A vote by MEPs on the Committee on Foreign Affairs (AFET) for the militarisation of the EU’s main tool for contributing to peace and stability in third countries has been condemned by GUE/NGL’s Shadow Rapporteur Sabine Lösing as farcical, morally bankrupt and ‘a quantum leap in the militarisation of the EU’.

In addition, an extra 100 million euros has been earmarked to meet its objective.

The AFET vote on the amendment to opening up the Instrument contributing to Stability and Peace (IcSP) for military use covers security initiatives, peace-building activities and crisis response, preparedness and prevention in so-called partner countries.

Armed with a 2.3 billion euros budget covering the 2014-2020 cycle for this Instrument, the additional 100 million euros approved today will be used in ‘exceptional circumstances’ to ‘help build the capacity of the military in partner countries’.

The trialogue will start later this year if there is no objection at the September plenary session in Strasbourg.

Commenting on the outcome of the vote, Lösing said:

“This amendment opens the door to arming, providing equipment and training for military actors in third countries – and there remains considerable legal concerns about this decision.”
“Article 41 (2) of the Lisbon Treaty specifically prohibits the use of the EU budget for military purposes. For me, today’s decision is a morally bankrupt declaration and a quantum leap in the militarisation of the EU. We need to examine the details carefully and give due diligence to its workings,” she continued.

“As to what the Commission means specifically by military support under ‘exceptional circumstances’, unfortunately that remains to be seen in the upcoming trialogue. Right now, the motto seems to be to shoot first then worry about the consequences later,” the German MEP said.

“Today’s vote was a complete farce. All critical amendments were rejected. At first glance, it is good that some of the money will not be diverted from the development aid budget. However, the Commission’s proposal paves the way for the military use of this Instrument. Some questionable projects like border controls have already been financed by this Instrument, for example.”

“But what is its ultimate aim? It is about more military spending out of the EU budget and on bending and breaking the rules. It’s about a frightening shift from civilian matters towards rapid militarisation at an unprecedented speed. If we hadn’t been able to table a minority report to make our position clear, we would have had no opportunity whatsoever to publicly voice our objection to these plans,” Lösing said. 

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