European Union gives €2 billion to private security firms, with no control over how it is used.
Socialist Party MEP Paul Murphy spoke today in the European Parliament, questioning Maire Geoghegan-Quinn about the proposed funding to “Security Research” in Horizon 2020 (amounting to a total of €2 billion), the new EU Framework Research Programme, and detailed how the current funding has been given to two Israeli arms companies complicit in the oppression of the Palestinians. In the course of the exchange, Commissioner Geoghegan Quinn admitted that funding from taxpayers may end up being used for military ends by the major armaments companies. Commissioner Geoghegan-Quinn responded by explaining that although the funds are provided to civilian security firms, the European Union has no control over how these funds are used once in the hands of these firms.
“I think it’s important to realise that the areas in which research funding is provided is civilian in nature at all times. That does not mean of course, however, that funding which is given aspects of security may not be used in any other ways, but we don’t have control over that. What we have control over is the fact that we fund the civilian dimension or aspect in this policy area.”
Paul Murphy responded by expanding the question over militarisation, pointing out that this €2 billion is only part of a wider move towards increased armament spending. The Irish presidency of the European Union states that it will work with European External Action Service, EEAS, to improve and develop the European Unions ability to project its geo-political control, as reinforcement of the Common Security and Defence Policy, and furthermore, will work intimately with the European Defense Agency. These two statements by the Irish Presidency completely illegitimates any sense of neutrality which the Irish Government may have been able to claim in the past. Paul Murphy also made it clear that in reality, because the EU has no control over how the funds are used once in the hands of private security firms, it will be used to create more weapons of terror and oppression. Currently, the European Union funds do go to private security firms, funds which often go to building indiscriminate killing weapons and the infamous apartheid wall in Israel.
“This is quite an incredible admission of the truth by the European Commission. That truth is that European taxpayer funding is currently going to fund major armaments companies, including those like Elbit Systems and Israel Aerospace Industries which are involved in the construction of Israel’s apartheid wall and supply the drones and warplanes used to terrorise the Palestinian people. Under Horizon 2020, yet more funding will go to these merchants of death.”
“The €2 billion in funding for security in Horizon 2020 is only part of the militarisation agenda being driven by the Commission and Council. The Programme of the Irish Presidency explicitly says that: ‘Ireland will work closely with the EEAS in further developing deployable military capabilities in support of the Common Security and Defence Policy’ and commits to ‘work closely with the European Defence Agency’. This co-ordination of the process of militarisation makes a mockery of any semblance of neutrality.”
The European Union must end its funding for these firms. Taxpayers money is being used to develop even more deadlier weapons such as drones, which are responsible for the deaths of thousands of children the world over. The €2 billion in funding must be taken out of the Horizon 2020 plan, as it will only be used to further divide the people of the Middle East, and any other potential areas of conflict which may emerge. The process of militarisation being carried out by the Irish Presidency and the EU should be put to a stop. This €2 billion must be used to invest in a jobs scheme, bringing employment rather than devastation. The private security firms have to be taken into democratic control, and the industry used not to create weapons, but to benefit the lives of ordinary people, by creating socially important and environmentally friendly innovations. The pursuit of profits for the richest 1% at any cost, in this case the profiteering of war, must be cast aside and replaced with a system that benefits the 99%.