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The first talks on European defense at the Panthéon Sorbonne

(B2) While the start of the school year will be from the angle of defense - whether at the European level with the proposals of Emmanuel Macron or the State of the Union speech by Jean-Claude Juncker - and before the defense summer universities, we are publishing a series of papers from the First European Defense Conferences at the Sorbonne that we organized in June with our university friends and researchers.

A range of industrial players, researchers and institutional players, gathered around a major subject: in which direction is Europe's defense moving, in particular the European defense industry which has been the subject of of all the attention of politicians in recent months.

On the industrial side, there is a certain consensus that the latest news from Brussels, with the creation of the European Defense Fund, is positive. However, they cannot resolve certain notable weaknesses. For Carole Ferrand, of the DGA Directorate General for Armaments, creating a European defense industrial and technical base (BITDE) presupposes industrial autonomy, that is to say without third countries. Yes, but it must be made up of strong export champions, and not just on the European market, which is too small to exist and innovate, specifies Olivier Martin of MBDA. Be careful to clearly define the terms of the Fund, relates Stéphane Abrial, of SAFRAN.

Institutional players agree on one point in particular: it is up to industry to take a step forward and launch projects quickly, using the European Defense Fund, as Pierre Delsaux insisted, Deputy Director General, and Anne Fort, Deputy Head of Unit, at DG GROW at the European Commission, as well as Jean-Youri Martin, Deputy Director of the European Defense Agency.

What a journey, said Françoise Grossetête, MEP, who shared with us her experience as rapporteur of the defense industrial development program, detailing the circumstances, ultimately favorable, which brought a fairly large majority, rather unprecedented when we talk about European integration, from conservatives to social democrats, to approve this new program.

Finally we were able to have an uncompromising portrait of the future permanent structured cooperation (PESCO) by F. Mauro or of the situation of European defense budgets with F. Coulomb.

Please note on your agendas : The second European defense talks will take place in the spring of 2019, just before the European elections. We will keep you informed on this site, as on that of the Interviews.

(Nicolas Gros-Verheyde with Aurélie Pugnet, st.)

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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).