Web Awards 2016 Today!
  12. Dialogue PlatformAn Interview on Gulen Movement & Recent Coup Attempt in Turkey