EU Economics

EU set to send £89m aid to foreign armies for STATIONERY and furniture

THE European Union wants to pump £88.5million of aid money into foreign armed forces, despite most of its members failing to meet Nato targets on defence spending.

Yemen soldiersGETTY

Armed forces in crisis-hit countries like Yemen are to get EU aid hand-outs

EU chiefs said foreign generals would be forbidden from using the hand-outs to fund “recurrent military expenditure” such as weapons, ammunition and combat training.But the cash can be spent on non-armoured troop transport vehicles, uniforms and surveillance equipment. Furniture, stationery and “sport facilities” are also covered.

 MEPs are today set to pass the proposal which will see cash earmarked for international development funnelled into military security operations in strife-torn countries such as Yemen and Sudan.


The Yemen conflict is making EU development work in the region impossible

Security is a precondition for development

EU document

Brussels bosses insist the aid money will be used on “non-lethal equipment and improvements in infrastructure” in a bid to bring global peace and stability.It is the first time the EU will pump money directly into a foreign military structure but officials insist the move is essential for the future success of its international development programme.

The proposal is to ring-fence £88.5 million of existing budgetary resources to the Instrument Contributing to Stability and Peace for 2018-2020.

Yemen HouthiGETTY

Anti-government Houthi rebels are embroiled in bloody conflict in Yemen

A document outlining the plan said: “As security is a precondition for development, the instrument aims to counter the deterioration of the security environment in which EU development initiatives operate to boost peace and security and eliminate poverty.“The EU already supports civilian security sector actors in crisis and conflict situations but in cases where only the military are able to restore a secure situation for the provision of aid, without adapting the instrument to military actors, it is unable at present to act.”

German Green deputy Reinhard Butikofer earlier described the proposal as “nothing short of scandalous”.

He said the EU aid fund is based on the development co-operation article of the EU treaty and should not be used for security and military purposes.The idea of handing over aid money to foreign armies is a controversial one.

Earlier this month Tory MP Priti Patel lost her job as International Development Secretary Priti Patel when it emerged she had discussed giving Israel foreign aid cash.

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