EU approves budget increase for European Defence Agency

By Ryan Maass  |  Nov. 16, 2016 at 4:29 PM
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BRUSSELS, Nov. 16 (UPI) -- The European Defence Agency received its first budget increase after a six-year freeze when officials from London declined to veto the raise.

The move boosts the agency's annual budget from $32.7 million in 2016 to $33.1 million in 2017. All European Union countries except Denmark are affected by the decision, IHS Janes reports.

"It was a symbolic but clear demonstration of support by all 27 countries, as we task the EDA with more work. The increase will be reflected in future years," EDA chief Federica Mogherini told reporters after the decision was finalized.

EU lawmakers say increasing their collective defense budget will help make the 27-nation bloc less reliant on the United States. The funds will be used to help member states develop and procure additional aircraft and other defense materials.

EDA budget increases have been traditionally opposed by Great Britain, which voted to leave the European Union in a referendum earlier this year. The vote in favor may indicate the country hopes to continue cooperating with the EU on defense matters after it formally exits the bloc.

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