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Wednesday, November 16, 2016
Dawn of EU Pentagon: Brussels to build defence agency run by politicians playing soldiers
Although virtually unknown, the European Defence Agency could be a vital element if the EU hopes to forge tighter defence links in the future.
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Currently, the organisation has a relatively tiny budget, staff of just 130 people, and is run by diplomats not military chiefs.
But there have been suggestions the EDA could become the European equivalent of the Pentagon - the headquarters of the United States Department of Defence.
While EU officials raised its military budget from £26.2 to £26.6 million on Tuesday, the sum pales in comparison to the Pentagon’s £464.5 million.
But the increase is the first for the agency since 2010, and comes as the EU pushes forward with other efforts to ramp up military spending - including establishing an EU defence fund.
And with the push for more military cooperation, the EDA is expected to gain new relevance new importance and most importantly new powers.
Plans drawn up by Federica Mogherini, the EU’s foreign policy chief, will give it a central role in boosting efficiency and increasing the capability of European defence systems.
A spokesperson said: “The European Commission is ready to play an active role in fostering European defence cooperation.
“Europe’s soft power is not enough in the long run without at least some integrated defence capacities.”
Overall military spending in Europe hit £171 billion last year, but only four out of the 28 EU nations met the NATO spending target of 2 per cent of economic output.