The EU could be about to give a 3.5 billion euro subsidy to arms companies
Do we want a social Europe that invests in people and peace, or do we want one that focuses on arms, militarism and war?
This week the European Parliament will be debating the general EU budget for 2017/18. The main focus of the debate is likely to be the knock-on impacts of Brexit and the falling pound, infrastructure, migration and the many other major challenges facing the continent.
Understandably, a lot of significant items are likely to be overlooked, including a crucial point, that could see the EU taking steps towards adopting an institutional military-industrial strategy. Buried within the budget is the EU’s first proposed Preparatory Action for defence research.
If the budget is agreed, this would effectively be a trial-run that would see the European Parliament subsidising military research for the first time. It would represent an important precedent. At present, the European Commission finances exclusively civilian or dual-use R&D through its €80 billion Horizon 2020 programme.
The proposal, would cover the period of 2017-2020 at the estimated cost of €50-100 million – paving the way for a full research programme that the European Union Institute for Security Studies (EUISS), which made the proposal in the first place, estimates would cost at least €3.5 billion between 2021-2027.