EUROPEAN Union (EU) bureaucrats are planning for member states to spend £4billion (€5bn) on a “game-changer” joint defence project – but are still denying they are forming an EU Army
The monster budget, thought to be in response to Donald Trump’s election win, would strip national governments of their defence spending, with the European Defence Fund paying for cyber security, warships, drone technology and EU space programmes for defence.
The proposal revealed today by the European Commission would increase defence research resources by £21million (€25m) next year, climbing to £77m (€90m) a year by 2020, with a total group input by all countries of £4bn (€5bn) each year.
Currently, member states pay for 80 per cent of all defence procurement on a “purely national basis”, the Commission estimates.
The unveiling comes after member states made a decision to increase defence co-ordination to strengthen Europe’s anti-terror defences and reinforce the bloc’s external borders.
Commissioner Elżbieta Bieńkowska said the plan would lead to “more efficiency” in the sector as well as co-operation within the defence industry.
Jyrki Katainen, Commission Vice-President for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness, was keen to emphasise the plan would not lead to an EU Army.
He said: “We’re not here to propose a new EU Army or equipments. We will provide a structure to members states who want to work together.”
The former Finland Prime Minister said even EU countries who have been critical about EU defence co-operation have “changed their mind as there is a need for co-operation”.
The plans were thought to be a reaction to Donald Trump’s victory in the US elections and his call for Nato allies to increase spending or else the US might not defend its allies if they came under Russian attack.
Federica Mogherini, Vice-President of the Commission, said the initiative is needed because EU member states are spending too much on defence compared to output which is “much less than for every single dollar spent in the US on defence”.
She said: “This can only be tackled through co-operation.”
“We are trying to create a revolution in defence and security and putting to the test an inter-institutional way of working.”
Full article: EU announces £4BILLION A YEAR joint defence budget – but DENIES it’s for an EU army (Express)