Original English version published on November 7, 2022 atEuropean activities
If Europe really wants to build a common defense industry to meet future challenges and position itself as a credible player in the international security arena, European countries must increase the amount of joint action and funding allocated to Europe.
Since the outbreak of the Ukraine war, most EU countries have announced their intention to increase military spending. Growth is estimated to be around EUR 200 billion over the next few years.
The increase in defense budgets of EU member states is both an opportunity and a challenge for the EU.
In an article we published in April 2022, we emphasized that Member States should avoid hasty decisions at the national level and should not prioritize only short-term solutions. The immediate priority, of course, is to replenish its ammunition stockpile and address the immediate needs created by the war in Ukraine. however, member states must also take a longer-term view, which is important for building an effective defense industry in a competitive environment European Defense Industrial Technology Base
(…) Yes, we must strengthen the EU’s military capabilities, but at the same time this must be done without weakening BITDE and without increasing our dependence.
To this end, member states need to deepen cooperation and coordination among themselves and with NATO partners. In addition, the EU must support it by strengthening incentives. Otherwise, the new resources made available to countries could lead to further fragmentation of BITDE.
To meet this challenge, in May 2022, the European Commission and the European Defense Agency (EDA) joined forces to create a new financial instrument to encourage member states to collectively purchase weapons. The first tool is Joint Acquisition Act
(EDIRPA), created to respond in the short term. It has a budget of 500 million euros for the next two years (2023-2024), scheduled to be adopted by the end of 2022. The new law paves the way for a second tool, the European Defense Investment Program
(EDIP), which provides a longer-term vision and more funding. The plan is expected to be passed in 2023 and come online in 2024.
There is no doubt that these moves are a step in the right direction. However, the fears we expressed in the previous article have at least partially come true. Very often, assessments of member states’ equipment policies are carried out almost exclusively within the national framework. In addition, the prevalence of short-term views undermines longer-term perspectives. On the other hand, it can be said that they give too much priority to the purchase of already available standard equipment or domestic development and production.
In the short term, therefore, EDIRPA’s projected €500 million is nothing compared to the €200 billion that member states will spend on re-equipping their armed forces over the next few years. And, as if that wasn’t enough, the meager incentive will come into effect 10 months after the war in Ukraine.
The EU must step up and speed up its activities to prevent these measures from becoming irrelevant. However, EDIRPA is an unprecedented mechanism: no other law at European level encourages member states to engage in collective procurement.
Furthermore, in the medium to long term, it is necessary to avoid the procurement of standard equipment that is already available in the short term, as there is a risk of exhausting the funds needed to develop future projects. This only increases Europe’s dependence on non-European teams. In short: yes, we must strengthen the EU’s military capabilities, but at the same time this must be done without weakening EDTIB and without increasing our dependence. At this juncture, the EU must ensure that at least substantial funding is allocated to EDIP and increasedEuropean Defense Fund
another important initiative launched in 2017 to support collaborative research and development projects in the defense sector. this
The mid-term review of the MYFF in 2023 presents a valuable opportunity. But everything was in the hands of the Member States because the final decision on the budget of EDIRPA and EDIP corresponded to them.
An agreement is urgently needed, for which it is desirable that the Franco-German engines should start working again. Finally, European countries should also take advantage of these initiatives to immediately initiate collective defense planning and procurement processes at the European level. Such a process must reliably articulate capability planning at the national level and meet EU and NATO military requirements.