EU leaders focus on Defence and Banking issues at December Summit

14 Dec 2013, keywords :

The European Confederation of Independent Trade Unions (CESI) welcomes the fact that EU Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) features at the top of the agenda of the European Council’s December Summit (19-20 December 2013). Economic and social policy issues were also discussed during the meeting focusing on securing agreement on the banking union.

EU leaders focus on Defence and Banking issues at December Summit

On defence matters, while adequate attention has to be given to an effective defence industry and to a fair treatment of Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) in defence procurement procedures, it has to be clear that the armed forces are not established in order to provide a market for trade and industry. Armed forces exist in order to protect European states and European citizens against external security threats. Industry has to support the armed forces of European democracy and their legitimate security interests, not vice versa.

CESI calls upon leaders in the European Council to concentrate EU efforts in fields of activity which cannot be adequately managed by the Member States themselves. New armaments programmes through the European Defence Agency could be launched to achieve economies of scale if national programmes would not be feasible for budgetary reasons.

On the other hand, it should be noted that he who pays the piper calls the tune. EU institutions must be prepared to face the costs if they want to decide on military missions. If the EU wants to conduct a real common external and security policy, it first has to agree on common security interests. Otherwise, national interests will keep any EU forces as deadlocked as in the past.

The newly elected chairman of the German military union DBwV, Lt Col André Wuestner, called on the EU tend to the men and women whose lives are put at risk in CSDP operations: “European leaders must never forget that armed forces most of all depend on boots on the ground. Weapons alone do not win fights. Soldiers who believe in their mission are at the core of every successful operation. If the EU engages in military operations to protect human rights around the world, it has to be clear that any rights laid down in the EU Fundamental Rights Charters have to apply also to the European soldiers doing the fighting.” 

In the early hours of yesterday morning, EU finance ministers came to an agreement on how to close failing banks, which aims to prevent a repeat performance of recent years during which governments, and therefore taxpayers money, has been used. The agreement that banks will contribute over the next 10 years, via national levies, to the creation of a single resolution fund is welcome news to CESI. This was adopted by heads of state and government today.

CESI President Romain Wolff commented: “For a long time we have been deploring the use of public finances, which is hard-working taxpayers’ money, to funding the banks reckless behaviour. Over the last few years, the public sector has been victim to the banking sector’s risky behaviour. This situation needs to be reversed and never allowed to happen again.”

Council meeting