SP: ‘No extra billion for European militarisation’

23 June 2005

SP: ‘No extra billion for European militarisation’

Today the SP delegation in the European Parliament voted against the proposal to add at least a billion euros a year to the military research budget. SP Euro-MP Erik Meijer said that “Europe is already far too militarised. This attempt to keep up with US defence production is an arms race which we should not begin.”

The proposal also refers to the constitution, which provided for a European minister of foreign affairs who would be responsible for coordinating defence and security issues. At the same time the constitution talked about establishing a Committee for internal strategy as part of the Council and would have greatly increased the EU's powers in relation to defence. As Mr Meijer pointed out, however, “That constitution is dead. The militarisation of Europe played an important role in the No campaign. It's a bit of a cheek, then, after the massive rejection of this constitution, to carry on as if nothing has happened and continue arming Europe.”

Erik MeijerThe proposal states that from 2007 onwards at least a billion euros more per year must be spent on military research. In addition, some of the resources now given over to civil research must be transferred to the military sector. Erik Meijer: “In the committee which wrote this proposal, twelve of the total of twenty members have backgrounds in the industry and in the world of research. Two representatives of ministries of defence were also present. No wonder that they concluded that more money should go to the army. The proposal also states explicitly that its goal is the improvement of the competitiveness of the European defence industry.”

Part of the argument in favour of devoting more money to armaments is that the EU lags behind America. Meijer's response is clear: “This wouldn't even start to close that gap. The Americans spend around five times as much on defence research as does Europe! We shouldn't, moreover, be following in their footsteps. In the present difficult economic circumstances Europe can find much better ways to spend our money.”

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