This week the European Parliament will be debating the general EU budget for 2017/18. The main focus of the debate is likely to be the knock-on impacts of Brexit and the falling pound, infrastructure, migration and the many other major challenges facing the continent.
Understandably, a lot of significant items are likely to be overlooked, including a crucial point, that could see the EU taking steps towards adopting an institutional military-industrial strategy. Buried within the budget is the EU’s first proposed Preparatory Action for defence research.
If the budget is agreed, this would effectively be a trial-run that would see the European Parliament subsidising military research for the first time. It would represent an important precedent. At present, the European Commission finances exclusively civilian or dual-use R&D through its €80 billion Horizon 2020 programme.