Brussels, 15 December 2016
Commenting on the EU summit debate on defence, the Co-Chair of the European Green Party Reinhard Bütikofer said:
"It is to be welcomed that the European Union has been taking serious steps to develop a genuine common defence policy since the Brexit decision. The exit signal from the British that had long blocked such a development is now also proving as an aid to the further integration of the remaining 27 member states. With this, they now also finally react to the clear expectations of European citizens. They have long been in favour of a stronger integration of European security policy.
"However, we have to warn against plundering all possible EU budgets for achieving the highest possible expenditure on armaments. It is not the problem of the European security policy that too little money has been spent on this. With a total of about € 200 billion a year, the EU member states jointly surpass Russia's military spending (almost 70 billion) by about three times. Due to a strong fragmentation in procurement policy and a completely inefficient multiplication of the same abilities in several places, European armament spending has long been an outstanding example for the actual wasting of tax money. Therefore, efficient collaboration is the key. For example, in 2011 the Army Chiefs of the EU countries already identified 300 projects. Only in 19 of these work has been started. A much stronger cooperation is also urgently needed in armament research, development and procurement - 80 percent of the latter area is currently being taken care of at the national level.
"It is therefore a mistake if the Council and the Commission now join forces in order to exploit the European budget for a defense fund while at the same time refusing to provide the necessary financing for the EU budget. A defense fund could be useful if it were financed by the resources that the member countries would save through a better collaboration of their efforts ("pooling and sharing"). The path that the Council and the Commission are currently considering will, of course let the armaments lobby celebrate. However, the price for this is a lower economic development of the Union, as investment in research, regional development, and even investment in small and medium-sized enterprises will be cut.”
- ENDS -
Head of Communications and Press