Defense experts are concerned that Europe’s newfound commitment to joint defense spending may be cast aside as the European Union diverts cash into economies hammered by the coronavirus lockdown.

The scenario was discussed in a webinar hosted by Italy’s IAI think tank on April 8. And last week, Polish and German experts wrote of the risk that the fledgling European Defence Fund will be savagely cut.

Then on April 27, eight experts issued an appeal to EU policymakers, arguing that rather than cutting defense funds to free up money to support hard-hit businesses, they should do the opposite and beef up defense spending.

With so many high-tech jobs in the defense industry, “specific support for this sector will be needed to mitigate the economic crisis’ effects and preserve the long-term future of Europe,” wrote the experts, who hail from Spain, Italy, the U.K., France and Lithuania.

According to the letter, the EU plans to pack its 2021-2027 budget with measures to limit a recession some economists believe will follow the pandemic. Economists have also warned such a recession would dwarf the fallout from the 2008 financial crisis.

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