ASAP: sacrificing social rights for weapons industry spending spree
Today, Members of the European Parliament voted to fast-track the Act in Support of Ammunition Production. The law earmarks €500 million of EU funds to subsidise the arms industry – an industry that’s seen its stock prices soar since Russia invaded Ukraine.
Left MEP, Marc Botenga (PTB/PVDA, Belgium) said: “Commissioner Breton wants to give huge amounts of taxpayers’ money to extremely profitable multinational companies but refuses any democratic debate. The proposal goes beyond supporting Ukraine and contributes to the creation of a European network of arms producers, a proper EU military-industrial complex.”
Under the proposal, the Commission wants to produce 1 million rounds of ammunition. To fund this war machine, it proposes to divert much needed funds designed to help in the post-Covid economic recovery and assist the green transition.
At a time when many people in Europe are struggling to make ends meet, investing public money and EU cohesion funds in the arms industry is unfathomable. A paradigm shift is needed, the super profits made by arms industries should be taxed and companies subsidised with taxpayers’ money should not pay out dividends to shareholders.
“Our public services are underfunded throughout the continent. Rather than transforming Europe into a ‘war economy’, we need social investment. Let’s launch an ambitious diplomatic initiative based on the respect of international law, in order to put an end to the atrocious war in Ukraine”, Botenga continued.
The Act also explicitly undermines workers’ rights. Article 18 of the Act proposes to bypass the Working Time Directive, which imposes minimum daily and weekly rest periods, annual leave, breaks, maximum weekly working time and night work. According to Botenga, the proposal “sacrifices social rights for militarisation, giving a free pass to industry to introduce working weeks of over 48 hours.”
Finally, the Treaty for the European Union, article 41.2 prohibits “expenditure arising from operations having military or defence implications” from being charged to the EU budget. Labelling this Act as an industrial project, the Commission seeks to deliberately circumvent these provisions.
The Act in Support of Ammunition Production will be voted on in the mini-plenary of the European Parliament in the May II session (31 May/1 June).
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