The Extra-EU Defence Exports’ Effects on European Armaments Cooperation

20-04-2015

Are exports made to countries outside of the European Union (EU) impeding European cooperation in armaments? Although the numbers vary significantly from one country to another, the European Defence Technological and Industrial Base (EDTIB) now collectively derives an important share of its collective turnover from extra-EU export sales. Accordingly, EU Member states devote important political, financial and administrative resources to support and promote their national producers in major competition overseas. The current scarcity of common European programmes, and the limited impacts of recently introduced legislation designed to harmonize national defence procurement rules and to facilitate intra-EU transfers, could indicate that extra-EU exports are detrimental to European cooperation on weapons projects. This negative effect would primarily come from introducing greater levels of competition between European companies creating greater tensions, which are not conducive to cooperation on the EU level. The study finds that there is indeed a correlation between competition for major foreign markets and difficulties of intra-EU cooperation but makes the analysis that extra-EU exports are more a symptom of structural constraints faced by major suppliers, such as the weakness of defence spending in European countries, and the persistence of fragmentation and duplication of production capabilities.

Are exports made to countries outside of the European Union (EU) impeding European cooperation in armaments? Although the numbers vary significantly from one country to another, the European Defence Technological and Industrial Base (EDTIB) now collectively derives an important share of its collective turnover from extra-EU export sales. Accordingly, EU Member states devote important political, financial and administrative resources to support and promote their national producers in major competition overseas. The current scarcity of common European programmes, and the limited impacts of recently introduced legislation designed to harmonize national defence procurement rules and to facilitate intra-EU transfers, could indicate that extra-EU exports are detrimental to European cooperation on weapons projects. This negative effect would primarily come from introducing greater levels of competition between European companies creating greater tensions, which are not conducive to cooperation on the EU level. The study finds that there is indeed a correlation between competition for major foreign markets and difficulties of intra-EU cooperation but makes the analysis that extra-EU exports are more a symptom of structural constraints faced by major suppliers, such as the weakness of defence spending in European countries, and the persistence of fragmentation and duplication of production capabilities.