64,743 of 100,000 signatures

European Members of Parliament and the European Council

Petition text

Halt the inclusion of arms industry research into the new EU budget. No EU money should go to military technology. Research money should go to projects developing nonviolent ways of preventing and resolving conflicts, and in particular tackling root-causes of instability.

Why is this important?

We all want to live in a peaceful world and that is why the European Union was created.

But the European Commission, under heavy pressure from the arms industry, is planning to budget thousands of millions of euros of public money to develop advanced military technology for the first time ever since the Union exists [1].

Although they are presenting this as ‘defense’, the truth is the goal of these subsidies is to preserve the competitiveness of the arms industry and its capacity to export abroad, including to countries contributing to instability and taking part in deadly conflicts, such as Saudi Arabia [2].

Last year our governments and European parliamentarians voted a €90 millions budget over 3 years to fund the military research; this year the Commission is opening access to several existing funding opportunities in favour of the arms industry and pushing for the “defence sector” to become a priority: this goes from regional funds against regional disparities, to development aid funds (to “train & equip” armies in developing countries) and even the Erasmus + programme for education, training, youth and sport, which should contribute to “defence skills”! [3]

And this is just the beginning, the long-term objective is to set up a 7 years programme worth €3.5 billion for research only, and a possible €5 billion a year common basket for the joint development and acquisition of military equipments by Member States. This will necessarily mean drastic cuts to the detriment of other spending priorities both at EU and national level. The EU insists that such funding should be added to national military spendings, and not be a substitute to them.

After several years of persistent and behind the scenes work, the arms industry lobby has rallied the support of some European countries and institutions’ officials to help them make a case for public subsidies in the form of ‘research’, and more broadly get rid of the rules limiting EU funding to civilian applications.

But we still have a chance to avoid European tax payers paying to fuel deadly conflicts. Let’s tell our governments that we want them to work for peace and not to subsidize weapons.

This campaign is run in partnership with the European Network Against Arms Trade.

References

[1] https://www.euractiv.com/section/security/news/germany-and-france-seek-stronger-eu-defence-after-brexit/

http://www.iss.europa.eu/uploads/media/GoP_report.pdf/

http://www.europarl.europa.eu/RegData/etudes/STUD/2016/535003/EXPO_STU(2016)535003_EN.pdf

[2] http://www.balkaninsight.com/en/article/making-a-killing-the-1-2-billion-euros-arms-pipeline-to-middle-east-07-26-2016

https://www.caat.org.uk/resources/export-licences-eu/export.en.html

http://www.enaat.org/news/EUfigures.shtml

(3) http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-16-4088_en.htm

http://ec.europa.eu/DocsRoom/documents/20372

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