The European Union on Tuesday decided to increase the fiscal 2017 budget of the European Defense Agency by 1.6 percent to approximately $33 million, Reuters reported Tuesday.
Robin Emmott writes the decision marks the first time since 2010 that the U.K. has not opposed a budget hike at the EDA, which helps member countries build aircraft and other military assets, and comes a day after the EU agreed on a new defense plan that seeks to reduce reliance on U.S. military support.
EU officials said the budget increase suggests that the U.K., which decided to leave the EU, may continue to collaborate with the EU on defense matters amid security threats posed by Russia and the Islamic State militant organization, the report added.
Urmas Paet, an Estonian liberal and member of the European Parliament, has called on the EU to designate a defense and security commissioner within the European Commission in an effort to reduce the responsibilities of EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini, according to a report by Nikolaj Nielsen for EUobserver.
Mogherini “is doing everything, the whole world, all the foreign policy, all the conflicts, all the defense, security and so on,” Paet told reporters in Brussels Wednesday.
Paet, who is also former minister of foreign affairs in Estonia, proposed the new defense commissioner post in a report that aims to form a European defense union in an effort to advance research efforts, raise defense spending and lift administrative hurdles on troop movements, Nielsen reports.