Chris Jones

Researcher and journalist based in London

Hard power: Europe’s military drift causes alarm


The EU was awarded the Nobel peace prize in 2012 in recognition of “six decades of promoting peace and reconciliation” in Europe. In his acceptance speech in Oslo, the then president of the European Commission, José Manuel Barroso, said the world could “count on our efforts to fight for lasting peace, freedom and justice”.

Yet less than a decade on, the EU is taking two big steps to bolster its defence capacity and engage in military conflicts through training and equipping governments outside the bloc. In the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic these developments have slipped under the radar, but they represent a significant expansion in security policy with wide-ranging consequences.

An €8bn (£6.9bn) European defence fund (EDF), aimed at developing and acquiring new weapons and technology for militaries within the EU and abroad, was agreed last December. The EU also recently launched the European peace facility (EPF), a mechanism that will boost the bloc’s ability to provide training and equipment – including, for the first time, weapons – to non-European military forces around the world.

Full story here.

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