WETHEN, 13 July 2018 – The European Union’s proposed budget priorities are driving it further away from its origins as a project of peace and reconciliation and towards a predominantly military alliance focused on controlling its borders, says the European ecumenical network Church and Peace.

In a statement from its Annual General Meeting at Hoddesdon, United Kingdom, on 21-22 June 2018, the peace church network has expressed alarm at the continuing trend of militarization apparent in priorities outlined in the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) 2021-2027.

The financial plan foresees spending around 30 billion euro on defence, Church and Peace notes with concern, while scaling back by more than half funds available for civilian responses to regional and global challenges.

The statement also firmly rejects the plan to ‘merge all twelve existing external financing instruments’ into one under the heading of migration control.

Church and Peace stands together with the Assembly of the Conference of European Churches in calling on the EU to ensure that there are three separate instruments for development; human rights and democracy; and civilian peacebuilding.

While welcoming efforts to streamline operations, not designating funding to these essential foundations of a strong civil society ‘is simply unacceptable,’ the network underlines.

The call to establish a ‘European Peace Facility’ raises serious questions as well, given envisioned funding of military transport, training, equipment and other military action, the statement says. The network rejects labelling such a fund an ‘act of “peace”’, urging that such spending trends ‘urgently [need] to be reversed’.

Church and Peace calls on the churches in particular to engage in discussion on EU budgetary priorities, to lift up the importance of the EU as an agent of peace and reconciliation and to advocate for investing in peace with justice by putting into action the Sustainable Development Goals and supporting reconciliation processes.

Read the full text of the Statement on EU budgetary priorities driving militarisation.

Download this press release EU risks becoming predominantly military alliance, says Church and Peace (28 June 2018)