Wethen, 25 Feburary 2021 –
On 1 January 2021, a new era of the European Union began with Brexit, but also with the new budget phase of the Multiannual Financial Framework (2021-2027). In a statement, the Board of Church and Peace has evaluated some of the available arms and security policy decisions taken under the German EU Council Presidency.
In a broad alliance of churches and civil society in various European countries and at the level of the European Union, Church and Peace has repeatedly addressed the EU’s new security and defense strategy, especially since 2016. In doing so, the European network consistently warns of a threat to the peace project Europe through a “creeping militarization of the EU,” including in the context of the Multiannual Financial Framework (2021-2027).
The Board of Church and Peace sees it as a serious paradigm shift that the European Defense Fund, which has been adopted since 2017 and finances arms research and production, has been anchored in the EU budget, thus creating a budget for military purposes for the first time.
It regrets that previously reliably available budget instruments have been merged. In the context of the new Neighborhood, Development and International Cooperation Instrument, there is a danger that the funds will used cross-sectorally, especially since “migration control” is a cross-cutting issue.
Church and Peace also criticizes the European Peace Facility decided by the European Council, especially since one of its goals is to strengthen the military capacities of third countries through training and weapons.
It is considered scandalous that this Council Presidency has also failed to adopt a humane and solidarity-based asylum and migration policy. In view of the humanitarian dramas at the external borders of the EU, as witnessed there by committed members of Church and Peace, the management of the COVID-19 crisis and Brexit cannot serve as legitimation for this.
It remains necessary that the EU continues to provide urgently needed funds for development and civil tasks and that it implements the adopted concepts on peace mediation in close cooperation with civil society.
The Board of Church and Peace calls on EU citizens, churches and organizations in Europe to continue to insist that the EU further develops its existing competencies for peace, justice, human rights and sustainability and thereby strengthens Europe as a peace project instead of tying up human and financial resources in armament and military actions.