Moving fast towards building security and defence union
European Defence Fund to help Member States spend taxpayer money more efficiently
9 June, 2017
VP Federica Mogherini (L) and VP Jyrki Katainen (R) jointly presented the reflection paper on the future of European Defence by 2025.
Following the White Paper on the Future of Europe, the Commission opened last Wednesday a public debate on the future direction of defence in an EU of 27, the EU press service reported. The presented reflection paper outlines different scenarios on how to address the growing security and defence threats facing Europe and enhance Europe's own abilities in defence by 2025. The paper is complemented by concrete proposals on a European Defence Fund, which will support more efficient spending by Member States on joint defence capabilities
“In today's world, a strong NATO and a strong EU are more important than they ever have been before. Without duplicating, Europe needs to take its security and defence into its own hands in order to be a stronger partner to our allies. We know where we are headed but it is time we decided how fast we want to get there,” VP Jyrki Katainen pointed out. “We are moving fast and forward on security in the EU. Through the Union, we can support Member States in developing military capabilities and investing more efficiently in defence,” VP Federica Mogherini added.
The Commission is contributing to the broader EU-wide debate on defence, by setting out three possible scenarios for the future of European defence. Under a “Security and Defence Cooperation” scenario, Member States would decide on the need for security and defence cooperation on a voluntary and case-by-case basis, while the EU would continue to complement national efforts. Under a more ambitious “Shared Security and Defence” scenario, Member States would pool together certain financial and operational assets to increase solidarity in defence. The EU would also become more engaged in Europe's protection within and beyond its borders.
The most ambitious “Common Defence and Security” scenario foresees the progressive framing of a common Union defence policy, leading to common defence based on Article 42 of the EU Treaty. The existing provision allows a group of Member States to take European defence to the next level. Under this scenario, protecting Europe would become a mutually reinforcing responsibility of the EU and NATO. These scenarios are not mutually exclusive, but illustrate three different levels of ambition in terms of solidarity.
The Commission also launched the European Defence Fund as announced by President Juncker in September 2016. The Fund will coordinate, supplement and amplify national investments in defence research as well as the acquisition of defence equipment and technology. It will help Member States spend taxpayer money more efficiently and reduce duplications..
The Fund will exclusively support research and development. Starting in 2017, the EU will for the first time offer grants for collaborative research in innovative defence technologies and products, fully and directly funded by the EU budget. By 2020, a dedicated EU defence research programme will have an estimated annual budget of €500m. The Fund will also create incentives for Member States to cooperate on joint development of defence equipment.