One hundred billion euros were given almost entirely to the Americans (63%) and South Koreans (10%). With the war in Ukraine, the Europeans rearmed with this amount, taking care not to buy continental products. The latest data from the European Defense Agency is worrying: joint procurement of “Made in Europe” items is only €7.9 billion, almost half (18%) of what would be necessary to achieve the already limited ambitious target of 35% for infrastructure. European.
Things are even worse for joint technology research: only 7% is being carried out synergistically, one of the lowest levels ever recorded, and the opposite of what was agreed in the past (20%). In fact, this percentage represents a decrease compared to about 14% in 2008. Today, almost all of the money in European military budgets (more than 250 billion euros) is wasted on cross-border purchases. A contradiction that impoverishes the foundation of the future, because the sector’s industry, if it is directed exclusively for peaceful and defensive purposes, is a driving force. It employs 54% engineers and managers, 30% technicians and administrators, and 16% workers. It conducts research that promises wealth and gains in terms of productivity and innovation.
Instead, we trample them, at a time when crises are increasing that pressure the borders, even at the technological and industrial level. They should encourage the 27 countries to adopt an ambitious, cooperative and strategic agenda, but they are divided on everything: There are 27 national arms purchasing agencies; 27 different cybercrime centers; 27 plans for artificial intelligence and the same number for hydrogen and quantum studies, tomorrow’s frontiers. We proceed in no particular order. Where is the single market? As for weapons, the treaties exempt from society’s method and impose nothing. The conflict in Ukraine has interrupted ongoing efforts, highlighting divisions and disagreements. In Paris, the creation of an independent European army was called for, with the unrecognized dream of France, the primary supplier of equipment and orders; In Berlin, Rome, Warsaw and other capitals, the army is subject to NATO.
The fact that Sweden and Finland used fake cards to join NATO testifies to the inadequacy of the defense clause stipulated in the European treaties, the necessity of NATO, and the fragility of the Americans’ European Union. Reversing this trend will be difficult because the Franco-German engine, which is much richer in terms of resources, is broken. The British newspaper The Guardian also sounded the alarm in recent days, for many reasons. For more than a year, the Franco-German Parliamentary Assembly remained in limbo. Military programs are affected, starting with the revolutionary tank plan: after three years of retreat, the French and Germans have not reached any common position, neither at the industrial level, nor at the operational level, nor at the level of the future tasks of the armed forces. Mediation. Macron and Schulz promised to break the impasse in light of the upcoming bilateral summit.
But the requirements of their armies varied so much that if it ever saw the light, the tank would be manufactured in two versions: one for the French and the other for the Germans. Which will lead to more complexity, high costs, and a lack of benefits of scale. Since it is difficult to agree between two people, let alone the task facing the Commission when it tries to unify the visions of the 27 countries. This was also noted by the Czech President, who in recent days called for the relaunch of a symmetrical European pillar. To NATO, which is especially urgent if the Republicans led by Donald Trump win in America.
At the third European Conference on European Defense and Security, which opened on October 10, Commissioner Breton called on partners to “draw consequences from the paradigm shift imposed by the war in Ukraine.” We must equip ourselves with “a new strategy for the defense industry, clear, linear and fast,” Breton added. He went so far as to conjure a control room for “the defense fund that plans and programmes.” Among its goals also is the creation of a joint infrastructure for “early warning of cyberattacks,” a “federal” shield for “satellites, and another shield for the air and missile threat.” The commissioner added: Why don’t we equip ourselves with a “European aircraft carrier?” Imaginary projects, especially the last one, noting that Italy, France and Spain are the only ones that have naval air capabilities, and they differ in that.
Europe today seems helpless. The Erib program turned out to be a throwback: it allowed massive purchases of aircraft, armored vehicles, missiles and artillery, but in very few cases was it the Continental war industry that benefited from it. In 2035, 50% of the European warplane fleets will be in the hands of the American company Lockheed Martin (F-16 and F-35). Airbus and Dassault will share the crumbs. The Germans are playing ambiguously: they say they are working with the French and Spanish on a sixth-generation aircraft (Scaf), and then they buy F-35s, destroying the synergy. They left the Tigre consortium to buy a new helicopter with the French. They were involved with Paris in a program for a new offshore patrol ship, but preferred to look outward (Poseidon).
When, at the beginning of the year, they launched a plan to create an anti-aircraft shield covering Europe, they could have bought French-Italian products and instead the umbrella, which was opened to 18 countries, would once again speak in the American language (Patriot). Israeli (Arrow-3) and German (Iris-t). Poland is no exception: Its suppliers are all American and South Korean. Warsaw prefers Apache and Chinook aircraft produced by Boeing over French Airbus helicopters. It is a giant base with stars and stripes: it has established a military association for enhanced cooperation with the United States of America; It welcomes the Marines and houses the headquarters of the US V Corps. How can we be surprised that he is also heading to the other side of the Atlantic for weapons?
Evil unites many. In the past seven years, US sales in Europe through Washington’s foreign military sales intervention mechanism have generated approximately €180 billion, of which 20-30 invoices are in Poland (aircraft, missiles, tanks), 7 in Belgium (aircraft, missiles) and 5 in Romania (tanks). and missiles). In Washington, they were so happy about this that on September 25 the State Department granted its loyal Polish ally a new $2 billion loan to buy more weapons, all purely American. The Commission and the European Defense Agency are working hard to encourage member states to invest “together, better, in a European way”.
Alarmed by Russian revanchism, Joseph Borrell was clear on May 8, 2022: “It is time to get serious about European defence.” Inane words. Last fall, his offices bitterly launched another defense investment program (EDIP), with the idea of creating cooperative consortia that would design and manufacture “European” weapons exempt from value-added tax. But without restrictions on their purchase, all these measures will not reduce the structural weaknesses of the continental industry. They will be like stones in the sea. The base is fragmented. Ownership structures in European companies are self-competitive and heterogeneous, with family firms in Germany, a strong state presence in France and Italy, and listed industries in the United Kingdom. Airbus, KNDS and MBDA are rare successful integration cases. The overall series is not very European. Capitalist relations do not have a continental dimension, and transatlantic relations are unbalanced in favor of the United States, which owns large shares in our companies without any compensation. Worse still, our industry depends on exports for its survival, and this is not a good thing: the sale of arms should, if not be cancelled, at least halted.
What is at stake is a key sector for Europe, for its 200,000 employees and more than 315,000 employees in related industries, for research and development, internal trade and state investment in deprived areas. However, even the White Paper on Mutual Defence, adopted immediately after the Russian invasion, does not seem able to address the woes of a struggling EU, too vulnerable to the tyranny of the tyrants of the day and to the good intentions of Europe’s population. The White House, the last resort in case of assault.
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