Monday

15th Apr 2024

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

Get the EU news that really matters

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.

Interview

EU should use 'all means' to end war in Gaza: Belgian minister

The EU should use "all means" possible to end the violence in Gaza, including sanctions, a peace conference, and a review of the EU-Israel Association Agreement, Belgian development cooperation minister Caroline Gennez told EUobserver.

Latest News

  1. EU special summit, MEPs prep work, social agenda This WEEK
  2. EU leaders condemn Iran, urge Israeli restraint
  3. UK-EU deal on Gibraltar only 'weeks away'
  4. Belgium declares war on MEPs who took Russian 'cash'
  5. Brussels Dispatches: Foreign interference in the spotlight
  6. Calling time on Amazon's monopolism and exploitation
  7. Resist backlash on deforestation law, green groups tell EU
  8. China's high-quality development brings opportunities to the world

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersJoin the Nordic Food Systems Takeover at COP28
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersHow women and men are affected differently by climate policy
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersArtist Jessie Kleemann at Nordic pavilion during UN climate summit COP28
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersCOP28: Gathering Nordic and global experts to put food and health on the agenda
  5. Friedrich Naumann FoundationPoems of Liberty – Call for Submission “Human Rights in Inhume War”: 250€ honorary fee for selected poems
  6. World BankWorld Bank report: How to create a future where the rewards of technology benefit all levels of society?

Join EUobserver

EU news that matters

Join us