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Huge win for EU arms lobby amidst social emergency

Billions of EU taxpayers’ money will be diverted to the newly created European Defence Fund (EDF) after today’s vote in the European Parliament.

Despite the fact that the EU Treaty* specifically prohibits the EU Budget from being used for military purposes, large-scale funds will come out of the bloc’s seven-year MFF for military purposes for the first time – money that could have alleviated the ongoing health crisis and social emergency.

The biggest winners will undoubtedly be the arms industry, with almost €8 billion euros going to EDF for the 2021-2027 period. An additional €1.69 billion has been earmarked for ‘Military Mobility’, and almost €15 billion for defence-related space programmes.

All these are part of the EU’s new obsession to be seen as a major military power that rivals the United States and others on the global stage.

Speaking in the Brussels plenary, Marc Botenga (PTB/PVDA, Belgium) said:

“Has the EU learned nothing from the pandemic? By creating a brand new European Defence Fund that will benefit multinational arms companies to the tunes of billions, today’s vote will add oil to the fire that is the militarisation of the EU budget.”

“Even the European Commission has admitted there are many redundancies in weapons systems throughout the European Union. In other words, member states already have enough weapons – they don’t need more, and certainly not an arms race.”

“We should build peace and invest in public services, in re-industrialisation, civil research and development. Invest in health, not war!” he concluded.

German MEP Özlem Demirel (Die Linke, Germany) said the cosy relationship between the EU and the arms industry is plain to see:

“The champagne corks are popping today for the arms lobby: they are the big winners. And why wouldn’t they celebrate? They’ve always sat just meters away from the negotiation table!”

“Article 41(2)* of the EU Treaty says no EU funds can be used for military measures. So what did the Commission do? They created a loophole that allows the money will be spent on ‘industrial policy’.”

“Throwing billions of taxpayers’ money into the arms industry is politically wrong. The money should have been used to tackle the economic, climate and social crisis – not fuelling wars and violence with more weapons.”

 

*Left MEPs have long argued that the EU’s military plans are at odds with Article 41(2) of the EU Treaty. You can read our group’s intervention when arguing against the establishment of the EDF back in 2018 here.

 

Cartoon by Van Mol

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