European defence action plan ‘totally ill-advised’ Alfred Sant
Former Prime Minister Alfred Sant told the European Parliament that the European Commission’s proposal to work on a European Defence Action plan and a European Defence Fund is totally ill-advised. It is the kind of project that people in the Brussels bubble will dream of in their efforts to counter what they see as Europe fatigue.
Besides having unintended consequences, some of them unknown, others dangerous, a so-called European defence capability, or even a start to it, will simply end up, sooner rather than later, reinforcing the wide scepticism about the European project that these people seek to contain. Dr Sant made these remarks during the debate on the ‘Commission Work Programme 2017’ at the European Parliament in Strasbourg.
Dr Sant said The Commission Work Programme for 2017 has a high and a low point. The high point forms part of the Youth Initiative, in itself a most worthwhile priority. The proposal to establish a European Solidarity Corps merits full support. It seeks to engage young people in worthwhile public initiatives from which they could learn social and technical skills, while understanding better today’s realities in a changing Europe. One hopes that the scheme will operate on a devolved basis, drawing fully on national bodies involved in youth affairs. The worst that could happen to it is to be subsumed in the values and concerns of people living in the Brussels bubble.
Every year, the European Commission adopts a Work Programme which sets out its key initiatives for the year ahead. The Commission Work Programme informs citizens how it will deliver on the political priorities and turn them into concrete action in 2017. This is the third Work Programme to be presented by the Juncker Commission.
It is fully aligned with the priorities identified by the 27 EUHeads of State or Government in Bratislava, and includes concrete proposals which will contribute to the long-term vision of the Union ahead of the 60th anniversary of the Treaties of Rome in March 2017.Formerly, the Commission proposed an average of over 130 new initiatives in each annual Work Programme. This year, it contains only 21 key initiatives, reflecting the priority focus on agreeing and implementing the proposals already on the table from previous years.