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9 juin 2015 2 09 /06 /juin /2015 17:50
European defence-industrial cooperation: from Keynes to Clausewitz

02 Jun 2015 by Daniel Fiott - Global Affairs

The European Union is still far from having a consolidated defence market but the European Defence Technological and Industrial Base (EDTIB) has emerged as a policy framework through which to liberalize and regulate defence markets, protect and sustain jobs and to improve the interoperability of Europe's armed forces; all at the EU level. This article argues that a purely economic rationale for defence-industrial cooperation is being reformulated to include also questions of strategic relevance. Indeed, by charting the transition from a past policy framework called the European Defence Equipment Market (EDEM) to the EDTIB, the article examines the European Commission's role as a key driver in this policy evolution. This article shows how the European Commission is using dual-use technologies to increase its policy relevance in the defence-industrial policy milieu, but it also reaffirms the enduring role of the member states and the importance of national interests.


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1 décembre 2014 1 01 /12 /décembre /2014 12:50
The CSDP is dead, long live the CSDP?


26th November 2014  – by Daniel Fiott* - europeangeostrategy.org

It seems that ever since the infamous St. Malo summit between France and the United Kingdom (UK) in 1998 Europeans have been sorely disappointed with, or even deluded by, the European Union’s (EU) Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP). Far from the ambitions that followed the implosion of Yugoslavia, the CSDP has seemingly tapered-off into niche areas that are more concerned with training and police missions, or with security more broadly (rather than defence). In 2008 the EU deployed 3,700 military personnel to Chad; in 2012 it deployed 37 civilian experts to Juba International Airport in South Sudan. Surely something is sorely amiss. Civilian missions have their place but they point to the fact that Europeans – with the exception of France perhaps – have perhaps never seriously believed that the CSDP could serve as the basis for the EU’s hard power.

CSDP has seemingly tapered-off into niche areas

‘NATO is dead, long live NATO!’. With the economic exuberance of the 1990s and early 2000s, and the absence of any territorial threat, the Alliance was left to deal with Afghanistan. Yet, the core task of NATO has always been territorial defence. Putin has ensured this fact remains true today and, paradoxically, he has perhaps simultaneously brought about the swift felling of any hopes that the CSDP may one day provide for a l’Europe de defense. Important questions are being asked of Europeans both within NATO and the CSDP, yet Europeans appear to be drifting towards an l’Europe sans défense. Regardless of whether Europeans want to devote their energies to CSDP or NATO, any serious pledge to either or both entities will require far more political commitment than is present now.

There is no real point in reeling off decreasing  defence expenditure levels here as they are well-known. It is, however, rather more important to understand how the member states view the CSDP. France, for example, was originally the bulwark of autonomous European defence but its insistence on a pragmatic approach to CSDP and its reluctance to ultimately work militarily through the CSDP in Libya, Mali and the Central African Republic is indicative of a growing ambivalence towards the Policy. France cannot be blamed for its impatience with the CSDP, as most of the other EU member states have been dragging their feet for some time. And if France is growing weary of CSDP, should we really be surprised that the Policy has stalled? This is not to even speak of the British position.

Perhaps we have got it all wrong though. Perhaps CSDP was never really designed to bring about a l’Europe de defense. Could it not equally be all about institutional politics and national interests? Indeed, much energy has been expended on ensuring the EU puts in place a ‘comprehensive approach’ to its foreign policy (the myth here is, of course, that all foreign policy should be comprehensive). Yet this ‘approach’ has tended to result in self-serving political in-fighting over institutional design and territory, and ensuring that the tools the EU does use (whether soft or hard) largely complement member state interests. The British and Germans may want a softer CSDP but for very different reasons – for the UK a civilian approach asserts NATO’s primacy, for Germany such an approach avoids difficult questions about the use of military force.

Europeans appear to be heading towards an l’Europe sans défense 

Ambition has always been central to the CSDP. Let national and institutional politics get in the way and you are left with relatively small missions that barely make a dent in serious defence issues (e.g. EUTM Mali). If the CSDP cannot be wielded to deal with key politico-military issues in the EU’s immediate geographical spheres of interest, then talk of the EU ‘pivoting’ to Asia or playing a global role appear rightfully ludicrous. Perhaps these views are, however, overly negative. Maybe there is still some life left in the CSDP. Yet ascertaining how the member states now view the CSDP is challenging, and it is to the member states that one must look if one is to answer a critical question: is the CSDP still relevant?

In this spirit, over the coming weeks and months European Geostrategy will be publishing a special focus series entitled ‘National Perspectives and the CSDP’. European Geostrategy will be approaching key thinkers and policy-makers from across Europe for their opinions and analysis on where their country stands in relation to the future of the CSDP. The collection of articles are designed to inform the forthcoming June 2015 EU Council meeting on defence.

