May 9: Actions Against The Militarization of Europe
On May 9, Europe Day of Peace and Unity, we organised online actions to protest the militarization of Europe, together with ENAAT and the Transnational Institute (TNI) and other European friends and partners. We took action to protest military spending levels in Europe, which have increased a 13% in the last year, as well as recently aproved EU defence policies, which have pushed for a 183% increase in the EU military budget.
On Europe Day, which celebrates peace and unity, we call the EU to revert back to its initial aim: preserving and promoting peace through non-violent means and political cooperation, making war ‘not merely unthinkable but materially impossible’ (Schuman Declaration). Today however, the EU is on a very different path. From 2017 to 2022, aggregated military spending of EU countries rose by 23%, according to SIPRI. Adding UK’s military spending makes EU countries the world’s second largest military spender after the US and before China. For example, in 2017, the EU crossed a red line when for the first time in history it used its budget for military purposes, starting with half a billion € over 3 years and now exceeding 10 billion € for the period 2021-2027. In 2022 its military budget increased by 183%.
Its position in regards to the war in Ukraine is also proof of these militaristic policies: the EU has disregarded any attempt at mediation or peace negotiations, and spent at least €3.11 billion in delivering arms to Ukraine, twice as much as it has spent on humanitarian aid.
#EuropeDay marks 73 years since the Schumann declaration, which envisaged a Europe where war would be ‘not merely unthinkable but materially impossible’. Over 70 years later EU military spending is at its highest, yet we are further from peace than ever before.
As a bloc, EU member states, together with Norway and the UK are the second largest military spenders globally, after the US. Instead of investing in arms and fanning the flames of war, Europe must demilitarise public policy and prioritise peace. TNI
9 May 1950: Schuman proposed pulling coal & steel production to avoid arms race and war in Europe. Today: EU dedicates billions to fund the arms industry, develop next generation of weaponry and ramp-up ammunition production.
EU militarisation is subsidising the arms industry, exacerbating the global arms race and preparing the wars of the future. We need mutual trust, diplomacy and cooperation, not another hard power. ENAAT
To know more about EU militarisation and how it all started, read our booklet for Rosa Luxemburg, available here in EN, FR, DE, ES & IT
You can download our GDAMS infographics here.