EU Defense (Doctrine)Defense industry

To create a European industry, we still need common needs

A German-made Boxer (Credit: Austrian Army/Volker Jung)
Europe is rich. It has at least 8 different models of 8×8 armored vehicles like this German-made Boxer (credit: Austrian army / Volker Jung)

(BRUSSELS2) The creation of a European Defense industry and the strengthening of the BITDE (the industrial and technological base of defense) are often a leitmotif of European meetings.

We can make other defense Airbuses… if the markets are not fragmented

But as Christian Mons, the president of Gicat and Cidef (the French Defense Industries Council), recently reminded a few journalists (including B2), there are industrial realities that must first be addressed. “ Yes, tomorrow we can make Defense Airbuses in other areas he explains. " But we still need to have a common market and not fragmented markets. Today, there is no single request. Each Staff designs its needs, according to its imperatives without really consulting his neighbours.

A necessity: to make the General Staffs listen to reason

This common expression of needs – as specialists call it “ is the essential condition for the regrouping of the industry. ". The industry must “ adapt. International groupings are of interest because they make it possible to increase the critical size ". But as long as there is no government rationalization, nothing will move forward. “ The political problem is to force the staffs to agree on common programs. But no manager is going to see his CEMA to force him to do this. There will be no European defense industry and no defense Europe without this. »

Find a common project: the 8X8 vehicle for example

Examples of market breakdown are numerous. Everyone has fighter planes in mind where the Europeans have nevertheless managed to develop and offer for sale 3 fighter planes (Rafale, Eurofighter, Gripen, etc.) and very often then buy American ones (F-16, F-18). , F-35). The example of the 8×8 vehicle in Europe, which has multiple models, 8 to 9 different, there “ where Americans only have one is probably less known but just as problematic. " On a political level, we need to come to an agreement with the Germans, for example, to design an 8x8 jointly. They do the Boxer and we do the VBCI. » That would be real progress...

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).