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    Agata Gostyńska-Jakubowska talks to TOK FM about the forthcoming UK elections and Brexit.

    17 May 2017

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    John Springford talks to Matthew Goodwin, Paul Whiteley and Florence Faucher on the reasons the UK voted to leave, how these political trends played out in the French elections, and lessons for the EU 27. 

    John Springford, Matthew Goodwin, Paul Whiteley and Florence Faucher
    23 May 2017

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    Simon Tilford and John Springford lay out in detail how leaving the EU without a deal would damage the British economy.

    05 June 2017

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    Email subject 
    #AskCER: Is the new European defence fund a game-changer for EU defence?
    Email preview addresses 
    anna@cer.org.uk
    Email teaser 
    Is the new European defence fund a game-changer for EU defence?
    Email body 

    The European Commission today launched the European Defence Fund: for the first time, EU budget money will be used to strengthen EU defence. The member-states do not spend enough on defence, and procurement is inefficient: governments buy 80 per cent of their equipment from companies based in their own countries. And their spending on defence R&D is at its lowest level in a decade. The Commission plans to use the EU budget to incentivise member-states to spend more while also working together.

    The European Defence Fund consists of three elements.

    First, from 2020 the Commission wants to spend €500 million a year on defence research. That will make EU investment larger than that of most individual member-states. Until then, the Commission plans to spend a total of €90 million over the next three years. It has allocated €25 million for 2017 already. Crucially, only collaborative projects that involve at least three member-states will be eligible to receive EU research funding.

    Second, the Commission aims to provide €500 million from 2019, rising to €1 billion from 2020, in co-financing for new military prototypes, taking on 20 per cent of the member-states’ financial burden in the development phase. Member-states must commit to procuring the resulting system at the end of the project. Only projects involving at least three companies from at least two member-states will be eligible. The Commission hopes that if it provides seed money, that will incentivise member-states to invest larger sums: Commission Vice-President Katainen said today that he expects each euro of EU investment to bring in five euros from national governments for new joint projects

    The third element of the Defence Fund has no direct budgetary implications, but rather aims to provide practical legal and financial advice to help countries jointly procure capabilities.

    The European Defence Fund is just one initiative of many the EU is pursuing to strengthen its common defence policy. The Commission is also offering countries that in the future might participate in permanent structured co-operation (PESCO – a kind of ‘defence eurozone’ that allows a subset of the EU’s 27 members to work together more closely) a 10 per cent bonus on EU co-financing of joint capabilities.

    What does this mean for NATO? The EU is keen to stress that these initiatives do not undermine or duplicate NATO. NATO certainly benefits from a stronger European defence industry and more European defence spending. But the two organisations will have to co-ordinate their defence planning efforts. Recent developments are promising: later this week a joint implementation report on NATO-EU co-operation will be published.

    Finally, what does this fund mean for the UK? Only member-states have access to EU budget funding. Unless Britain can negotiate a special status post-Brexit, UK defence industries will miss out on resources and might not be eligible to participate in future EU defence capability projects. Given the size and sophistication of the UK defence sector, that would be a loss for both sides.

    As always, the success of the Commission’s initiatives ultimately depends on the political will of member-states to follow up. But for the first time in the defence field the Commission has proposed to put its money where its mouth is.

    Sophia Besch is a research fellow at the Centre for European Reform.

    Email dispatch list 
    ALL-PUBLICATIONS
    Email sender email 
    mailing@cer.org.uk
    Email sender name 
    Centre for European Reform

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    Email subject 
    #AskCER: Is the new European defence fund a game-changer for EU defence? Sophia Besch answers
    Email preview addresses 
    anna@cer.org.uk
    Email teaser 
    Is the new European defence fund a game-changer for EU defence? Sophia Besch answers
    Email body 

    The European Commission today launched the European Defence Fund: for the first time, EU budget money will be used to strengthen EU defence. The member-states do not spend enough on defence, and procurement is inefficient: governments buy 80 per cent of their equipment from companies based in their own countries. And their spending on defence R&D is at its lowest level in a decade. The Commission plans to use the EU budget to incentivise member-states to spend more while also working together.

    The European Defence Fund consists of three elements.

    First, from 2020 the Commission wants to spend €500 million a year on defence research. That will make EU investment larger than that of most individual member-states. Until then, the Commission plans to spend a total of €90 million over the next three years. It has allocated €25 million for 2017 already. Crucially, only collaborative projects that involve at least three member-states will be eligible to receive EU research funding.

    Second, the Commission aims to provide €500 million from 2019, rising to €1 billion from 2020, in co-financing for new military prototypes, taking on 20 per cent of the member-states’ financial burden in the development phase. Member-states must commit to procuring the resulting system at the end of the project. Only projects involving at least three companies from at least two member-states will be eligible. The Commission hopes that if it provides seed money, that will incentivise member-states to invest larger sums: Commission Vice-President Katainen said today that he expects each euro of EU investment to bring in five euros from national governments for new joint projects

    The third element of the Defence Fund has no direct budgetary implications, but rather aims to provide practical legal and financial advice to help countries jointly procure capabilities.

    The European Defence Fund is just one initiative of many the EU is pursuing to strengthen its common defence policy. The Commission is also offering countries that in the future might participate in permanent structured co-operation (PESCO – a kind of ‘defence eurozone’ that allows a subset of the EU’s 27 members to work together more closely) a 10 per cent bonus on EU co-financing of joint capabilities.

    What does this mean for NATO? The EU is keen to stress that these initiatives do not undermine or duplicate NATO. NATO certainly benefits from a stronger European defence industry and more European defence spending. But the two organisations will have to co-ordinate their defence planning efforts. Recent developments are promising: later this week a joint implementation report on NATO-EU co-operation will be published.

    Finally, what does this fund mean for the UK? Only member-states have access to EU budget funding. Unless Britain can negotiate a special status post-Brexit, UK defence industries will miss out on resources and might not be eligible to participate in future EU defence capability projects. Given the size and sophistication of the UK defence sector, that would be a loss for both sides.

    As always, the success of the Commission’s initiatives ultimately depends on the political will of member-states to follow up. But for the first time in the defence field the Commission has proposed to put its money where its mouth is.

    Sophia Besch is a research fellow at the Centre for European Reform.

    Email dispatch list 
    CER-LIST-a0424000007YdkXAAS
    Email sender email 
    mailing@cer.org.uk
    Email sender name 
    Centre for European Reform

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    Agata Gostyńska-Jakubowska talks to TVN 24 Bis about the UK elections and Brexit.

    08 June 2017

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    Agata Gostyńska-Jakubowska talks to TOK FM about the UK elections.

    08 June 2017

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    Agata Gostyńska-Jakubowska talks to Deursche Welle Poliski about the rights of Poles living in Great Britain.

    09 June 2017

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    Sophia Besch talks to Radio 4 about the standing of the German army in Germany and its relationship with the public (from 02.30).

    12 June 2017

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    John Springford, director of research at the CER, talks to PBS Newshour about the UK election result and what this means for Brexit negotiations with the EU.

    09 June 2017