The European Commission is planning to propose the creation of a fund for military procurement and research, as part of wider plans for an EU defence union.
The proposal, due out in Brussels on Wednesday (30 November) and seen by the Reuters news agency, says member states should pool money into a “European Defence Fund” that could be used to purchase items such as helicopters, warships, and drones.
It says participating states would be able to borrow from the fund to buy assets for their national militaries and would be able to offset their contributions from their EU budget targets.
It also says the EU should lift a ban on using its existing budget, as well as using European Investment Bank lending, to pay for research into military technology, such as drones or cyber-defence, in a related European Defence Research Programme.
The European Defence Fund would aim to save €25 billion to €100 billion a year in procurement costs.
The EU could also allocate €90 million between 2017 and 2019 and up to €3.5 billion between 2021 and 2027 from its joint budget for the European research fund.
The European Defence Agency, a branch of the EU foreign service, in October already allocated €1.4 million for a Portuguese pilot project due to run until 2018.
The project is to fund Portuguese-led research into sensors that help soldiers detect enemy troops inside buildings in urban conflict. It will also pay for Dutch and German-led research into border surveillance by drones, including by “swarms” of small, autonomous aircraft.
The Commission proposal comes amid wider plans to create an EU “defence union” in response to Brexit and to the election of Donald Trump, a Nato-sceptic, in the US, Reuters notes.
France, Germany, Italy and Spain have said the European public wanted the EU to play a larger role in the security arena in reaction to Britain’s decision to leave the bloc and to the migration crisis.
Earlier this month, EU states agreed to create a new military command HQ in the EU foreign service and joint rapid-reaction forces that could be sent into action in African or Middle Eastern states.
Trump in his campaign speeches said that NATO was out of date and that the US might not defend allies who did not spend more on their own forces.
Twenty-two of the 28 EU member states are in NATO, but only the UK, Estonia, Poland, and Greece meet NATO’s target of spending at least 2 percent of GDP on defence.
“This is not about an EU army, this is not about spending on the military instead of social security,” European Commission Vice President Jyrki Katainen said. “We face multiplying threats and we must act,” the former Finnish premier said, stressing that all assets developed would belong to national governments.
more details on euobserver
PS this is the super EURO-NATO the Commission has been dreaming for singing “Let’s spend on defense together, now we need it more than ever.. yyeah”
I always knew we had money and didn’t know how to spend it.