Written by S. Christofyllidis
A militarization of the European Union has become reality after the announcement of European Commission’s President, Jean-Claude Juncker, about 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 in order for the European Union to guarantee the security of its people.
The European Defence Fund is part of the European Union Defence Action Plan aiming to boost the expenses the European Union does for its protection. There is an actual need for a wiser spending of the European Union on its defence capabilities. Helicopters and drones are part of the so-called “capability window” and will cost around 5 billion/year for joint purchase of these high-tech mechanisms. Even though the money spent for military goals have been reduced by 12% for every single Member State, still the European Union lacks 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 against international and global threats. The so-called “research window” will increase up to 90 million euro by 2020, covering areas such as robotics and encrypted, specialized software that will guarantee the security of the cyberspace and will modernize the defence supply chains. The single market for defence as well as investments in security-oriented start-ups and small and medium-sized enterprises will facilitate the cross-border participation in defence procurement, support the development of industry standards, and promote the contribution of sectoral policies, like EU space programmes and common security. The loss of the EU money owing to the failure of the cooperation among the Member States has reached the amount of 100 billion euro/year. In simple words, every Member State shall invest a specific ammount of money in a particular EU Fund about the defence of the European Union. Even if the EU is not a military organization, the circumstances "oblige" the Union to establish and work on its collective defense.
The EU Defence Fund could be, afterall, a joint European answer towards the current European and international circumstances and developments. We should bear in mind that among the 22 EU countries which participate in NATO, only 4 of them 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 this initiative is an EU response to Donald as well. Everyone is supposed to pay its share and make the defense system of both the EU and NATO stronger. The possible Russian aggression and Mister Trump’s friendly approach to Moscow could cause trouble and thus it creates concerns among EU and NATO Member States. Brexit has also been a factor in the creation of that 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.
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