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The London agreements: less avowed reasons…

This is, without doubt, one of the least vaunted aspects of the "London agreements" signed between France and the United Kingdom on November 2 (1): the protection of national industries. Even if this is not one of the main objectives of these agreements, it could nevertheless be one of the most concrete side effects in the short or medium term; a fallout that is far from negligible in these times of budgetary scarcity.

By establishing several fields of cooperation between the French and the British, these agreements will, in fact, allow the respective national industrialists to avoid any harmful competition that they would not have chosen. “Small intruders” who could have claimed, in the name of the new European rules governing defense markets, to hope to be able to compete in certain markets.

A very "exceptional" cooperation: everyone is safe!

Admittedly, several points of cooperation do not give rise to possible discussion because the exercise of sovereignty and the interest of national security seem quite obvious on subjects as sensitive as nuclear arsenals or aircraft carriers. But when we talk about research on new drones or submarines, satellite communication, we could say that a call for tenders, at least restricted to European level, could have been necessary. Because it's not just French or British manufacturers who are competitive.

And when we describe a "complete" research and technology program, where each of the partners puts 50 million euros on the table, the "competition" is, there, significant and plural. Fortunately... this aspect of cooperation responds, perfectly, point for point (one could even think of a copy-paste), to one of the "specific exceptions" provided for by the European directive of 2009, precisely in article 13c (2 ). Phew...

And a stuffing turkey

And too bad if we cry in a few industrial cottages in Rome, Stockholm or Berlin. Because if there is a "turkey of the farce" in this vibrant "warrior love affair" between the French and the British, it is Germany...

(1) Read also:

(2) The directive does not apply to: "(...) contracts awarded within the framework of a cooperation program based on research and development activities, carried out jointly by at least two Member States with a view to the development of a new product and, where appropriate, in the subsequent phases of all or part of the life cycle of this product. When such a cooperation program is concluded between Member States only, the latter shall notify the Commission of the share of research and development expenditure in relation to the overall cost of the programme, the agreement relating to the sharing of costs and the envisaged share of purchase for each Member State, if applicable".

Nicolas Gros Verheyde

Chief editor of the B2 site. Graduated in European law from the University of Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne and listener to the 65th session of the IHEDN (Institut des Hautes Etudes de la Défense Nationale. Journalist since 1989, founded B2 - Bruxelles2 in 2008. EU/NATO correspondent in Brussels for Sud-Ouest (previously West-France and France-Soir).

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