Terrorism, hybrid threats and cyber- and energy insecurity leave EU countries no choice but to step up their security and defense cooperation efforts, thus paving the way to a European Defense Union, according to a resolution passed by Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) on Tuesday.
The resolution on the European Defense Union was approved by 369 votes to 255, with 70 abstentions, the EP said.
MEPs suggest devoting 2% of GDP to defense, establishing multinational forces and EU headquarters to plan and command crisis management operations, and enabling the EU to act where NATO is unwilling to do so.
”The security situation in and around Europe has worsened significantly in recent years, due to challenges like terrorism, hybrid threats or cyber and energy insecurity, that no country is able to tackle alone,” the resolution said. ”Solidarity and resilience require the EU to stand and act together.”
MEPs want the EU to respond faster and more robustly to real threats, which, they say, demand that Europe`s armed forces work together better. Duplication, overcapacity and barriers to defense procurement result currently in annual waste of EUR 26.4 billion, they say.
The resolution asks the European Council to lead the creation of ”common Union defense policy and to provide additional financial resources ensuring its implementation.”
MEPs stress that the EU and NATO should cooperate more, particularly in the east and the south, to countering hybrid and cyber threats, improve maritime security and develop defense capabilities. However, the EU should also be prepared to act autonomously in cases where NATO is not willing to take the lead, MEPs add.
The resolution is a non-binding document for the EU member states.
On Wednesday, November 23, MEPs will vote on a separate resolution on common security and defense policy.