Don't use EU budget for defence research

Resolution adopted as amended, Athens Council, November 2012 (.pdf version is attached)

Within the current Multiannual Financial Framework (2007-2014) the EU spends around 1 billion on security research in the context of the Framework Program for Research (FP7). During the negotiations for the Multiannual Financial Framework for the period 2014-2020, conservatives within the European Parliament (EPP) agreed to limit security research to strictly civilian applications, technology and knowledge. For the Greens this was a condition sine qua non for accepting the financing of security research from the EU budget at all.  

We as Greens strongly oppose the notion that security only encompasses technologies that focus on military deterrence and surveillance. The dominant influence of corporate interests and the arms industry on the understanding of security needs to be questioned. We have to reclaim the concept of security as for us it also arises from equality, social cohesion, environmental justice as well as general well-being and inclusion in a society.

With the financial and economic crisis hitting national defence budgets the right as well as Liberals and Socialists and Democrats are now changing their policy regarding security research. In contrast to the Greens, they have always supported the sponsoring of the rapidly growing "new security market" including EU funding for research in border surveillance and dual-use technology. But now, they even go a step further.

Parts of the defence industry, together with conservative, but also socialist and liberal members of the European Parliament are now trying to open the EU budget for defence research. Their idea is to spend 200-300 million EUR on Defence Research which would put the EU just behind the UK and France (maybe Germany) when it comes to annual spending in this field.

The gradual pooling of capabilities by willing Member States in the framework of the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) can help reduce military expenditure and discourage go-it-alone actions. However, it should be noted that the military missions the EU has undertaken since 2003 are mainly of a peacekeeping nature. The European Council has failed to update its 2003 security strategy, which makes it hard to assess which capabilities and technologies Europe needs. EU funding for security research still lacks a mechanism to ensure compliance with the Charter of Fundamental Rights, as is illustrated by the continued support by the European Commission for the total surveillance project INDECT, against the will of the European Parliament. For all these reasons, using the EU budget for defence research would be premature.

Since the European Parliament witnessed the first vote in favour of introducing Defence Research within the framework of the Horizon 2020 research programme there is a clear need to reassert that the Treaty on European Union puts civilian before military assets in the definition of the CSDP. Our aim is to bring this issue of major and strategic importance to the attention of all European citizens and national parliamentarians in order to organise opposition.

Against this backdrop, the European Greens are promoting the following position:

  • To limit EU research programs strictly to civilian security and peace research, excluding also research in border surveillance and dual use technologies;
  • To avoid any link between Horizon 2020 and the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP), in particular the EU Defence Agency (EDA);
  • To introduce language within Horizon 2020 which stipulates that under no circumstances the programme should be used to research and develop weapons, ammunition, other equipment and capacities with lethal impact and excessive destructive power; 
  • To ensure full compliance of the security research program with export control standards such as Common Position 2008/944/CFSP and the Dual Use Regulation 1232/2011shall be ensured, the European Commission shall closely monitor that those knowledge, products which are the result of funding by this programme are by no means transferred to companies, states and other actors who are not in compliance by the criteria laid down in Common Position 2008/944/CFSP;
  • To ensure that more than half of the overall amount is to be spend should be devoted to non-technological research; e.g. social science research on peace, conflict and cooperation; another 10% should be earmarked for research focusing on the legal, political and social implications of security technologies; 
  • Each research project on new technologies should include its own research and assessment component which explores the implications of the technology in question in the following fields: social and political implications (for example positive or negative impact on redistribution), sustainable environment, positive or negative impact on healthy years of life expectancy. Taking these aspects into consideration an ethical and fundamental rights impact assessment should be carried out prior to the launch of any technology based project and after termination of such a project.
Council Name 
Related downloads 

Our partners

Wiertzstraat 31 — B 1050 Brussels    Phone: +32 (0)2 626 07 20
Contact Us