Thursday

11th Aug 2022

EU mulls joint defence spending

  • Commission keen to develop EU's own surveillance UAVs (Photo: EADS)

The EU budget should be used for military research and the bloc could become a defence alliance akin to Nato, the European Commission is poised to say.

The Commission is to outline its ideas in a legislative proposal on spending and in an ideas paper on defence due out on Wednesday (7 June).

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

  • Trump caused upset at Nato last week (Photo: nato.int)

“The development of a new generation of many major defence systems is today beyond the reach of a single EU member state … ‘More Europe’ in defence and security is clearly needed”, the draft proposals, seen by Bloomberg, a US news agency, said.

The reflection paper adds that the “nature of the trans-Atlantic relationship is evolving” and that “more than ever, Europeans need to take greater responsibility for their own security”.

It outlines three scenarios, one of which speaks of “common defence and security” in which defence of Europe “would become a mutually reinforcing responsibility of the EU and Nato”.

It says the EU should have “pre-positioned permanently available forces” for deployment “on behalf of the union” that could be used in anti-crisis or counter-terrorist operations in hostile areas.

The less ambitious scenarios speak of voluntary contributions to joint defence on an ad-hoc basis.

The new military research and procurement budget is to be worth €250 million in its first year in 2020 rising to up to €1.5 billion a year from the €150-billion EU budget.

It is to be spent on research and procurement of surveillance drones and cyber defence in its initial phase, but this would still mark the first time EU money had been spent directly on military assets.

The defence integration is to take place until 2025.

The EU reflection on defence began prior to the Brexit vote in the UK and the election of Donald Trump in the US.

The UK was the EU’s pre-eminent military power and British prime minister Theresa May has flip-flopped on whether its future EU security cooperation could be withheld if Brexit talks went badly.

Trump last week disappointed Nato allies by refusing to say he would honour the Nato treaty’s Article 5 on mutual defence.

Germany and Italy have in the past called for the creation of an EU army, but France and Finland, among others, were more sceptical, while the UK has opposed such a move.

Trump lukewarm on Nato joint defence

Trump voiced half-hearted support for Nato and reprimanded allies over what he called unpaid debts on his maiden trip to Europe.

EU to propose joint defence fund

New fund for military procurement and research, to be worth tens of billions of euros a year, is part of wider plans for an EU defence union.

EU to spend €1.5bn a year on joint defence

The Commission has offered to put aside €1.5 billion a year for joint defence spending in what could be the first step toward the creation of an EU army.

Opinion

Let Taiwan's democracy shine brighter

Dr Ming-Yen Tsai, head of the Taipei Representative Office in the EU and Belgium, responds to EUobserver op-ed on Taiwan by the Chinese ambassador to Belgium. "Taiwan is an 'island of resilience'. That will continue to be the case."

Opinion

Supporting Taiwan 'like carrying water in a sieve'

China's ambassador to Belgium, Cao Zhongming, says the US has been distorting, obscuring and hollowing out the 'one-China' principle and unscrupulously undermining China's core interests. This is sheer double standards and a shameful act of bad faith.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. EFBWW – EFBH – FETBBConstruction workers can check wages and working conditions in 36 countries
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic and Canadian ministers join forces to combat harmful content online
  3. European Centre for Press and Media FreedomEuropean Anti-SLAPP Conference 2022
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers write to EU about new food labelling
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersEmerging journalists from the Nordics and Canada report the facts of the climate crisis
  6. Council of the EUEU: new rules on corporate sustainability reporting

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us