Tuesday, February 17, 2004

EU to boost military budget

The EU is going to boost its military spending by 2 billion euro a year. Former NATO Chief George Robertson recently called the EU a "flabby giant", ill-equipped "for dealing with tomorrow’s crises." Will this new money help?

The EU may be ready to boost its spending on defence and security by as much as two billion euro a year.

According to the Independent, the plan would mean that the EU spends as much as the recently formed US Department of Homeland Security.

The plans are part of proposals which have been drawn up for Enterprise and Research Commissioners, Erkki Liikanen and Philippe Busquin.

The Independent writes that money could be pumped into intelligence sharing, surveillance and efforts to combat bio-terrorism.

The proposals also says that money should be spent on the technical backup for military operations and policing the EU’s borders.

"The main responsibility for external security will rest for the foreseeable future with member states. However, national governments will only be able to tackle the new security challenges if they combine their efforts", says the document.

The US has continuously lambasted Europe for not pulling its weight as far as security expenditure goes.

Former NATO Chief George Robertson notoriously referred to Europe as a "flabby giant" when calling on leaders to pool defence expenditure to boost its military capabilities.

"This European continent...is still a flabby giant with huge military expenditure, enormous paper armies, large amounts of equipment, all of which are completely useless for dealing with tomorrow’s crises", he remarked.


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