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A MILITARY (?) EUROPEAN UNION

A military European Union has become reality after the announcement of European Commission’s President, Jean-Claude Juncker, of the activation of the collective defence system on 30 November 2016. This system, known as the EU Defence Action Plan, has finally taken shape and the Union is now establishing its brand new European Defence Fund, based on the contribution of all Member States, to guarantee the security of its people.

The European Defence Fund is part of the European Union Defence Action Plan, aimed at boosting the funding the European Union allocates for its protection. The European Union actually needs to spend more wisely on its defence capabilities. Helicopters and drones are part of the so-called “capability window”; the joint purchase of these high-tech devices will cost around 5 billion/year. Even though the amount spent for military purposes has been reduced by 12% for every single Member State, the European Union is still lacking in collective cooperation and thus an integrated plan is necessary for a wide range of fields; from land, air, sea, and space capabilities to cyber security.

Innovation, research and joint development, in conjunction with investment in industry suppliers, will strengthen the resistance of the Union to international and global threats. The so-called “research window” will increase to 90 million euro by 2020, covering areas such as robotics and encrypted, specialized software that will guarantee cyberspace security and will modernize defence supply chains. A single market for defence, as well as investments in security-oriented start-ups and small and medium-sized enterprises, will facilitate cross-border participation in defence procurement, support the development of industry standards, and promote the contribution of sectorial policies, like EU space programmes and common security.

The loss of the EU money due to the failure of Member States in cooperating has reached the amount of 100 billion euro/year. Put simply, every Member State shall invest a specific amount of money in a particular EU Fund dedicated to the defence of the European Union. Even if the EU is not a military organization, circumstances “oblige” it to establish and work on its collective defence.

The EU Defence Fund could be, after all, the joint European answer to the current European and international circumstances and developments. We should bear in mind that, among the 22 EU countries which participate in NATO, only four are paying 2% of their GDP (as agreed). Let alone that the US President-elect Donald Trump is not willing to support countries that participate in NATO but do not contribute to its defence. So, maybe, we could say that this initiative is the EU’s response to Donald as well. Everyone is supposed to pay their share and make both the EU’s and NATO’s defence system stronger.

A possible Russian aggression and Mister Trump’s friendly approach to Moscow could cause trouble; thus, it creates concerns among EU and NATO Member States. Brexit has also been a factor in the creation of the plan, because the United Kingdom has traditionally blocked Franco-German initiatives in many areas. Now that the United Kingdom has chosen to leave the European Union, it is time for the EU to create and ensure a greater security dimension.

“If Europe does not take care of its own security, nobody else will do it for us”, the President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, says.

 


 

Symeon Christofyllidis

Master in Political Marketing

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