MEPs urge COM to push ahead in opening up EU defence markets - Politics Forum.org | PoFo

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#987745
MEPs urge commission to push ahead in opening up EU defence markets

14.09.2006 - 17:36 CET | By Honor Mahony
EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS - MEPs are urging the European Commission to press ahead with opening up the internal market in defence to save Europe wasting millions of euros a year on duplication and protectionism.

A new report commissioned by the European Parliament's security and defence subcommittee estimates that although EU governments spend half (€250bn) the amount Americans spend on defence, their defence capacities are only about 10 percent as efficient as the US.


Pointing to the duplication in member states' defence programmes, the report, published on Thursday (14 September), notes that there are 23 parallel programmes for armoured vehicles, three new parallel programmes for combat aircraft and 89 European weapons programmes. The US, by contrast, has 27 programmes.

Centre-right German MEP Karl von Wogau, head of the defence committee, said "we encourage the European Commission to go forward and say how [European treaty rules] will be applied by them in the future."

At the moment, EU law excludes internal market rules being applied to the defence sector. Its wording is open to abuse by member states who, says the report, keep unprofitable businesses "artificially alive by state subsidies."

The current commission, which has indicated it is much more willing to tackle the issue than the previous commission, is drawing up a legal interpretation of the article exempting the defence sector (No. 296) to be published later this autumn.

It is also to propose a new law on coordinating national procedures for the procurement of defence goods (arms and munitions) and services.

Two allies
Europe's fragmentation in the defence market industry is well-documented but member states are notoriously reluctant to give up any powers to Brussels in this area - they only recently, and reluctantly, signed up to a non-binding code of conduct aimed at introducing more competition into defence procurement.

But although Mr Wogau concedes that the "key actors are the ministries of defence" and that the "impetus normally comes from the heads of state and government," he suggests that the commission has "two allies" working for it.

One is that European public opinion consistently shows itself to be in favour of the EU doing more on defence issues and the second is a lack of money in national defence coffers.

Governments have "empty pockets - they cannot afford to spend money in a sub-optimal way," says the MEP.

The report, by Dr Harmut Kuechle of the Bonn Center for Conversion, says MEPs should "support the commission's efforts with resolutions and initiatives" and make public when governments are not adhering to the code of conduct.

For his part, Mr Wogau also offers practical reasons for improving Europe's defence integration.

Giving an example, he says that due to chain of command duplication, French and German brigades have difficulty communicating.

"Death from friendly fire happens more easily [under these circumstances], notes the MEP.

He also says that the EU's battle groups, small battalions for fighting in trouble spots in the world - the idea was announced with great fanfare in 2003 - are also likely to have problems because of different procedures in member states.

"They really need common training before they go on a mission," says Mr Wogau.


We need to get serious on this. If the member states' governments cannot swallow their pride and promote a real common foreign & defence policy just yet, they should at least integrate in developement & procurement, if only for the sake of curbing the rediculous waste that's going on.
Last edited by ianulus on 18 Oct 2006 08:18, edited 1 time in total.
By ZeusIrae
#987892
It's progressing slowly but I think there will be progress in the area in the next 20 years.Probably nothing spectacular but it will be significant.We will have to be patient but I am confident the common defence will survive.
English euroskeptics are a good source on this http://eureferendum.blogspot.com/
User avatar
By Ombrageux
#987955
Yes! Yes! Yes!

There's no way any European nation, even the biggest about 1/5 the size of the US, can hope to have arms anywhere near as good as the US's without integration. The waste that goes on due to parallel research is phenomenal. At this stage, the only European nation with a reasonable independent arms industry is France, and that, mainly because her market isn't in fact the French military, but various more-or-less unsavoury regimes (historically, massive sales to Libya and Iraq for instance).

I hope they manage to make some progress in this area. Even though integrated research inevitably means national armies will lose the ability to fully determine their own nature/role, the savings will be phenomenal and will greatly increase the effectiveness of European armies.
User avatar
By ianulus
#988145
Even though integrated research inevitably means national armies will lose the ability to fully determine their own nature/role [...]

The ironic thing is that that's exactly the idea the EU was originally based on.
User avatar
By Ombrageux
#988184
The ironic thing is that that's exactly the idea the EU was originally based on.

