Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Fine Gael and EPP beat the drums

Europe should create a civilian and military crisis operations HQ under EU command, according to a report by centre-right members of the EU Parliament.
The proposal, contained in a policy paper by deputies of the European People’s Party, of which Fine Gael is a member, says that “heads of state and government have to start building stand-by forces under Union command.” It calls for EU leaders to commit themselves to defining the union’s security interests, giving priority to its strategic objectives and linking these with operational deployments. This should include a definition of European defence interests and its geographical priority zones.
Launching the paper, Michael Gahler, Arnaud Danjean and Krzysztof Lisek stated that “deepening the EU’s security and defence co- operation will help slash procurement costs and allow the EU to react faster to international crises.”
Leaders will debate the idea of EU-level military integration at a summit in December.
Enda Kenny is a vice- president of the European People’s Party, and Fine Gael has been selected to host the congress to launch the election campaign of the EPP. The congress will take
place in Dublin on 6 and 7 March 2014 at the Dublin Convention Centre. Two thousand delegates are expected from member-parties throughout the EU.
The EPP is the largest political grouping at the EU level, with thirteen heads of government,
thirteen members of the EU Commission, the largest group in the EU Parliament, and seventy-three member-parties in forty countries.
Meanwhile a report by the European Commission in July warned that the bloc’s military strength was diluted by overlapping capacities and defence procurement at the national level. In a nod to this, the EPP described it as an “unacceptable situation to have 10 different versions of one European attack helicopter or to have six different versions of one European military transport aircraft.”
The Commission’s “ideas paper,” also designed to feed into the summit talks, called on member-states to review national defence capabilities and to identify the hardware needed for the protection of EU countries’ interests.
Between them, EU governments spent €194 billion on defence in 2011 (down from €251 billion in 2001). Defence R&D spending was €9 billion. 

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