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The European Union is already delivering concretely on the very ambitious security and defence work, but is also looking beyond the current implementation of decisions, with a new reflection paper looking at future developments for European defence, stressed High Representative/Vice-President Federica Mogherini today at the presentation of this new document of the European Commission that is also accompanied with a proposal for setting up European Defence Fund.
"Today, the message we are passing is double, I would say. On one side, we are delivering concretely on the very ambitious decisions that we took already at 28 last autumn and we are also looking beyond the current implementation of decisions, with the reflection paper looking at the future developments that we are ready to support if the Member States decide to go further, having for the first time probably the [European] Commission clearly playing its full role in support of the ambition of the European defence," Mogherini said.
The reflection paper builds on the Commission's White Paper on the Future of Europe published in March and feeds into the ongoing public debate on this topic. The reflection paper puts forward three progressively ambitious scenarios for enhanced defence cooperation, for discussion by the member states. The scenarios range from voluntary cooperation between member states on a case-by-case basis, complemented by limited EU joint initiatives, to the establishment of a common defence policy underpinned by a greater level of integration of national defence forces, substantially enhanced coordination between the EU and NATO and a genuine European defence market.
"This work is a work on strengthening the European defence that will increase the security and the defence of European Union citizens, that is needed for the European Union security, but will also help strengthening the transatlantic alliance and responsibility sharing across the Atlantic. It is about using the full added value of the European Union for European security; and now I would say the big difference is that all the European institutions are determined to fully use it. And this again, as I said, will also strengthen NATO," the High Representative explained.
The reflection paper is complemented by concrete proposals to launch a European Defence Fund which will support more efficient spending by Member States on joint defence capabilities. Announced by President Juncker in September 2016, and backed by the European Council in December 2016, the European Defence Fund will coordinate, supplement and amplify national investments in defence research, in the development of prototypes and in the acquisition of defence equipment and technology.
Link to full remarks:
Reflection paper on the future of European Defence by 2025
European Defence Fund