Defense: European Commission unveils its project to rearm continent

Brussels wants to promote cooperation between the twenty-seven member states for development and weapons acquisitions.


Neither Barack Obama nor even Donald Trump had arrived there, but Vladimir Putin will involuntarily succeed: by triggering a war at their borders, on February 24, the Russian president brutally incited European leaders to reinvest in the defense . “Europe is in danger. War is on our doors. NATO created a false feeling of comfort,” said the high representative for foreign and security policy on Wednesday May 18, Josep Borrell. He presented, with the commissioner in the internal market and the defense industry, Thierry Breton, a vast project for what he calls “not a rearmament, but the end of silent disarmament”. This was asked in March the heads of state and government gathered in Versailles.

The plan, based on a report by the European Defense Agency (AED), aims to catch up with lost time, reconstruct stocks, to remedy certain deficiencies, to support industry and to ensure, in the medium term, the reset of the union. The Commission also tries to relaunch an idea which is anything but new: cooperation between the member states for development and the acquisitions of armaments, in order to avoid unnecessary expenses and scattering. In fact, while the United States has only one tank model, Europe has twelve, quips Mr. Borrell.

The subject is vast: at present, only 11 % of the investments of the twenty -seven are made in common, very far from the objective – prudent – which had been formulated within the framework of the “cooperation cooperation policy permanent structured “for defense, 35 %.

Establish strategic priorities

Between 1999 and 2021, European defense expenses increased by 20 %, 66 % in the United States, 292 % in Russia and 592 % in China. The overall budget of European states, however, is around Beijing and is four times higher than that of Moscow. But the question of the effectiveness of their armies is asked and, in total, some 1,300 billion investment, including 270 billion for capacities, have not been carried out since the beginning of the century. They would have been if the 21 European States members of NATO had reached the target of 2 % of the domestic product devoted to defense. A dozen of them are still very far from it. France, on the other hand, has achieved this objective, just like Greece, Poland, the Baltic States and Portugal, among others.

Invest more, better and in a “European sense”, acquire equipment together with a view to obtaining economies of scale, establishing strategic priorities, supporting the industrial basis of the continent, developing research-development: the ambition is great. To translate it into acts, the Commission expects the shock caused by the invasion of Ukraine. In any case, it has already encouraged twenty-seven to program 200 billion euros in spending for the next few years.

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/Media reports.