On November 9th, dozens of citizens concentrated at the European Parliament. With alarm clocks, bells and sirens they tried to wake up the Members of the European Parliament. “We don’t want any public money going to the arms industry”, says one of the activists.
In the coming months, the European Parliament en Member States will be discussing the establishment of a European Defence Fund*, aimed at supporting the arms industry. Europe wants to spend 40 billion euros on subsidies for research, development and procurement of new arms. This is outrageous, says Bram Vranken of the Belgian peace organisation Vredesactie: “In times of austerity, the European Union is subsidizing an industry which is exporting death and conflict.”
All members of the European Parliament received an email today inviting them to go downstairs and talk to the activists. The action was joined spontaneously by a number of members of parliament of the European Parliament.
The report ‘Securing Profits, how the arms lobby is hijacking Europe’s defence policy’ published last month by Vredesactie shows how the decision making process on the European Defence Fund was heavily dominated by the arms industry. The European Union wants to spend these 40 billion euros on the research, development and procurement of new weapons during the next 10 years. The establishment of the European Defence Fund is an unprecedented acceleration in the militarization of the EU and only serves one purpose: sustaining the competitiveness of the arms industry. The question, which weapons should be developed and if they are actually needed, is not even asked. The decision making process was heavily dominated by corporate interests. Civil society nor the European Parliament were given any substantial input on these far reaching decisions. Based on disclosed EU documents, Vredesctie shows how the arms industry had access to every stage of the decision making process, from setting the agenda to drawing up the modalities of the military research programmes. It documents the symbiotic relationship between the arms industry and the EU institutions.
Read more on the demonstration at the European Parliament