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The European Union opens the door to send weapons for outside missions

Brussels raises a scheme to finance military operations in third countries

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The European Union opens the door to send weapons for outside missions

Europe is about to banish one of taboos that have so far limited its external action. The EU's diplomatic arm proposes to intervene more actively in conflicts affecting continent, with possibility of sending armaments to third countries. Now Community Club can advise and train foreign troops with which to establish agreements, but not supply m with material directly. In order to circumvent se obstacles, Brussels has designed an instrument outside common budget that will finance so-called peace missions with a budget of 10.5 billion euros for seven years.

The European Treaty expressly prohibits earmarking of EU money for projects "having military or defence implications". The European Commission has already managed to circumvent that barrier with creation of defence fund that will invest 13 billion euros in period 2021-2027 in military research and equipment development (not buying effectively). To deliver — if Member States believe it is necessary — defensive material to forces from or countries, Brussels has opted for a mechanism based on national contributions, called European peace instrument. States will contribute in terms of ir economy.

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"We need to be able to act more effectively. In Sahel, for example, economic developments are complex because of lack of security. It is a vicious circle and we must solve it, "said Thursday High Representative for European foreign policy, Federica Mogherini. The head of diplomacy turned to clearest example that Brussels has to illustrate that lack of means. The EU already finances so-called G5, a force that brings toger five Sahel countries to stabilize region. Europe also manages a mission of its own established in one of those states, Mali, but its function is only of training. The current veto of sending armaments greatly limits possibilities of action.

Decision of States

Aware that this ambition to gain military weight abroad worries some Member States, Brussels has preferred not to specify in proposal what type of material can be supplied. "It is open, will be studied on a case-by-case basis and will always be subject to approval of Council [represents countries]. The objective is to be able to send necessary material, with all precautions, "explains a high community charge.

The EU already has a non-budget instrument to support peacekeeping operations. But it only allows to act in Africa and always with help of some regional partner.

If approved by States, this leap forward will place EU under same conditions of external assistance as NATO, which lacks obstacles in type of transferable material (although it is always part of foreign assistance missions). With increasing instability in all European neighborhoods and loss of confidence in Donald Trump's American leadership, EU has been trying for many months to increase its common military muscle. The tool of peace is last example of this strategy.

Brussels tries to calm America's suspicions

While reinforcing its defence, EU is trying to placate suspicions it generates in NATO (particularly in US) that attempt to boost European industry. The branch commissioner, Elzbieta Bienkowska, met this Thursday with ambassadors of 29 countries that are part of alliance to explain details of this instrument, which excludes foreign companies (including Americans) from financing European, as country advanced last Monday. The US Representative was concerned about being outside a programme that would cover up to 30 per cent of military developments involving at least three companies in three Member States. The collaboration of foreign firms will be residual.

The Commissioner argued that this is European money aimed at dynamizing sector in Europe, explains sources familiar with this meeting, which, despite everything, was not particularly tense.


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