Keeping up with the emerging European Defence Union: synchronising third country participation

Research Paper
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Themes
Europe  Defence
Written by

Steven Blockmans

Director, CEPS

Summary:

Years of underspending combined with off-the-shelf weapons deliveries to support the Ukrainian armed forces has confronted EU countries with a threefold challenge: to replenish stockpiles; replace obsolete Soviet era equipment; and reinforce the innovation of new capabilities. As a matter of urgency, member states have dramatically increased their defence spending, while the EU institutions have proposed a raft of new policy instruments to invest, develop and procure in a joined-up manner. There is now a serious opportunity for member states to meet old and new pledges by overhauling the EU’s defence industrial and innovation regime. But they shouldn’t do so in splendid isolation. The direct involvement of third countries will be necessary to coordinate priorities, foster the transfer of technology and materials, screen for investments by strategic rivals, and monitor the end-use of military capabilities developed across value chains. EU rules and conditions for third country participation in defence industrial and technological cooperation should be developed in such way so as not to signal to the US, Canada, Norway, Japan and other allies and like-minded countries that their companies are no longer welcome on the EU’s emerging single defence market. To suggest otherwise would neither be good for the future competitiveness of the European industry nor for the protection of the EU’s security interests.

  • Published year: 2022
  • Full version:
  • Publisher: Norwegian Institute of International Affairs
  • Page count: 11
  • Language: English
  • Volume: 2-2022
  • Journal: NUPI Research Paper