Why does the EU need a €13bn defence fund? It should be waging peace
The organisation known for pacifism has fallen prey to arms traders it hired to advise on military strategy
It is often said that the European Union is the most successful peace project in the world. Those arguing the case will point to the centuries of war that preceded its founding and the relative peace that has followed. There are many times when that claim has been severely tested, with European governments playing a central role in fuelling global conflict while pursuing repressive anti-refugee policies that have punished people escaping war.
This week, the EU’s reputation for peace-building has come under further question, with the European parliament overwhelmingly voting to finalise the funding for a European Defence Fund. The fund commits €13 billion over a seven-year period to the collective research and development of “cutting-edge” weapons and military technology. The concept of the fund was announced by the European commission president, Jean-Claude Juncker, in 2016 and backed by the European council later that year. A handful of pilot projects were launched in 2017, with a total of €590 million committed for funding. The scale of the projects and spending will be totally eclipsed by this week’s increase.