The European Commission has announced a €13 billion “Defence Fund” paving the way for closer EU military integration – plans once called a “dangerous fantasy” by anti-Brexit Remainer Nick Clegg.
The Commission confirmed on Wednesday that the EU’s 2021-2027 bloated budget – €1.279 trillion – includes the multi-billion euro fund. At €13 billion, the EU military fund is now greater than the whole defence budget of Turkey, which has a larger standing army than any European Union nation.
“The European Union is stepping up its contribution to Europe’s collective security and defence,” the Commission said of the Defence Fund.
“Investments needed to facilitate military mobility throughout the EU will be funded by €6.5 billion through the Connecting Europe Facility,” the Commission added with the bloc also announcing it had signed off on a €10.5 billion “off-budget” allocation created for the so-called “European Peace Facility to reinforce possible joint engagement in non-EU countries”.
“The facility will aim to increase the EU’s support to peace operations by third parties worldwide,” the spending plan continues, explaining that the bloc’s forces could be pulled into conflict and disaster zones overseas.
It will “cover joint costs of Common Security and Defence Policy military missions… to enable the EU to engage in broader actions aimed at supporting non-EU countries’ armed forces with infrastructure, equipment, supplies or military technical assistance.”
The EU needs to take greater responsibility for defending and protecting its citizens.
We propose tools to help them in this effort: the European Defence fund, #PESCO, the European Peace Facility, #HorizonEU…
— European Commission 🇺 (@EU_Commission) May 2, 2018
The Permanent Structured Cooperation deal (PESCO) was signed by 23 member states in November 2017 – two months after President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker demanded a “fully-fledged European Defence Union” by 2025.
And in December, the Commission heralded the first operational steps towards the European Defence Union with 25 member states working together on 17 collective defence projects.
Though EU officials assured NATO that PESCO would “compliment” the work of the international Western defence alliance, the U.S. warned Brussels in February not to threaten NATO with an EU army.
Macron Believes EU Military Integration Plans Cannot Work Unless Britain Is Incorporated https://t.co/DOZvir3k7f
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) January 15, 2018
Despite the country being in preparations to leave the bloc, post-Brexit Britain may find herself pulled into an EU Army with defence specialist Colonel Richard Kemp telling Breitbart London last year that the British military could become a “pawn in the Brexit negotiation game”.
French President Emmanuel Macron, considered a powerful force behind the formation of an integrated EU defence force, is believed to have become frustrated with the slow progress of PESCO and appears to have already pulled the UK into a smaller coalition.
According to officials speaking to Politico, the defence ministers of the UK and France, as well as those of Belgium, Denmark, Estonia, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, and Spain, are set to sign a letter of intent in Paris in June to develop a “common strategic culture” and to coordinate their forces on future operations.