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The scrutiny of the European Defence Fund by the European Parliament and national parliaments

01 April 2019
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Since 2016, the European Union has developed a number of new initiatives on security and defence. In particular, the introduction of Permanent Structured Cooperation and the European Defence Fund have been designed to allow the EU to become a more autonomous actor with regard to crisis management, capacity building and protecting Europe and its citizens. Yet the development of these new initiatives raises questions about their overall coherence and the role of parliamentary scrutiny. It is necessary to analyse the role of the European Parliament and national parliaments in relation to the scrutiny of the European Defence Fund. There is a need for recommendations on how parliamentary scrutiny can be enhanced at the EU level in the area of security and defence.

Commissioned by the European Parliament’s Sub-Committee on Security and Defence, this Study analyses how the European Parliament and national parliaments can effectively scrutinise the European Defence Fund. The Study begins by providing an overview of the academic literature and showing how the EU treaties limit the European Parliament’s role in EU security and defence. The Study then moves on to a specific focus on the proposed Regulation for a European Defence Fund (COM(2018) 476 final). Acknowledging that the EDF Regulation has not been fully agreed to yet, the study nevertheless charts the ways in which parliaments might engage in the evaluation of the Fund and learn from the work already conducted on the Preparatory Action on Defence Research and the forthcoming European Defence Industrial Development Programme. The Study also looks at the way each national parliament in the EU has scrutinised the Fund, and it offers an overview of the limitations and gaps observable in national parliamentary scrutiny methods and procedures. The Study also comments on the current state of interparliamentary cooperation on the Fund. Finally, this Study also makes concrete recommendations on the ways in which parliamentary scrutiny of the European Defence Fund can be enhanced.