In light of the UK triggering Article 50 to begin the process of leaving the European Union, Jean-Claude Juncker, the Chief Executive of the EU is said to be looking at options to bring closer together the remaining states as he fears there could be pressure for further unravelling. Juncker believes that while some states want to deepen co-operation faster and further than before, others are not so keen. In a White Paper, Juncker will argue for a ‘multi-speed Europe’ because as he sees it ‘This is no longer a time when we can imagine everyone doing the same thing together.’ Junker will ask for responses to his ideas by the autumn, by which time the German and French elections would have taken place.
However, as Juncker stated, the idea of a two-speed Europe does not appeal to everyone. The poorer eastern countries within the EU are worried that Brexit and a multi-speed Europe may be used as an excuse by the richer nations within the bloc to cut subsidies. Indeed, EU farm chief Phil Hogan has already said that he believes the EU needs to reduce farming subsidies to cope with the expected EUR 3bln drop in the agriculture budget once the UK leaves Europe.
One area that is having no such problems with money is the US military. Donald Trump has called for a 10% increase in military spending, USD 54bln, the biggest increase since the height of the wars in the middle east, topping over USD 600bln in total. As Trump put it ‘This is a landmark event and a message to the world in these dangerous times of American strength, security and resolve’ adding ‘We must ensure that our courageous servicemen and women have the tools they need to deter war and, when called upon to fight in our name, only do one thing — win.’ To pay for the rise officials said that there would be severe cuts in other departments including the State Department, the Environmental Protection Agency and foreign aid.
However, Trump’s idea to slash spending in these departments to give to the military has already run into criticism. More than 120 retired US military generals and admirals have called on Congress to keep both U.S. diplomacy and foreign aid fully funded as they believe such programmes are ‘critical to keeping America safe’. Trump has also been attacked by Nancy Pelosi, the top Democrat in the House of Representatives, who believes the Trump proposal showed he was not putting American working families first, as he has promised many times: ‘A $50 billion cut will do far-reaching and long-lasting damage to our ability to meet the needs of the American people and win the jobs of the future’. Pelosi believes adding ‘The president is surrendering America’s leadership in innovation, education, science and clean energy’.