Leading EPP Group Members in the European Parliament's Subcommittee on Security and Defence (SEDE) today issued a call for a complete overhaul of the EU's defence policy. In a joint policy paper made public today, the EPP Group Coordinator in the SEDE Committee and European Parliament Rapporteur on defence policy, Michael Gahler MEP (Germany), Subcommittee Chairman Arnaud Danjean MEP (France) and Vice-Chairman Krzysztof Lisek MEP (Poland) demanded a comprehensive defence review at EU level with the aim of pooling key defence procurement projects by Member States and establishing a permanent EU civilian and military headquarters with its own chain of command. They also call for an EU White Paper defining the EU's key security and defence priorities as well as for the establishment of a genuine common market for defence procurement. Their position paper represents an important parliamentary contribution to the debate on the future of the EU's security and defence policy which will be the key topic at the December European Council.
"Deepening the EU's security and defence co-operation will help slash procurement costs and allow the EU to react faster to international crises. Our aim is a security and defence policy that is cheaper for the taxpayer and more efficient at the same time", Gahler, Danjean and Lisek said. "We need nothing less than a complete overhaul to bring Europe’s security and defence policy into the 21st Century and make sure the European Union is equipped for the international challenges it faces despite the budget cuts we have seen at national level".
The goals and policy steps formulated in today's policy paper include:
- A comprehensive defence review to provide an overview of national defence capabilities and future projects;
- Establishing a better link between civilian and military capabilities and personnel for EU missions;
- Setting up permanent EU headquarters for civilian and military missions;
- Defining the EU's security and defence priorities by launching an EU White Paper;
- Creating a genuine defence equipment market by abolishing exemptions from internal market rules.
Next steps: Mid-September, the EPP Group will organise a meeting with Claude-France Arnould, Chief Executive of the European Defence Agency, on ‘The Preparations of the EU Summit on Security and Defence’. The European Parliament's Rapporteur on the European defence base, Michael Gahler MEP, will present his Report to the Subcommittee on Security and Defence in September. The Report is due to be adopted before the December European Council, dedicated to CSDP issues.