The European Commission and the majority of the European Parliament justify the use of development aid to pay for security although some call it a diversion that will ultimately hurt the poorest beneficiaries. On Thursday, the European Parliament kicked off discussions around the future role of security in the development agenda. Major part of the talks revolves around the Stability and Peace (IcSP), which allows the member states to intervene to prevent crises.
For the first time, the instrument will be able to be used for military purposes, especially in African countries plagued by instability. It will be boosted by €17.5 million to “address the terrorist threat in Middle East and North Africa”, which will be financed directly by EU budget covering training activities and the supply of non-lethal equipment to the security forces of third countries. It will, however, exclude regular military spending, weapons, combat training and ammunitions.
“European missions in Mali, CAR, Somalia await the result of these talks, as they need the funding we will make available to them,” said the French Les Republicains MEP Arnaud Danjean (EPP). Federica Mogherini, the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs, said that this step is not meant to mark switching objectives from development to security, stressing that “it is about bringing the focus back on objective 16, which links development to security.”
However, some MEPs are worried by the security focus that is sometime referred to as “militarization”. Finnish Green MEP Heide Hautala said that this could easily become “a precedent for development funds and instruments for peace and security to be used for military purposes; these activities are not intended to be funded by development assistance.”