MEPs push for a strong EU defence policy 

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The EU needs to apply the entire toolbox of available policy instruments to deal with today’s comprehensive security challenges, say MEPs.

While noting that the rules-based world order is currently being increasingly challenged, Foreign Affairs Committee MEPs underline in a report adopted on Monday that EU defence integration is also moving forward.

They reaffirm the importance of developing the necessary civilian and military capabilities, including through pooling and sharing, to deal with today’s security challenges, which are too vast to be successfully met by any single country on its own.

MEPs also consider that EU countries must endeavour to improve military capabilities to cover the full spectrum of land, air, space, maritime and cyber spheres, in order to make the EU’s Common Security and Defence Policy a credible force.

The way forward

The report welcomes the implementation of an inclusive Permament Structured Cooperation, the launch of the new European Defence Industrial Development Programme (EDIDP) and the creation of a dedicated title for defence in the European Commission’s proposal for the new EU long-term budget for 2021-2027.

To be able to better assess internal and external threats, there is nevertheless a clear need to invest more in intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance, satellite communications and autonomous access to space and permanent earth observation, MEPs say.

They also underline that military mobility, which is the free movement of military units and assets in Europe, is a central strategic tool in the current threat environment and vital for both the EU’s Common Security and Defence Policy and EU countries’ other multilateral obligations, including NATO.

EU-NATO relationship

The report stresses that the strategic partnership between the EU and NATO is fundamental to addressing Europe’s security challenges and underlines that EU-NATO cooperation should be complementary and guarantee full respect for the autonomy and decision-making procedures of the other.

MEPs finally call on political forces in both Europe and North America to strengthen rather than to undermine this crucial transatlantic security bond, and avoid the kind of recent difficulties as experienced in the field of trade.

Next steps

The annual report on the implementation of the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) was adopted by 40 votes to 13, and 5 abstentions. It will be voted on by the full House in December.