Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) in a recently passed resolution have called for greater cooperation between countries in Europe to strengthen security and defense to combat an increase in terrorism, cyber threats and energy insecurity.
“Our union is not equipped to face overwhelming defense challenges,” said rapporteur Urmas Paet of Estonia. “For almost 30 years, most of its member states have been cutting their defense budgets, leading to smaller armed forces. Cooperation among member states is occasional and Europe continues to rely heavily on NATO capabilities and on the U.S. solidarity.”
The resolution suggested devoting approximately 2 percent of GDP to defense and crisis management operations while also enabling the European Union (EU) to act when NATO is unwilling to do so.
The MEPs called on EU member states to pursue joint purchases on defense resources, and to pool shares of non-lethal material such as transport vehicles or aircraft. Additionally, they suggested introducing a European defense semester, where member states could consult one another’s planning and procurement issues. Further, the MEPs advocated for strengthening the European Defense Agency’s coordination role.
In addition to pooling defense resources, the members backed a proposed EU investment in defense-related projects of more than $95 million, or 90 million euros, over the next three years. They also suggested following up that action with a separate European Defense Research Program with an annual budget of approximately $528 million, or 500 million euros.