The European Network Against the Arms Trade (ENAAT) has released a position paper and online information tool, outlining the network's view on the key decisions the European Parliament will take on the European Industrial Defence Programme in the coming weeks and months. The European Defence Industrial Programme (EDIDP), a component of the European Defence Fund, would see €500 million of the EU budget diverted. The 19 members of ENAAT across Europe and a growing number of citizens are concerned that such a proposal will merely profit arms industry economic interests and aggravate the international turmoil rather than contribute to peace.
This network has also developed an online tool, which aims to provide information and critical analysis about recent developments to divert EU funding to Research & Development (R&D*) projects in ‘defence’. You can explore this tool here: http://enaat.org/eu-defence-fund
The network criticises the process of reviewing and developing the proposals, arguing that the peace community has been kept out of discussions in favour of lobbyists from the arms industry, and more neutral groups providing important figures and statistics, but no critical analysis. ENAAT is concerned that “the arms industry is to receive a privileged treatment from the EU on top of the important public support already granted at national level”. This support comes in the form of extra funding despite other new funding areas being rejected, and that companies will have easier access to this money than many NGOs and human rights organisations do to EU funding streams.
In the paper, ENAAT also raises the issue of how supporting the arms trade will exacerbate conflict around the world, as companies develop new technology for export – indeed, export beyond the EU is described as a “positive effect” in the EDIDP. In 2015, 40% of authorised EU defence licenses were to countries in the Middle East, where weapons made in the European Union are being used to exacerbate conflict and commit human rights abuses, such as those currently taking place in Yemen.
You can read the full position paper online here: http://enaat.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/ENAAT-Position-Paper-on-EDIDP_dec2017_FINAL.pdf