In an appeal to Members of the European Parliament and of EU member states' parliaments, peace campaigners and the European Network Against Arms Trade, from which the Centre Delàs d'Estudis per la Pau is an active member, are calling to say 'no' to the inclusion of arms industry research into the EU budget. The parliamentarians are asked to reject the Preparatory Action (PA) on Defence research which the European Commission wants to include in the new budget line, to be discussed from next week. “Europe should support peace not subsidize weapons” according to the campaigners.
After several years of persistent and discreet work, in particular from arms industry lobby groups such as ASD, and with the support of some Member States and MEPs, the EU is only a few steps away from starting to subsidize research for arms production using European public money. A Preparatory Action (PA) on Defence research written by an advisory 'Group of Personalities', more than half of them industry representatives, is included in the 2017 draft Budget. The arms industry is advising the EU to subsidize the arms industry. The Commission already has accepted this PA and the decision is now in the hands of the European Parliament and the Member States.
So far, military goods always have been excluded from the EU budget lines. This is about to change. And it is just the beginning, as the long-term objective is to set-up a fully- fledged European Defence Research Programme worth EUR 3.5 billion over 2021-2027. The EU budget being non-extendable, this will necessarily mean drastic cuts to the detriment of other -civilian- actions. Moreover, the stated first goal of these subsidies is to preserve the competitiveness of the arms industry and its capacity to export abroad, including to countries contributing to instability and taking part to deadly conflicts, such as Saudi Arabia.
ENAAT is appealing to European and national parliamentarians and to national governments to halt the inclusion of arms industry research into the EU budget. No EU money should go to the arms industry. Research money should go to projects developing non violent ways of resolving and preventing conflicts, and in particular tackling root- causes of instability such as climate change.