Church groups along with a total of 61 NGOs have written an open letter to Members of the European Parliament to express their “deep concern” about policy proposals which they said “call into question the EU’s founding values of human rights, peace and disarmament”.

Driving the news

In the letter, sent from Brussels on September 2, groups such as Pax Christi International, PAX (Netherlands), Pax Christi Flanders (Belgium) and Church and Peace (Germany) denounced that a number of proposals currently before lawmakers paint “a worrying picture of the EU’s future path, which increasingly tends towards a controversial military approach to global issues”.

The peace groups said that proposed EU military research and development funding is “giving priority to the security and military interests of the EU, while neglecting its traditional strengths like conflict resolution, diplomacy, mediation, institution-building and economic incentives to promote peace”.

The letter signers urged MEPs “to go beyond the general motto ‘a Europe that protects’, and start analysing whether the proposed priorities and funding are truly the most efficient ways of making Europe and the world a safer place to live in”.

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Go deeper

At issue for the peace groups is not only the 690 million euros the EU has spent on defence projects since 2017.

They are also worried about proposed security spending in the 2021-2027 Multi-annual Financial Framework (MFF), which they said “diverts financial and human resources to military and security ‘solutions'”.

Such budget spending “would work against peace and disarmament, risk feeding conflicts and neglect the peaceful resolution of conflicts as well as the fight against their root causes, exacerbated by climate change”, the peace organisations warned.

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What’s next

“The next MFF should focus on peace-building and on the major factors of conflicts and forced migration, such as poverty, human rights violations or climate change”, the letter signers said.

For that reason, the peace groups called on MEPs to “stop the militarisation of EU borders and ensure that EU funding will prioritise safe, humane and dignified pathways to – and hosting conditions in – Europe, in line with international law and the right to asylum”.

They also urged politicians to “call for EU external policies to prioritise the peaceful resolution and prevention of conflicts and the fighting of their root causes, including by driving a 100% renewable, climate resilient, zero carbon economy at the global level, and by helping poor countries to become energy independent and adapt to climate change”, among other measures.

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