Open Letter to Members of the European Parliament: "The EU peace project is under threat" #disarmament #CallToMEP

"The EU peace project is under threat"

Open Letter to Members of the European Parliament signed by 61 organizations included some IFOR branches such as Agir pour la Paix, Kerk en Vrede, MIR Italia and Internationaler Versöhnungsbund.

Brussels, 2 September 2019

Dear Madam, dear Sir,

Member of the European Parliament,

As a coalition of 61 organisations we are writing to express our deep concern about a number of policy proposals which, taken together, call into question the EU’s founding values of human rights, peace and disarmament. As a newly-elected MEP, you will have to give your opinion on EU external action priorities and make final decisions on a number of key files, in particular the next EU budgetary cycle for 2021-2027. Looking at the current proposals and the global context in which they occur paints a worrying picture of the EU’s future path, which increasingly tends towards a controversial military approach to global issues. Since 2017, EU funds have been diverted for military-related spending, with a €590 million envelope to fund military-industrial Research and Development. Before the EU elections, dozens of civil society organisations urged candidates to ‘save the European peace project’ and ‘work towards a peaceful Europe’.

➔ Today we urge you as elected MEP to go beyond the general motto “a Europe that protects”, and start analysing whether the proposed prioritities and funding are truly the most effifficient ways of making Europe and the world a safer place to live in. [...] Creating a fully-fledged European Defense Fund (EDF) or a so-called ‘European Peace Facility’ (EPF) goes beyond providing additional funds to European initiatives: it opens new areas of cooperation whose legitimacy and contribution to the EU Treaty objectives (‘to promote peace, its values and the well-being of its peoples’) are highly questionable. The €10.5 billion off-budget EPF will train and equip the security and military apparatus of partner countries, potentially including with lethal weaponry. Peace organisations are quite critical of this proposal as its intended contribution to peace is far from guaranteed. [...]

As for the “security for development” arguments used to justify the CBSD program and the Peace Facility, there is little evidence that military-focused ‘train and equip’ efforts can lead to improved peace, justice, and development outcomes - quite the contrary. Even with mitigation measures in place, there is a high risk that EU funded weapons and support would be used in fragile countries to commit atrocities and fuel violent conflicts. Research shows that over the past 35 years, 77% of violent conflicts ended through a peace agreement while only 16.4% ended through a military victory. EU funding and attention should therefore focus on creating the conditions for the peaceful resolution of conflicts, including identifying and addressing its root causes. Climate change, for example, is today widely recognized as a major and sustained risk to global security, contributing to increased natural disasters, conflicts over basic resources, migration and forced displacements, as well as exacerbating other drivers such as poverty, economic shocks and weak institutions. Yet, the peaceful resolution of conflicts and the fight against their root causes are not sufficiently prioritized. This was recently illustrated in the EU strategic agenda for 2019-2024, which defined migration and the protection of borders as the first priority, with the climate crisis clearly playing second fiddle to an overblown defense agenda. The next MFF should focus on peace-building and on the major factors of conflicts and forced migration, such as poverty, human rights violations or climate change. For this to happen we urge you to: Stop the Defense Fund by rejecting the provisional agreement in the second reading phase and the €13-billion envelope in the next MFF. Stop the militarization of EU borders and ensure that EU funding will prioritize safe, humane and dignified pathways to - and hosting conditions in - Europe, in line with international law and the right to asylum. Accelerate the pace and scale of action to significantly decrease EU greenhouse gas emissions, in order to reduce them by 65% by 2030 in line with the IPCC special report , and to zero by 2040. Maintain separate external financing instruments for development aid, human rights & democracy,

humanitarian assistance and peace-building in the next MFF with significantly increased budgets; introduce a cap for CBSD activities in the NDICI. Call on the EU Council to take a step back as regards the so-called Peace Facility, particularly its ‘train and equip’ component, and to engage with civil society to discuss in depth its political parameters and added-value. Call for EU external policies to prioritize the peaceful resolution's and prevention of conflicts and the fighting of their root causes, including by driving a 100% renewable, climate resilient, zero carbon economy at the global level, and by helping poor countries to become energy independent and adapt to climate change. You will find in the annex more background information as well as links to more detailed documents produced by civil society actors on the concerns raised in this letter. We hope you will find them instructive and we remain at your disposal should you have questions.

Yours sincerely"

Read the complete Letter here:…/Letter-to-new-EP_EU-Peace-Project-under-…
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