EU clinches deal on first-ever defense fund

World

BRUSSELS (AP) — The European Union announced Monday that an agreement has been reached on setting up the 27-nation bloc’s first ever fund to support defense research and development.

The European Defense Fund will contain around 7.95 billion euros ($9.67 billion) for the 2021-2027 period. Around a third of the money will be used on research projects, with the rest being used to develop the defense technologies.

The agreement must still be rubber-stamped by EU member countries and the European Parliament, and this will depend on the bloc’s long-term budget being finalized. EU leaders reached a political agreement on the budget last week, so the move is likely to be a formality.

German Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, whose country holds the EU’s rotating presidency, said the fund “will enhance the EU’s ability to protect its citizens and make the EU a stronger global actor.”

Around 13 billion euros were originally earmarked for the fund, but the coronavirus pandemic forced a change of priorities and the EU’s entire budget was reshuffled to help fund the recovery.

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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