• arms export,
  • arms trade,
  • EU army,
  • Militarisation,
  • NATO

Left parliamentarians from across Europe have renewed their call for a break with the current logic of using militarisation in the EU and instead work towards a bloc-wide social security.

Attending the Inter-Parliamentary Conference for the Common Foreign And Security Policy and the Common Security and Defence Policy was GUE/NGL’s Sabine Lösing (DIE LINKE., Germany), who was in Vienna to scrutinise EU foreign affairs and defence policy with representatives from both national and EU parliaments.

Also in the Austrian capital were Cypriot MP Aristos Damianou (AKEL), German MP Tobias Pflüger (DIE LINKE.) and Greek MPs Costas Douzinas and Nikolaos Toskas (SYRIZA).

Commenting on the conference, Sabine Lösing said:

“The EU uses all available means, from trade to military, to aggressively assert its geopolitical influence and economic interests.

“With such a policy, tensions and conflicts can be further fuelled. It focuses on isolation, militarisation and a political and military core Europe – not consensus and conflict prevention. We think with multilateral cooperation, peaceful and diplomatic conflict resolution, with solidary and fair economic relations, with a policy that focuses on reconciling interests instead of aggressively asserting interests, international conflicts would be defused.”

“For this to happen, the EU must reflect and re-think on its own role and refrain from its own escalating action.” she said

Along with Tobias Pflüger, the two German parliamentarians added:

“This also includes the use of EU funds for foreign policy. It is breaking all taboos that the post-2020 MFF should now have the new budget heading for ‘Security and Defence’. Not only does the use of EU money for military and armament violates Article 41(2), but it also fuels the development of the EU into a military union. It is precisely because of programmes like EDIDP and its successor, the European Defence Fund, as well as the establishment of PESCO etc that the EU is moving further and further away from what it is supposedly to stand for: peace, democracy, human rights and diplomatic conflict resolution.”

“PESCO has turned the EU into a de facto defence union, and is already overturning the Council’s consensus rule. Further, the PESCO Council Decision contains the obligation to ‘regularly increase real defence budgets’. With the now proposed European Security Council and qualified majority decisions in the Council basic democratic principles will be completely lost and a core Europe, a Europe of elites, will decide on war and peace. That is what we deeply reject,” they added.

“We recall that the setting-up of the new heading V on ‘Security and Defence’, the EU defence research programme (EDIDP), the European Defence Fund and Military Mobility clearly violate the provisions laid down in Article 41(2)TEU, which states that any expenditure arising from actions having military or defence implications must not be charged to the Union budget. We denounce and deeply deplore the unprecedented speed with which the EU is being militarised and insists that the EU and its member states should work for peace and focus on diplomatic and peaceful conflict resolution,” Lösing and Pflüger said.

Cypriot MP Aristos Damianou also commented:

“This trend of increasing military expenditure cannot go on. The EU’s global role should not be based on a CFSP/CSDP focused on more military capabilities or ‘solutions’. The EU has another role to play in order to improve its credibility: a more active and leading role in conflict resolution. But to do so we need a fundamental redirection of EU policies.”

“What is needed is more democracy, respect for international law and good neighbourly relations. Furthermore, we need an EU that serves the interests of the people of Europe instead of those of the multinational capital, including those of the military industry.”

Finally, Greek MPs Costas Douzinas and Nikolaos Toskas said:

“The fact is that yet again the conference will not have a proper political debate on the many issues put on the agenda and will not vote on a set of conclusions. These conferences are gradually becoming a discussion amongst technocrats, who offer a skewered approach to the questions of European Foreign Affairs and Defence.”

“It was characteristic that at the Vienna conference the issue of refugees and migrants was discussed exclusively as a question of control of external borders, of increase in power and resources of FRONTEX and not as a political issue with major repercussions for the future of the Union. A more rounded approach is necessary, which sees the migration issue as one of fair burden sharing and of offering migrants and refugees a dignified life. European states should resettle refugees proportionately to their population and GDP as the European Commission and the ECJ have decided. The attitude of some member states towards refugees has contributed to the rise of extreme right wing xenophobia and racism and threatens the future of the Union,” they said.

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