European Union looks to approve first ever military budget

A U.S. soldier in Afghanistan
Lucas Jackson | Reuters

The European parliament will vote on Wednesday for the first time on whether to spend large scale public cash on military research.

Members of the European Parliament – the parliamentary institute of the EU - are voting on a so-called "Preparatory Action for Defense Research" which would allow 3 years of groundwork cash to be spent before a full defense budget is approved.

The initial program, described by the parliament as modest, will cost between 40 and 100 million euros($43 -109 mn) to fund.

Despite its small nature, it would represent the first time that he EU has subsidized military research.

If the initial work is deemed a success, a full EU defense budget of at least 3.5 billion euros could then be spent between 2021 and 2027.

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The case for an EU-funded defense program has been put together by a so called "group of personalities" which includes politicians, as well as representatives from companies such as Saab, Finmeccanica, and BAE Systems.

A separate paper released by the European Parliament in March this year said that there is an increasing demand for the EU to become a "security provider".

The paper said the demand comes from both the U.S., as well as member states of the European Union.