Towards an EU Defense Market

The European Parliament just ratified an agreement reached in one of the last ministerial meetings of the French EU presidency that essentially reduced a number of barriers to the emergence of a true European defense market. And depending on what the details of the Gaza ceasefire look like, French President Nicolas Sarkozy just might have succeeded in including an EU defense component in the implementation phase. Both would be major successes on one of Sarkozy’s priority dossiers.

On the down side, as Jean-Dominique Merchet reports over at Secret Défense, delivery of the EADS-built A400M has been delayed yet again. The communiqué talked about deliveries “around three years” after the first flight, which has not yet been scheduled. The A400M is meant to fill the urgent need for strategic airlift, a gap that has in the past forced the EU to depend on loaners from NATO and even subcontractors and in order to project force. But calling the program a disaster would be charitable. Meanwhile, EADS in general is a pretty good illustration of a model that any eventual integrated EU defense industry should avoid at all costs.

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