Macron criticised over push for EU army by Italian MEP
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A German MEP will file a lawsuit at the country’s Federal Constitutional Court, challenging the legality of the £6.9 billion European Defence Fund. Ozlem Demirel, of The Left group in the European Parliament, will argue that the cash pot is in breach of the EU’s governing treaties. She said: “The EDF is clearly not only a breach of the EU treaties but is a fundamental violation of the so-called EU peace project that will only benefit the arms industry.
“Throwing billions into the arms industry is politically wrong, not least because this money could be used to tackle the economic, ecological and social crisis. Instead, we’re developing equipment to fuel violence and war.”
Ms Demirel will argue that there is a “lack of transparency and lack of oversight by Parliament” across several stages of the fund.
Worth around £6.9 billion, the EDF is designed to be the EU’s first attempt at large-scale funding into military projects directly from the bloc’s budget.
It could aid the design and manufacture of dangerous new weapons systems, such as AI-supported armaments, future combat air systems and even a Eurodrone, according to Ms Demirel.
The German believes the EDF was introduced to “circumvent Article 41(2) of the Treaty on the European Union”.
The clause is meant to prohibit “expenditure arising from operations having military or defence implications” from the EU budget.
Ms Demirel will argue that the European Commission has developed the EDF as a “trick” by earmarking funds for promoting competition and industrial policy.
In 2018, The Left’s predecessor party – GUE/NGL – released an expert legal opinion of the EDF, which claims the fund is a “manifest violation” of the EU’s treaties.
Professor-Doctor Andreas Fischer-Lescano, of the University of Bremen, claimed the European Commission’s defence of the war chest “do not constitute a sufficient legal basis for the establishment of the European Defence Fund”.
He added: “Since the establishment of the EDF evidently violates key competence provisions in EU law and thereby the principle of conferral of powers in Article 23 of the Basic Law, the Federal Constitutional Court can also be seized with an ultra vires objection by way of a dispute between organs of the state or a constitutional complaint.
“Summary proceedings are also possible before the Federal Constitutional Court, aiming at obliging the German representation in the Council to reject the proposal for a regulation and to take further measures against the establishment of an EDF.”
The EU, supported by France and Germany, has long wanted to bolster its powers abroad.
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The idea is to increase the bloc’s economic and diplomatic influence with a dose of “hard power”.
Supporters say 27 militaries operating separately is inefficient and measures should to introduced to benefit the European arms industry by providing research and development funds and new outlets for arms sales overseas.
German MEP Michael Gahler told the Guardian last month: “The challenges are coming closer and they are getting more diverse, especially in areas where the Americans tell Europeans: ‘Hey! Care for your own back yard’.”
EU military research began in 2014, when the Parliament approved a £1.2 million pilot project.
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This paved the way for a host of other experiments, including the EU providing more than £430 million to military research projects between 2017 and 2020.
Investments were made in quantum technologies, artificial intelligence, “directed energy” weapons, “adaptive camouflage” and “real-time cyber threat hunting”.
The European Commission hopes the EU’s defence fund could be used to help develop drone technologies, “ground-based precision striking capabilities” and a new generation of ground, air and naval combat platforms.
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