No military Europe tailored to the arms industry

On 19th of December 2013, Vredesactie and Agir pour la Paix have taken action in the EU-quarter in Brussels.

Video reports of the actions here

Picture reports here

Today and tomorrow the Heads of State and Government of the EU convene in Brussels. High on the agenda: building a military Europe and strengthening the European defense industry. Vredesactie and Agir pour la Paix took action at various places where European policy was made: the offices of arms industry lobby groups, the offices of the European administrations, ... With their non-violent actions they disrupted the status quo of the EU quarter and exposed the links between business and politics.

EDA – war starts here. Surprise early this morning at the European Defense Agency. A group of activists blocke the two entrances to the building. Two activists climbed the gate and locked themselves to it. The main entrance was blocked by activists who poured fake blood over themselves. More than one hour the EDA was closed for its stupified personel. Fourtien activists were administratively arrested, and released around half pas three in the afternoon.

DG Enterprise - merry crisis, happy new war. At half past ten four activists climbed the building of DG enterprise and industry. They attached a banner that read: “Thank you, EU”, signed by “The arms dealers”. In an ironic theater play, arms industry lobbyists congratulated the EU for its courage to support the arms industry while citizens were opposing cuts in social spending. Activists wearing masks of Angela Merkel and Amanuel Baroso put up a banner reading: “Merry crisis, happy new war.”

Lobbytour – open air lobby masterclass. Participants of the Lobbytour De Luxe received an Open Air Lobbying Master class. With an animated walk passing offices of lobbygroups, arms producers and European institutions they learned all the tips and tricks to be the best lobbyist. In doing so, they exposed the institutionalized conflict of interest in the EU policy making.

Nobel War Prize. In a streat theater play around Parc Cinquantenaire, a group of activists granted the EU the Nobel War Prize. The EU received it for her military ambitions and her generous support to the arms industry.

The arms industry dictates. On the esplanade in front of the EU parliament building, arms industry dictated legislative proposals. MEPs were meekly and meticulously writing down what they heard. With this tightly directed theater play, the activists held up a confrontational mirror for MEPs.

European Summit 19 and 20 December

The European Council of 19 and 20 December focusses on security and defense. The preliminary conclusions of the summit were already leaked out yesterday. The most remarkable proposals are about strengthening the arms industry with subsidies. Furthermore, the EU wants to promote the export of European arms technology worldwide. Tom Cox, Vredesactie campaigner: "European security policy is largely reduced to build-up of military capabilities and promoting a strong arms industry. The call for more military spending is diametrically opposed to the austerity measures imposed by the EU everywhere."

New European subsidies for the development of weapons technology

The arms industry already benefits from European subsidies for research and development. Millions of euros from the EU are granted to the major European arms companies for 'security research'. Officially, European research money should be used for strictly non-military applications. However, there is no guarantee that the results of this study do not end up in weapons technology. Tom Cox: "In the leaked conclusions of the summit, a new subsidies were announced, dedicated to the development of weapons technology. Even more than before, the EU will promote the production of weapons. Who is benefiting from this? "

Arms industry is preferential partner of the EU

Officials of both the European Commission and the European Defence Agency are regularly meeting up with arms industry representatives.  They leave a strong imprint on EU policy. In so-called expert groups they co-decide on the regulations and initiatives the Commission has to take. “The grip of the arms industry on EU policy is dangerous”, says Tom Cox. “The EU views arms industry representatives as experts in defence and security. It is often forgotten that the only objective of the industry is: selling more arms technology. By giving preferential treatment to the arms industry, the EU effectively outsources defence- and security policy to the arms industry. This does not lead to a safer Europe in a better world. On the contrary.”