The EU is planning to budget billions of euros for military research and the development of arms. The first steps have already been taken. It's time to act to prevent a further militarisation of the European research budget.
We invite all scientists, academics and researchers to speak out and to call on the European Union to stop funding military research.
EU money for military research?
In 2016 the European Union took the unprecedented step of setting up a military research programme worth 90 million euros, the so-called Preparatory Action on Defence Research (PADR). This is only a first step. For the next ten years, the European Commission proposes the establishment of a European Defence Fund which would allocate more 13 billion euros to the research and development of weapons.
These steps signify a fundamental change of the European project. Although arms technologies have received EU funding before, this has always happened through the ‘back door’ of a civilian security research programme. The establishment of an EU military research programme points towards an unprecedented acceleration in the militarisation of the EU.
The military technologies developed now will shape the wars of the future. The European Union has already started developing autonomous systems through the Preparatory Action. Despite warnings from both the scientific community and the European Parliament, these decisions to develop autonomous weapons are taken without any public debate. The European Union risks exacerbating a global arms race in robotic weapons and drones.
These steps will not increase peace and security. On the contrary, they will only worsen global tensions. In the meantime, scientific research which might actually contribute to preventing violent conflict is being neglected.