It's true... spillover's been on ice since the Single Market and Euro were setup.
By Shade2
#989847
There's no way any European nation, even the biggest about 1/5 the size of the US, can hope to have arms anywhere near as good as the US's without integration

Why should we ? US already provides the neccessary equipment. It will spare EU costs if it will relay on American supplies.
User avatar
By ianulus
#989858
a) Look at the equipment that is being used at the moment and, more to the point, that is being or has recently been developed in EU states. There are too many systems for essentially the same tasks. That's the problem.

b) You mean we should pump european tax money into the american arms-keynesianism and high tech research & developement?
By Shade2
#989873
Look at the equipment that is being used at the moment and, more to the point, that is being or has recently been developed in EU states. There are too many systems for essentially the same tasks. That's the problem.

Exactly, we could save money and time by simply relaying on USA , since already it has the best equipment and technology.


b) You mean we should pump european tax money into the american arms-keynesianism and high tech research & developement?

USA already has established research and development programs, that EU doesn't have to repeat. AS EU and USA work together already it would make sense to give the responsibility of developing equipment to more advanced partner-that is the USA. The other option is repeating systems and institutions that already exist in USA, with the goal risking inefficiency.
EU is not a state, USA is and thus is more suited for such things.
User avatar
By ianulus
#989886
Exactly, we could save money and time by simply relaying on USA , since already it has the best equipment and technology.

And you expect them to give us the actual 'best equipment and technology'?

USA already has established research and development programs, that EU doesn't have to repeat. AS EU and USA work together already it would make sense to give the responsibility of developing equipment to more advanced partner-that is the USA. The other option is repeating systems and institutions that already exist in USA, with the goal risking inefficiency.

You didn't get the point. In keynesianism, public money is used to generate economic output. In this context, it would mean using european tax money to generate jobs & profit in the US. You want that?

As for the more advanced partner - I don't believe for a second, that the US is generally more advanced in high-tech than Europe. They are in military equipment, but that's because they pump rediculous amounts of money into their arms-keynesianism in a more focused manner. We should close that gap by the proposed measures as well as raising military expenditure a bit. Then I'm fine with cooperating & trading with them in military hardware.

EU is not a state [...]

Well, we should make it one.
By Shade2
#989896
And you expect them to give us the actual 'best equipment and technology'?

We shouldn't they. They do so with Great Britain,Poland and other allies. Trust is the foundation of every alliance.

In this context, it would mean using european tax money to generate jobs & profit in the US. You want that?

There are national tax payers.Europe isn't a state and it has no taxpayers. As for USA growth-sure if EU would help USA then it would be great partnership.
I don't believe for a second, that the US is generally more advanced in high-tech than Europe.

Romania ? Poland ? Bulgaria ? Moldovia ?

. They are in military equipment, but that's because they pump rediculous amounts of money into their arms-keynesianism in a more focused manner

Because they are a state. The choice is obvious, we should engage in partnership with USA rather then waste money.

We should close that gap by the proposed measures as well as raising military expenditure a bit

This is unneeded and wastefull. We can provide equipment by simply buying it from USA. In Poland USA already engages in fruitfull partnerships by buying up factories and labs.There is no reason why it shouldn't happen in Germany, France, Spain. All shall benefit.

Then I'm fine with cooperating & trading with them in military hardware.

EU can't make such decisions, as it isn't a central institution. The decision is in the hands of national governments.

Well, we should make it one.

There is no need for this. It would only satisfy nostalgic dreams of Empire making in Germany and France. EU has proven to be run in inefficient way and a state would be a nightmare.Besides they are too deep cultural and historic divisions to accept such creation.
User avatar
By ianulus
#989944
We shouldn't they. They do so with Great Britain,Poland and other allies. Trust is the foundation of every alliance.

And a healthy dose of distrust is the foundation of any realistic approach to politics. Relying only on american arms means creating a dependency that is likely to be used to put pressure on us in some other issue. I don't want Europe to be a US sattellite (or a bunch of US sattellites).

There are national tax payers.Europe isn't a state and it has no taxpayers.

Don't put words in my mouth. I didn't imply Europe was a state.

As for USA growth-sure if EU would help USA then it would be great partnership.

Yes, a partnership where on one side people give part of their hard earned money to generate jobs & profits for the other. Remember that any foreign bought weapon system means less jobs at home.

Romania ? Poland ? Bulgaria ? Moldovia ?

What I meant by that was that countries like France, Germany and the UK are every bit as capable to develope advanced weapons as the US is. That means that, were european R&D efforts in that field to be integrated, high-tech equipment would be availible to Romania, Poland and Bulgaria too.

