EUROPEAN ELECTIONS 2024 : Strengthening Europe’s defence industry as a priority for the Liberals

EUROPEAN ELECTIONS 2024 : Strengthening Europe’s defence industry as a priority for the Liberals

Of the 10 points in the Renew Europe Liberals’ programme, strengthening defence is ranked first. The party has also published a separate paper calling for “a stronger European defence”.

In particular, Renew MEPs stress the need to “strengthen [Europe’s] defence capabilities, from research to military cooperation”. The aim is threefold: to help Ukraine, strengthen European defence, and provide jobs and innovation.

To achieve this, the EU must “spend more, better and together”. For that, they welcome the European Defence Industry Strategy (EDIS) proposed by the European Commission this spring.

The proposals put forward to achieve this include purchasing in priority European products, ensuring better access to public and private investment for EU based companies, and opening up the financing of the European Investment Bank (EIB).

The Liberals take up Commissioner Thierry Breton’s idea of creating a European fund of 100 billion euros to “strengthen the long-term competitiveness and readiness of the European Defence Technological and Industrial Base (EDTIB)”.

Emphasis is also placed on the need to prevent dependence and ensure strategic autonomy, especially for technologies “essential to Europe’s ability to act and prosperity”. In the face of hybrid threats, Renew Europe advocates mutual defence agreements between Member States and the strengthening of the EU’s StratCom (Strategic Communications) Task Force.

More generally, the programme stresses the need for the 27 to better cooperation on intelligence sharing.

The Liberals also call on more efforts to foster a proper European defence identity and increase the resilience of European societies.

They propose the creation of a pan-European youth training programme focusing on civil protection and preparedness for all kinds of disasters, and military attacks.

They also want to see changes within the European institutions, and stand in favour of the creation of a dedicated Defence Commissioner position in the next European Commission’s college.

“Gradually switching to qualified majority voting” in the EU Council for decisions relating to foreign and security policy (with the exception of CSDP missions and operations with an executive mandate) is also a key point of their manifesto.

Within the European Parliament, the group is calling for the “creation of a fully-fledged Security and Defence Committee“.

Read Renew Europe’s priorities and Defence policy