Leave it or double it with “Made in Europe” defense

Will it change the proper Europe by scoring a winning point in the next European Council? What are we talking about? Not from the Champions League final, which was held on Saturday evening at the Stade de France between Liverpool and Real Madrid, but from one of the most important issues in the extraordinary meeting. European Council St.Monday 30 and Tuesday 31 May) in Brussels, European Defense. European countries here have an ideal opportunity to strengthen the European industrial and defense technology base (BITD), which is currently concentrated only in a few large countries (Germany, Spain, France, Italy, etc.).

Despite the disputed legality in defense issues, the European Commission intends to assist member states “Let’s invest better together in a European way”. If Paris pushes this strategy, the game is far from winning, because many European countries prefer to buy weapons systems, including more expensive ones, in the United States to take advantage of the famous American umbrella.

“What the Commission is aiming for in its proposals is to create sufficient incentives, notably through joint procurement, so that stocks are replenished for equipment produced in Europe, as we explained at the Elysee. Otherwise, I think we would both have missed an opportunity and perhaps risk spoiling some of the achievements that We have achieved in recent years in strengthening our defense industry.”

Defense: The EU’s Investment Deficit

With the support of the European Defense Agency (EDA), Commisession Provided on May 18 an analysis of investment gaps in terms of Defensive ability and how to respond to it. Thus, between 1999 and 2021, the EU’s combined defense spending increased by only 20%, compared to 66% for the United States, 292% for Russia and 592% for China. This shocking analysis reflects an incredible lack of political and strategic vision for European countries.

“Our defense industrial base is no longer adaptable or expanding today – in terms of size and rate – to the kind of high-density threats we face,” Thierry humbly explained on May 18. woods;

The observation made is quite striking when we look at the disparities in spending between the Union, the United States, Russia or China”, confirm in the Elysee. However, this is made clear to the Presidency of the Republic, It is not a question of entering an arms race, but on the other hand what this reveals is the lack of investment in recent years by most Europeans. in their defensive capacity.. Thus, first of all, the countries that ceded arms to Ukraine to rebalance the balance of power with Russia need to replenish their stockpile. The countries of the East should also make an effort to replace their outdated equipment, some of which date back to the Soviet era, “according to European capabilities”is estimated at the Elysee.

At the Elysee, this was confirmed after the Emirates Diplomatic Academy noted that Europe should strengthen itself in the field of anti-aircraft and anti-missile defense systems. Thus, France has only eight SAMP / T systems, baptized Mamba and equipped with eight missiles. Which is little, very little. In the face of SAMP / T, a program in cooperation between France and Italy, the Americans are offering Patriot missiles, which have already been purchased by seven European countries (Germany, Spain, Greece, the Netherlands, Poland, Romania and Sweden) while being commercially more expensive. Between Europe and the United States, Sweden, for example, chose the Patriot system in 2017 despite the high-quality European offer with a SAMP / T system armed with Aster missiles and above all 30% to 40% cheaper.

financial incentives

To convince countries that are reluctant to buy European arms, he The committee will provide financial support. It would like to create by summer a support instrument awarded with €500 million over two years topping the EU budget, allowing urgent joint access to the defense capabilities defined by the Task Force, set up by the Commission and the European Defense Agency. This “task force” will work with member states to facilitate coordination of short-term procurement, such as replenishment of ammunition stocks. In addition, states can take advantage of the exemption from value-added tax for the purchase of defense equipment within the community. This European initiative may make it possible to limit the purchase of equipment outside Europe. Because we already see in the Elysee “An increase in purchases outside the Union, which in the long run will lead to an increased dependence on other players, particularly the United States.”.

“We have there, in a particularly difficult strategic context, with capacity shortcomings that were outdated, but also urgent needs to replenish a certain number of stocks, a response from the Commission, and hopefully also, a response from the European Council endorsing these proposals. This is really a very important step. To deepen the European policy on the defense industry. We are really moving towards what we wanted, namely the implementation in joint procurement and the ambition to develop joint capabilities “, we emphasize at the Elysee.

In the medium and long term, the Commission should make a proposal “very quickly”, we explain in the Elysee. During the revision of the Multi-Year Financial Framework, the Commission envisages strengthening the budgets of the European Defense Fund (EDF) and military mobility thanks to the Connecting Europe Facility. In the Elysee, it is estimated that there are “Possibility of creating other financial incentives in addition to the European Defense Fund, or the use of the European Investment Bank”. On May 18, Thierry Breton was clear: “Make no mistake about it, what we are proposing is potentially very structural for European defence. There is no time to waste to implement it.”. The ball is clearly in the court of the European Council.