Maybe there is still some life left in the CSDP…

The series will be composed of stand-alone articles and collective articles that bring together the opinions of a host of experts from across Europe. Each article will be broadly structured so as to answer a number of central questions. Why, if at all, is the CSDP still important to the member states? How does CSDP help member states meet their national interests? What more could the member states do to further strength civil/military capability development within the CSDP? What mechanisms (e.g. permanent structured cooperation) could work to enable closer cooperation through CSDP? What do the member states think should become of the CSDP? Should it be a military alliance on a par with NATO or should it focus exclusively on civilian missions? What do the member states see as the main drivers and obstacles behind a more effective CSDP?

Such questions will form the backbone of each contribution and the intention is, once all the articles have been published, to write a concluding piece drawing together all the national perspectives. The articles published under the series are listed below. Do remember to keep checking www.europeangeostrategy.org for updates. On behalf of the Senior Editors, I sincerely hope you find the series of interest.


* Mr. Daniel Fiott is a Senior Editor of European Geostrategy. He is also a Researcher at the Institute for European Studies at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel. He writes here in a personal capacity.

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4 décembre 2013 3 04 /12 /décembre /2013 11:50
‘A numbers game’: the Council summit on defence


3rd December 2013  – by Daniel Fiott - europeangeostrategy.org


What is the reality of military spending in Europe? Who are the major industrial actors and why? What of European military capabilities? These are questions that the European Union (EU) Member States will deal with at the December 2013 European Council on the ‘State of Defence in Europe’. Academic and think-tank publications have been coloured with aspirations, likely conclusions and points of desperation. Yet little quantitative information has been fed into the debate. We now know the agenda, and the Member States will discuss: increasing the effectiveness, visibility and impact of CSDP; enhancing the development of capabilities; and strengthening defence industry. But how do we know the quantitative parameters that will frame these debate? By drawing on quantitative data reported to the European Defence Agency (EDA), Eurostat and the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) from 2011 – data after this period is presently incomplete –, this post aims to provide European Geostrategy’s readers with a brief overview of the quantitative contours of the debate in advance of the December meeting.

Military spending (2011)



Of the top seven military spenders in Europe, the United Kingdom (UK) is the highest spender on defence with €43.7 billion (£36.6 billion), with France (€38.5 billion – £32 billion), Germany (€33.8 billion – £28.1 billion), Italy (€21.7 billion – £18 billion), Spain (€10.1 billion – £8.4 billion), Netherlands (€8.2 billion – £6.8 billion) and Poland (€6.6 billion – £5.5 billion) following behind. This is significant given the NATO recommendation of requiring its members to spend a minimum of two percent of gross domestic product on their armed forces. Questions will always arise as to the effectiveness of such spending, especially if one considers inefficiencies such as over-spends and the fact that most military spending in Europe still goes to wage costs for personnel. Nevertheless, military spending is an important element in showing a commitment to the armed forces as an element of national policy. There are also tangible effects. The British have spent a proportion of their expenditure on new warships and aircraft carriers, which will go into maintaining a level of global force presence. Expect the British and the French to make an issue of military spending with their fellow Member States: the problem will be how they convince partners of the need to spend more on defence when so many of them are undergoing a period of fiscal and economic consolidation.

Government expenditure 2011

Other problems relate to two further issues. Firstly, the French announced in their 2013 White Paper that their national military spending will remain at approximately 1.5 percent of gross domestic product from 2015, and therefore no increase is foreseen – it is difficult to encourage other Member States to increase spending in this climate. Second, increasing military expenditure will be difficult given that other economic sectors continue to vie for a share of overall government expenditure. The above breakdown of EU27 defence spending as a total of government expenditure (2011) highlights the share of defence spending (€187 billion) as compared to other areas of government expenditure in the EU.

National spending on armaments (2011)

Defence equipment procurement expenditure 2011


Of the top seven national spenders on armaments equipment procurement in Europe, the French (€7.5 billion – £6.2 billion) come out on top, yet the UK (€6.8 billion – £5.6 billion) – a symptom of the demands of Afghanistan – and Germany (€5.8 billion – £4.8 billion) are close behind. Italy (€1.1 billion – £913 million) and Sweden (€966 million – £802 million) follow even further behind. The main tension on armaments equipment spending likely to emerge at the Council meeting will relate to where equipment is procured by the Member states and how much is in turn spent in collaborative projects at the European-level. In 2009 the European Commission adopted its Directives on intra-EU transfers of defence equipment and defence procurement. Expect some of the leading states to use these Directives to further open defence markets in Europe for the benefit of their own defence firms and suppliers.

