14 June 2018
The European Commission presented its legislative proposal on Wednesday 13 June for the new European Defence Fund as part of ongoing negotiations for the next long-term EU budget between 2021-2027.
In response, European Green Party co-chair Reinhard Bütikofer said:
“The Commission has unfortunately brushed aside multiple concerns pertaining to the European Defence Fund that have been publicly debated over recent months. This is going to reduce support for this new fund considerably.
“While the Commission intends to cut the budget for civil conflict prevention and peacekeeping by more than half, spending on arms research, arms procurement and military infrastructure will increase exponentially as of next year. 500 million euros have been earmarked for the 2019/20 period, whilst a total of 20 billion euros is foreseen for the period ending in 2027.
“The European Commission’s stated goals of efficiency and interoperability, which are key to preventing profligate spending in the armaments sector turn out as little more than lip service. The Commission makes no attempt at putting forward concrete proposals to promote these goals. What we are really seeing is a renewed push from the arms’ lobby to seek new funding.
"We are deeply concerned by the fact that the European Parliament is supposed to be excluded from having a say on the future pluriannual action plans and by the complete disregard for civil society input. Once the Defence Fund has been approved, Parliament would then be shut out for the next 7-year period. The so-called independent experts who are foreseen to play a role in advising the military spending, will be under full control of Defence ministries, which also raises serious concerns.
“The Commission’s promise that ethical issues would be addressed sounds hollow. It is belied by the fact that the regulation opens the road to spending EU budget money on cluster munitions and killer robots. Under no circumstances must European taxpayer’s money be used to bankroll these unethical weapons.”
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