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Defense

EU set to unveil common defense fund

The European Commission will propose a defense fund to member states to invest in new military projects, according to news reports. Europe's NATO members are expected to come under US pressure to up defense spending.

The European Commission is pressing member states to increase military spending by paying into a common defense fund, the "Süddeutsche Zeitung" has reported. Details of the joint investment fund are due to be presented mid-day Wednesday.

According to the newspaper, the fund would be used to invest in common projects, such as drone technology. In its report, the paper suggested that the plan comes amid increasing unease about European security in the wake of the victory of US President-elect Donald Trump.

 The idea of a fund reportedly comes amid a wider rethink of European military spending. European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker had already announced in September that a European defense fund would be set up by the end of the year.

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The aim is for greater cooperation between members states, with the possibility of saving up between 25 billion euros ($26.58 billion) and 100 billion euros per year.

Financial forgiveness

A decision about how much money should be invested in which arms and technologies would be up to members states meeting at a later date, the "Süddeutsche" reported. To make it easier for countries struggling with financial deficits, the amount invested into the fund would be disregarded when it comes to the bloc's assessment of budgets. 

The plan also makes reference to the fact that defense spending has remained fairly stable in the past 10 years. European NATO members are expected to come under pressure from US President-elect Donald Trump to significantly increase their military outlay.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said in October that taxpayers would be asked to shell out significantly more money to fund the country's army, the Bundeswehr.

Under proposals agreed by EU member states in November - after Trump's election - the bloc could send rapid response forces abroad for the first time.

rc/gsw (Reuters, AFP)

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