Monday

10th Aug 2020

Magazine

EU buys guns

  • Nathalie Loiseau (Renew, France), chair of the committee (Photo: Council of the EU)

Gearing up for the first big wave of EU spending on arms procurement will be a top priority for the European Parliament's subcommittee on security and defence (SEDE), according to its chairman, French liberal politician Nathalie Loiseau. But regulatory and strategic questions remained "unanswered", she said.

The committee would "monitor implementation of the tools we've created to enhance our defence union", Loiseau said, naming an alphabet soup of acronyms for EU projects on new defence assets: Pesco, EDF, and EDIDP.

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

Permanent Structured Cooperation (Pesco), is to see 29 clubs of assorted EU states develop new attack helicopters, missile systems, and artillery guidance systems, among other hardware.

The list also includes drones, autonomous weapons systems, electronic warfare, and military space surveillance, "addressing new challenges," Loiseau said.

SEDE's task was to "adopt EDF regulation in full", she added, referring to the European Defence Fund, a €13bn pot for developing new systems.

And the committee should guide European Commission spending on the European defence industrial development programme (EDIDP), she said, referring to a separate €590m pot for defence research.

Some of SEDE's time would be spent monitoring the EU's 16 overseas civilian and military missions, Loiseau noted.

These ranged from a police force in Kosovo, to coast-guard training in Libya, and an anti-piracy force in the Indian Ocean.

Her committee saw eye-to-eye on its agenda, Loiseau indicated, but that did not mean there was no debate. "It's more about unanswered questions than divisive topics, for instance: what is the role of the EU on arms exports?", she said.

SEDE's main task should be "improvement of European defence mechanisms", she noted.

But "I would very much like to see a European defence strategy adopted," she added, with big questions such as: "does the functioning of Nato answer all our priorities in terms of defence of Europe? How do we build a satisfactory defence partnership with the UK after Brexit?", still "unanswered" as well.

Loiseau, a former French EU affairs minister and a former director of an elite French academy, is likely to work hand-in-glove with France's EU commissioner, in charge of the single market, industry, and defence portfolio.

French president Emmanuel Macron is a leading proponent of EU defence integration.

And while different views exist on Nato versus EU military structures, SEDE also contains a galaxy of former stars from Russia-facing EU states for whom joint arms procurement is welcomed.

Romania's former president Traian Băsescu (EPP, Romania) is a member, along with three former Polish foreign ministers: Anna Fotyga (ECR, Poland), Radosław Sikorski (EPP, Poland), and Witold Waszczykowski (ECR, Poland), plus an Estonian one, Urmas Paet (Renew, Estonnia).

The committee's European Parliament group coordinators are: Arnaud Danjean (EPP, France); Sven Mikser (S&D, Estonia); Petras Austrevicius (Renew, Lithuania); Hannah Neumann (Greens/EFA, Germany); Jérôme Rivière (ID, France); Geoffrey Van Orden (ECR, UK); and Mick Wallace (GUE/NGL, Germany).

This article first appeared in EUobserver's latest magazine, Who's Who in European Parliament Committees, which you can now read in full online.

Column

Why the EU can't do security and defence

What if the EU can't guarantee European security? In times when US physical presence does not make up for its mental absence, the question got urgent.

EU countries to halt arms sales to Turkey

EU states have agreed to stop arms sales to Turkey over its invasion of Syria, marking a nadir in relations with their Nato ally. In response, Ankara mocked the decision as a "joke".

Magazine

Six priorities for human rights

Belgian socialist MEP Marie Arena is chairing the European Parliament's sub-committee on human rights. Her biggest challenge? Finding ways to reach objectives that cover an enormous spectrum of issues - from climate to child protection.

Magazine

EU must manage climate and industry together

For Romanian centre-right MEP Adina-Ioana Valean, the previous chair of environment committee and current chair of industry, research and energy (ITRE), climate and industrial policy-making must go hand-in-hand to bring sustainability and prosperity to Europe.

News in Brief

  1. Germany breached rights of Madeleine McCann suspect
  2. EU offers trade perks to Lebanon
  3. Germany charges ex-Audi chiefs on emissions cheating
  4. UK quarantines Belgium, as European infections climb
  5. Bulgaria's Borissov mulls resignation
  6. EU prolongs anti-dumping duties on Chinese steel
  7. Swedish economy contracted less during April to June
  8. EU offers help to Lebanon after port explosion

Magazine

Welcome to the EU engine room

Welcome to the EU engine room: the European Parliament (EP's) 22 committees, which churn out hundreds of new laws and non-binding reports each year and which keep an eye on other European institutions.

Magazine

Which parties and countries chair the EP committees?

Although the European Parliament tries to keep a geopolitical balance within the committees, the breakdown of the actual chairs of the committees by political party and nationality is uneven - with a clear under-representation of central and eastern EU countries.

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 wary of violence in Belarus election
  2. Iraqis paid €2,000 each agree to leave Greece
  3. EU's most sustainable islands are Danish 'Sunshine Islands'
  4. Worrying rows over future EU chemicals policy
  5. Rainbow flag protesters charged by Polish police
  6. An open letter to the EPP on end of Hungary's press freedom
  7. Renew Europe has a plan to combat gender-violence
  8. Why EU beats US on green pandemic recovery

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us