New Europe: GUE/NGL: Plans to militarise the EU a ‘dark day for peace’
New Europe reports on the EU-Commissions plans to militarise the European Union (www.neweurope.eu/article/plans-militarise-eu-dark-day-peace/):
The European United Left – Nordic Green Left (GUE/NGL) has criticised the European Commission’s plans to militarise the EU. The group’s Sabine Lösing described plans 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 on June 7..
Lösing, who is GUE/NGL’s coordinator on the EU Parliament’s foreign affairs committee, was reacting to the Commission’s defence package which includes the establishment of the EU Defence Fund to purchase military equipment and joint defence capabilities, as well as a Defence Industrial Development Programme that will be funded out of the EU budget.
These are a follow-up to the European Defence Action Plan presented by Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker last year, and come ahead of his major speech on this matter in Prague on June 9.
“The EU Defence Fund is taking a fatally-flawed direction,” said the German MEP. “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.”
According to Lösing, a total of € 38.5bn 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 €2.59bn by 2020 – of which €590m will come from the EU budget.
“That’s not including the billions that will be spent on arms purchases (€5bn) and research (€500m) over the next decade. Out of this, €1.5bn will be from the EU budget – the rest will be coming out of member states’ own coffers,” said the German MEP, adding that this will open 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.”