Juncker’s plans to militarise the EU ‘fatally-flawed’
GUE/NGL’s Sabine Lösing has described plans by the European Commission to militarise the EU as a ‘dark day for peace’ after the unveiling of the EU Defence Fund by EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini and Commission Vice President Jyrki Katainen in Brussels today.
Lösing was reacting to the Commission’s defence package which not only includes the establishment of the EU Defence Fund to purchase military equipment and joint defence capabilities, but also a Defence Industrial Development Programme which will be funded out of the EU budget.
All these are a follow-up to the European Defence Action Plan unveiled by Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker last year, and come ahead of his major speech on this matter in Prague this Friday.
Commenting on the latest developments, Lösing - GUE/NGL’s Coordinator on the European Parliament’s Committee on Foreign Affairs - said:
"The EU Defence Fund is taking a fatally-flawed direction. The general consensus - at least officially - is that the EU budgetary funds are not to be used for defence purposes. That is clearly now no longer the case. This consensus is now being blown up by the EU Defence Fund. ”
“We aren’t talking about peanut sums here - a total of 38.5 billion euros will be earmarked for the Defence Fund during the 2021-2027 budgetary cycle. And now the Commission wants to bring forward its launch to 2019, set aside 2.59 billion euros by 2020 - of which 590 million euros will come from the EU budget! That’s not including the billions that will be spent on arms purchases (5 billion euros) and research (500 million euros) over the next decade. Out of this, 1.5 billion euros will be from the EU budget - the rest will be coming out of member states’ own coffers,” reasoned the German MEP.
“This will open up the political floodgate. We are therefore at the start of a very slippery slope. If the funding restrictions on military matters are lifted, the EU defence budget will presumably be in the hundreds of billions in the near future. The defence industry might be pleased as punch to hear that - but it’s a dark day for those of us who are working towards a peaceful and social European Union,” said Lösing.