The European Commission has announced plans to step up the EU’s role in security and defence.
The EU’s executive has proposed a €13 billion European Defence Fund in its 2021-2027 budget to provide the financial firepower for cross-border investments in technology and equipment.
The fund will provide €4.1 billion to directly finance research projects in areas such as encrypted software and drone technology.
Elżbieta Bieńkowska, Commissioner for the Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs, said: "The European Defence Fund is a game changer for defence cooperation in Europe.
“Based on the first initiatives tested these last two years, we are now scaling it up into an ambitious European instrument to support collaborative defence projects throughout their entire development cycle.
“The €13 billion Fund shows that this Commission is serious about building a Europe that defends and protects its citizens.”
Federica Mogherini, High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice-President of the Commission, has also proposed a new €10.5 billion European Peace Facility.
Ms Mogherini said: "The European Union has over the past couple of years taken steps in security and defence that seemed unthinkable before.
“We can now support research and cooperation to develop defence capabilities.
"We are taking measures that will facilitate the rapid movement of Member States' forces in Europe.”
The aim of the European Peace Facility is to improve the financing of EU military operations and improve support for allied actions.
Cover Image: European Council