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EU executive offers funds for defense integration plans

EU executive offers funds for defense integration plans

While there is still much skepticism about the defense plan - given the EU's struggles to better integrate the defense programs and capabilities of individual countries - supporters of closer military cooperation praised the fund as a crucial first step. The commission said it expects the programme will leverage national contributions worth five times that, potentially generating €5bn per year after 2020. It shows that European defence is one of their priorities today.

The commission will argue that the EU's soon to be 27 member states (minus Britain) can no longer afford to individually pay the high cost of maintaining a military of a global reach. The existing provision allows a group of Member States to take European defence to the next level.

Currently, about 80% of procurement and 90% of research are conducted on a national basis within the European Union, the commission said. The Commission will be able to block the licensing of a product to another company or government based outside the EU.

The European commission today proposed to mobilise €5.5 billion per year as part of unified defence fund to boost Europe's defence capabilities and to coordinate, supplement and amplify national investments in defence research, in the development of prototypes and in the acquisition of defence equipment and technology, . Rather, a new, less restrictive framework is being explored for European defense.

"The Commission and member states must also provide more clarity regarding the medium and long-term objectives of the Common Defence Policy". It says more than 25 billion euros is lost annually through poor cooperation and estimates that around 30 percent of expenditure could be saved if nations bought equipment together.

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"The real test is going to be on defense and not on the euro", the diplomat said, noting that if a conflict were to develop in, say, the Balkans, the European Union should have the capability to intervene without turning to London or Washington to take the lead.

Manfred Weber MEP, who leads the largest political group in the European Parliament, the European People's Party, ‏ said the proposal is the second biggest thing the EU has taken on after the launch of the euro single currency.

Weber comes from Germany, which alongside France is the main proponent of the drive for deeper defence integration. The decision comes after repeated demands by Trump that the U.S.'s European allies contribute more to Western military alliance North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, which includes most of the EU and has undergone a major arms buildup in response to what it considers to be a growing regional threat by Russian Federation. "We are at the start of a very slippery slope", she said.

We are moving fast and forward on security in the European Union, with the Commission accompanying and supporting the determination of Member States.

'European security lies first of all in European hands, ' it said.

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"My report on the European Defence Union was adopted in November 2016". That reminds me of introducing the euro in order to get eventually to the United States of Europe.

European Union states had 36 "defence platforms and systems" in place versus 11 in the US.

Its creation takes the bloc a step closer towards the deeper military cooperation previously resisted by outgoing member the United Kingdom, and builds on Europe's joint security capabilities at a time when the continent's leaders are warning it can not rely on old allies.

Now, preparing for threats from both within and outside the continent has shot up the EU's agenda, with the election of Trump giving further impetus to officials call Europe's "strategic autonomy", an ability to act independently of other major powers. If resources were pooled, nearly one-third of national defence expenditures could be saved.

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