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Reinforced defence cooperation amongst the EU's Member States has become a priority in the current security environment. This is also about money, as the lack of cooperation in the field of security and defence comes with a luxury price tag: between 25 and 100 billion euro per year. More coordination at EU level would not only strengthen our capacity as Europeans to protect Europe and European citizens – it would also save billions of taxpayers' money and make the European defence industry more competitive.
In a changing security environment, a military approach alone is not sufficient to guarantee safety and stability. That is why the EU approach to security and defence is much broader. The European way to security builds on Europe’s trade-mark mixture of soft and hard power, on the coherent use of these different instruments – the so-called ''Integrated Approach'' – and on cooperation.
In recent years, the security environment has changed significantly. In addition to military challenges, the EU has seen the rise of hybrid threats on its borders. For example, cyber-attacks on government information systems or disinformation campaigns can undermine elections, aim at destabilising societies and cause serious damage. Against this background, the EU has taken action to boost its capacities as a security provider.
The security environment in and around Europe has worsened and become more complex. Threats have multiplied. Terrorism, hybrid threats, cyber-attacks or armed conflicts in Europe and our neighbourhood can have a direct impact on the security of European citizens. When it comes to security the core interests of all EU Member States are inseparably linked. Today’s threats do not know borders and no EU Member State can tackle them alone. A European Union that protects is what citizens expect the EU and all Member States to deliver.
The goal of a world free of chemical weapons is one the EU is upholding through its support to the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW). The EU has just agreed to continue its funding of the OPCW with €11.6 million over the next three years. The OPCW's mission is to implement the provisions of the Chemical Weapons Convention to achieve a world free of chemical weapons and to address the threat of their use. The work of the Hague-based organisation has been recognised with the Nobel Peace Prize in 2013.