144,271 of 175,000 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; and this was just the beginning:

The Commission has been pushing for the “defence sector” to become a priority in existing funding opportunities, from the structural and regional funds to development aid, including the Erasmus programme for education, training, youth and sport - which should now contribute to “defence skills”! [3]

On June 7, the Commision launched the European Defence Fund [4], under which it proposes to dedicate an extra €500 million from the EU budget for research and development by the arms industry in 2019-2020 [5]. What is more, from 2021 this contribution would go up to €1.5 billion every year. This is going much further than what was presented in November 2016 [6].

This Fund will also include national contributions up to €4 billion per year in a common basket to fund the last step of the process: the joint development and acquisition of military equipments by Member States. The Commission proposes that national contributions to this Fund should be excluded from the 3% deficit threshold that Member States have to respect. A privilege not granted to education, health or environment investments.

All these measures will 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.

It is clear that 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. Our governments and MEPs will have to approve this draft law in the months to come. Let’s tell them 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.


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



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



[3] http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-16-4088_en.htm

[4] http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-17-1508_en.htm

[5] Proposal for Regulation establishing the European Defence Industrial Development Programme aiming at supporting the competitiveness and innovative capacity of the EU (COM(2017)294)

[6] European Defence Action plan of 30 November 2016

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