For the first time since the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty, the European Council of heads of state and government held a session on defence matters. European leaders want to strengthen military capabilities despite stagnating and often diminishing defence budgets. They made a commitment to buy and use in future more military equipment in common and to do this with the help of the European Defence Agency. Priority projects include observation drones, air refuelling planes, satellite communications and Internet security. Furthermore, it was decided to support defence industries through research programmes with dual use (civilian and military). Technical norms and common certification rules will be further developed to promote the creation of a European defence market. Thus, concrete but limited progress was achieved at the summit. The United Kingdom however was clearly opposed to a majority of other countries by refusing the principle of military operations under European command. Increased sharing of the financing of European operations is planned, but the French request to cover the costs of these operations through the European budget was not adopted.
Concrete but limited progress
Michel Drain, member of the French Justice and Peace Commisson |