Spending on European equipment collaboration (2011)European Collaboration 2011


Of the top six European spenders on European equipment collaboration, the Germany (€2.4 billion – £2 billion) invests more than any other EU Member State. Not much separates the UK (€1.7 billion – £1.4 billion), Italy (€1.5 billion – £1.2 billion) and France (€1.3 billion -£1.1 billion). Spain (€298 million – £247 million) and Belgium (€67.4 million – £56 million) are further behind. When compared to national armaments procurement spending, a number of disparities emerge; for example, France and the UK’s share of European-level spending is low when compared to Germany’s and Italy’s national-to-European ratio. The Council will attempt to showcase a number of bilateral military cooperation projects, including the British-French Lancaster Treaties and the BENELUX naval cooperation. Particular projects will also be highlighted including French-Italian naval cooperation on the FREMM Frigate, European Air Transport Command, the soon-to-be in service A400M, air-to-air refuelling capacities, remotely piloted aircraft systems (RPAS) and a Space Situational Awareness capability. It should be remembered that such capability projects do not necessarily reduce costs for the Member States. European cooperation on RPAS will entail a number of challenges, as will any discussion on the political reasons behind the failed BAE Systems-EADS merger.

Spending on defence research and development (2011)

Defence R&D 2011


The Council of the EU recognise that European levels of government investment into defence research and development is worryingly low. The ministers see defence research and development as a way to maintain and boost expertise, innovation and competitiveness in the defence sector. The problem, however, is that no workable ways of incentivising defence research and development investment among the Member States have been identified. Of the top six spenders on this in Europe in 2011, France (€3.3 billion – £2.7 billion) was the highest investor with the UK (€2.7 billion – £2.2 billion) and Germany (€1.1 billion – £913 million) in second and third place respectively. Defence research and development poses a number of challenges; member states have been keen to switch research and development investments to civilian sectors. Some have argued that this is a reflection of the European defence sector – e.g. greater development of dual-use technologies and the importance of small and medium-sized enterprises. While this may be a fair characterisation, Member States such as France and the UK recognise the importance of investment in military-specific research and development to maintain a technological and strategic edge.


Sustainable land forces (2011)Sustainable Land Forces 2011


Of the top seven European states with sustainable land forces, the French (29,444 troops) and the British (24,483) are European leaders. This is in keeping with their expeditionary posture since the end of the Cold War. Spain (7,850), Netherlands (5,050), Romania (2,953), Greece (2, 552) and Portugal (2,254) follow behind. Sustainable land forces will be another theme that emerges at the December Council meeting, especially in the discussions about the EU Battlegroups (EUBGs). Indeed, a key debate will be had on whether or not the Member States still see the EUBGs as a useful tool – more important will be the discussions on what purpose the EUBGs should serve in the wider framework of the EU’s Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP). The British and French will be gearing up for a contest to keep the EUBGs as a tool for rapid deployment, whereas some other countries may push for the EUBGs to play a role in the CSDP’s existing work on in-country training of security forces in third-countries. This move would attempt to feed the EUBGs into the civilian elements of the CSDP, and away from the initial ambition for the EUBGs to serve as the EU’s rapid reaction standby force.

Arms exporters (2011)

Arms Exports Value 2011


The issue of arms exports will be critical in the context of the European Council’s discussions in December. While national reporting on arms exports is restricted and therefore based solely on estimates by SIPRI, it is clear from the diagram that in 2011 France (€1.8 billion – £) was the leading exporter of arms globally. Germany (€888 million - £737 million), the UK (€788 million - £646 million), Italy (€770 million – £639 million), Spain (€683 million - £567 million) and Sweden (€505 million – £418 million) followed behind. An interesting development has occurred since 2011, with all the countries mentioned above lowering their exports in 2012. Significantly, Germany is now Europe’s largest exporter (€878 million – £729 million) followed by France (€ 838 million - £695 million), the UK (€635 million – £527 million), Italy (€623 million – £517 million), Spain (€530 million – £440 million) and Sweden (€364 million – £302 million). France have lost its footing and Spain has improved its position on global markets compared to Sweden. Politically the French will be using the European Council meeting to put greater emphasis on the need to review EU export rules in such a way as to boost European (read French) arms exporters. The 2013 French White Paper makes clear that the financial crisis, the development of emerging economies’ domestic arms industries and the American sequestration are hurting French exports. Looking to increase its relevance in defence policy, the European Commission will be a natural ally for France in pushing for reforms that will benefit the ‘European Defence Technological and Industrial Base’ and, thus, French industry.


• Most of the data has been taken from the EDA’s ‘Data Defence Portal’, with the figures coming from 2011. Unfortunately, more reliable recent figures are unavailable as the European Union member states have not as yet reported figures to the EDA beyond 2011. It should also be noted that not all member states have reported national data to the EDA in certain cases. The figures on arms exports come from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) database from 2011; although the original figures quoted by SIPRI are in United States dollars, the author has converted the figures to euros. The figures on total government expenditure come from Eurostat. For all notes on methodology, please consult the EDA, Eurostat and SIPRI websites respectively.

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