European public money for the military industry
The European Union tries to approve a huge financing plan that will have, as its main beneficiary, the military industry and military research.
Jean-Claude Juncker, president of the European Commission, in his statement on the State of the Union on November 14, 2016, declared the EU’s intention to promote and fund military research.
On June 7, 2017, the European Commission officially launched the European Defense Fund program. This Fund will use different public financing instruments to finance Research and Development projects in technologies and products with military objectives. The main recipients will be the companies and applied research groups active in this field. Priority will be given to novel technologies such as autonomous systems (including drones), intelligence-surveillance, cybersecurity and maritime safety. The draft Defense Fund 2021-2027 specifically mentions the so-called disruptive technologies. According to the European institutions, the objective of this program is twofold: to strengthen the military capabilities of the EU Member States (and therefore their strategic autonomy) and to contribute to the growth and employment in Europe by supporting competitiveness and innovation in this industrial sector.
This program is planned in two stages. The first one (2017-2020), already approved, is now in progress, being endowed with 590 million euros from the EU’s regular budget. It is expected that the Member States will supplement this figure with at least 2 billion additional (from their respective state budgets). The second stage (2021-2027) is now pending approval, being proposed to be financed with the astronomical figure of 13 billion euros from the EU budget. Also in this second stage, it is expected that the Member States will contribute an additional 35,600 million euros. If this second stage is finally approved, the arms industry will have been granted, between 2017 and 2027, with up to 51,000 million EU euros. Most of this money will be channeled as subsidies that industries will not have to return.
It is easy to relate these new EU policies to the fact that, for a few years now, the arms industry has been expanding its production towards security and surveillance technology.
The European defense and security industry is now profiting from European funds, and will continue doing so in the future. In addition, the results generated by the military R & D projects subsidized by the EU will be fully owned by those arms companies receiving the funds.
If the draft is finally approved, EU will finance military research with public money, and the results of this research will then be bought with public money. Intellectual property will continue in the hands of the companies that will have benefited. And probably, part of the money allocated to the defense fund will come from reductions on EU civil program funds. If the EU intends to contribute to the welfare of the citizens and to world peace, devoting so much money to the military sector is one of the worst possible options.
This is very bad news. We must act to prevent the approval of the 2021-2017 plan for financing the military industry and military research.