EU Defense (Doctrine)Defense industry

A Summit full of industrial challenges. Employment becomes a defense hobbyhorse

(BRUSSELS2) What finally happened at the European Defense Summit on December 19? Apparently, this was not the " big night » for European defense, as Arnaud Danjean, president of the Defense subcommittee of the European Parliament, explains: "I don't believe in the Grand soir, but in progress, step by step". And on the industrial side, progress has been made…

The effect of the crisis

Certainly, the tone is no longer one of great lyrical advances, as in the past. The crisis is over. The Heads of State and Government on December 19 spent a long time considering the future of the European defense industry. Cuts in defense budgets are indeed beginning to translate into economic terms. The recent restructuring plan of EADS – with the loss of more than 5000 jobs in several European countries proves it. And everyone now has in mind that it is above all important to safeguard "their" defense industry. A very present concern in the “big” countries which have a Defense industry (France, Germany, United Kingdom, Italy, Spain…) but also in all the others. In fact, in Europe, many countries have a "small" industry, which sometimes occupies very specialized niches: aeronautics in Belgium, armored vehicles in Finland or Poland, helicopters in the Czech Republic or Poland, cyber in Estonia, etc.

A more balanced industrial base

Poland, like several Eastern European countries, is campaigning for a more balanced distribution of the European defense industrial base. In Europe, the defense sector employs “ some 400 people directly and generates up to 000 indirect jobs “, we underline at the European Commission. And his communication of last July “ for a more competitive and efficient defense and security sector” is accepted as a whole by European leaders.

The start of a process

A detailed "roadmap" setting objectives and dates has been set (Read about the Club: Conclusions of the Defense Summit: the roadmap). " It's the start of a process »warns a European diplomat. The European Defense Agency – which is somewhat the highlight of this summit – is responsible for several tasks, in particular studying the idea of ​​joint public procurement. And the European Commission is asked to work on the establishment of tax incentives – in the form of a VAT exemption – for industrial projects carried out in European cooperation. A project supported by many countries (France, Belgium and Latin countries).

Drones and aerial tankers

On the industrial and capacity level, the Europeans also intend to focus on the baptismal font, two large-scale industrial projects. First of all, under the leadership of the Netherlands, a project for the acquisition of aerial tankers was launched, with the objective of acquiring 3 additional aircraft by 2019. Then, around ten countries embarked on a European drone project: the drone called MALE (Medium altitude, long endurance) which could see the light of day by 2020-2025. EADS, Dassault and Finmeccanica – for once in agreement – ​​are in the running. Drones and tankers are two of the major capability gaps, brought to light during the aerial operation in Libya – where 80% of supplies were provided by the Americans. Gaps that have existed since… 1999 and the NATO operation in Kosovo.

(Nicolas Gros-Verheyde – on twitter: @brussels2) article published with Euroactiv

To go further on the Club:

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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