Friday

6th Dec 2019

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. 30-day free trial.

... or join 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

Searching for solidarity in EU asylum policy

The European Parliament's civil liberties committee offers a snapshot of the European "state of mind", says its chair Juan Fernando Lopez Aguilar. Its biggest challenge will be getting member states to unblock the EU asylum package.

Magazine

Development to fuel change

The European Parliament's development committee says its overarching priority will be to deliver on the UN's Sustainable Development Goals. Achieving that will require an action plan and targeted investments, says its chair Swedish centre-right MEP Tomas Tobé.

Magazine

A bigger Erasmus budget to favour inclusion

One of the top priorities of the European parliament's committee on culture and education (CULT), chaired by centre-right German MEP Sabine Verheyen, is to triple the Erasmus+ budget to make it more inclusive and accessible.

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. Nordic Council of Ministers40 years of experience have proven its point: Sustainable financing actually works
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic and Baltic ministers paving the way for 5G in the region
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersEarmarked paternity leave – an effective way to change norms
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Climate Action Weeks in December
  5. UNESDAUNESDA welcomes Nicholas Hodac as new Director General
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersBrussels welcomes Nordic culture

Latest News

  1. Migrants paying to get detained in Libyan centres
  2. Searching for solidarity in EU asylum policy
  3. Will Michel lead on lobbying transparency at Council?
  4. Blood from stone: What did British PR firm do for Malta?
  5. EU Commission defends Eurobarometer methodology
  6. Timmermans warns on cost of inaction on climate
  7. Development to fuel change
  8. Does EU have role in stopping backsliding in Georgia?

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNESDAUNESDA appoints Nicholas Hodac as Director General
  2. UNESDASoft drinks industry co-signs Circular Plastics Alliance Declaration
  3. FEANIEngineers Europe Advisory Group: Building the engineers of the future
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNew programme studies infectious diseases and antibiotic resistance
  5. UNESDAUNESDA reduces added sugars 11.9% between 2015-2017
  6. International Partnership for Human RightsEU-Uzbekistan Human Rights Dialogue: EU to raise key fundamental rights issues

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us