Alfred Sant says EU security and defence policy text ignores Malta's constitutional neutrality

MEP Alfred Sant abstains on EU security and defence policy 'as it may imply support of further militarisation of Europe'

MEP Alfred Sant
MEP Alfred Sant

Labour MEP Alfred Sant has abstained on a European Parliament report on the implementation of the Common Security and Defence Policy as it may imply support for further militarisation of Europe.

“I did so out of prudence,” he said. “The text ignores the neutrality principle that is a constitutional core of EU member-states like Malta. Moreover, I am critical of the Defence Fund and the so-called ‘strategic autonomy’ focusing on the military that is being advocated in it”, stated Sant.

The MEP observed that the new European Defence Fund will support collaborative actions and cross-border cooperation throughout the EU, at each stage of the industrial cycle relating to defence products and technologies.

But in a statement to the European Parliament plenary, Sant said that about half of the grants allocated under the Fund happen to go to the biggest EU arms producers and exporters, which leaves arms suppliers from other EU Member States with limited funding on which to draw.

“Moreover, the whole process by which the fund has been set up seems flawed. Companies whose leaders were part of the 2016 Group of Personalities advising the European Commission to create a military research programme are largely benefiting from those programmes today,” Sant added.

He noted that complaints that this has been happening with a lack of transparency needed to be investigated and added that “one can only remain sceptical about a strategic ‘security’ policy that ignores the perspectives of neutral EU member states that also have no stake in arms production. Yet they are contributing to the fund from which EU ‘security’ programmes are being disbursed to arms producers.”