The choice is obvious, we should engage in partnership with USA rather then waste money.

You're not arguing for partnership, you're arguing for dependency, and sacraficing a load of freedom of action in the process.

In Poland USA already engages in fruitfull partnerships by buying up factories and labs.There is no reason why it shouldn't happen in Germany, France, Spain. All shall benefit.

Do you know anything about the political nature of the US defence industry? They'd never do any of their own R&D and manufacture abroad. Period.

EU can't make such decisions, as it isn't a central institution. The decision is in the hands of national governments.

Along with my federalist conviction, I believe we should give it that authority. Apart from that, I didn't say it already had it, I described a personal attitude. Don't twist other people's words into what you want to hear.

There is no need for this. It would only satisfy nostalgic dreams of Empire making in Germany and France.

Gee, you almost sound like a russian. I'd loose the excessive paranoia if I were you. But seriously, the EU in it's current form has already proven that neither France nor Germany or indeed any other country can impose its beliefs on others.

EU has proven to be run in inefficient way and a state would be a nightmare.

Unfounded prediction. A majority of europeans want the EU to be more democratic and accountable. The biggest obstacle to that are actually national governments that want to loose any of their power or the EU as useful scapegaot.

Besides they are too deep cultural and historic divisions to accept such creation.

Perhaps you want there to be, but you're wrong.
By Piano Red
#989996
And a healthy dose of distrust is the foundation of any realistic approach to politics. Relying only on american arms means creating a dependency that is likely to be used to put pressure on us in some other issue. I don't want Europe to be a US satellite (or a bunch of US sattellites).


That doesn't mean inputting so much distrust that it destabilizes the integrity of an alliance. The US has never shown any real vested interest in making Europe dependent on it in the past or present and has worked with a number of it's allies on joint ventures. It never ceases to amaze me how some Europeans balk at the idea of trans-atlantic cooperation with the US as always being a veil to become dependent.

What I meant by that was that countries like France, Germany and the UK are every bit as capable to develope advanced weapons as the US is.


They'd have the potential to if they were willing to actually invest in such ventures (which they don't), nor have any of them ever been as efficient, as the article mentions.

That means that, were european R&D efforts in that field to be integrated, high-tech equipment would be availible to Romania, Poland and Bulgaria too.


It definitely wouldn't be over night, it takes up to and a little over a decade in most cases for a state to build up a good military-industrial complex. So if such integration were to occur none of those countries would see any results as others would and in all likelihood would have to spend a lot of money to develop such infrastructure within their own borders.

Do you know anything about the political nature of the US defence industry? They'd never do any of their own R&D and manufacture abroad. Period.


*Points to the Abrams tank, Harrier Jump jet, JSF, and numerous other joint projects the US has worked on with European nations*

Gee, you almost sound like a russian. I'd loose the excessive paranoia if I were you. But seriously, the EU in it's current form has already proven that neither France nor Germany or indeed any other country can impose its beliefs on others.


If you're talking about the overwhelming rejection of the EU Constitution and the huge bureaucratic red-tape found over the CAP and other EU politics then i'd be inclined to agree.

Unfounded prediction. A majority of europeans want the EU to be more democratic and accountable. The biggest obstacle to that are actually national governments that want to loose any of their power or the EU as useful scapegaot.


Weren't you just talking about European nations becoming too dependent?
User avatar
By ianulus
#990022
The US has never shown any real vested interest in making Europe dependent on it in the past or present and has worked with a number of it's allies on joint ventures. It never ceases to amaze me how some Europeans balk at the idea of trans-atlantic cooperation with the US as always being a veil to become dependent.

Neither did I say that nor did I try to imply anything of the sort. The point is that relying entirely on US iports for defence, which Shade2 called for, would make us dependant even whithout you actively doing anything to that end.

They'd have the potential to if they were willing to actually invest in such ventures (which they don't), nor have any of them ever been as efficient, as the article mentions.

I'd contest the 'have ever been' allegation, but given the current situation, that's exactly what I was saying the problem is.

It definitely wouldn't be over night, it takes up to and a little over a decade in most cases for a state to build up a good military-industrial complex. So if such integration were to occur none of those countries would see any results as others would and in all likelihood would have to spend a lot of money to develop such infrastructure within their own borders.

True, but the more advanced european countries already have a decent military-industrial complex, especially in R&D. The less advanced countries wouldn't actually need all the infrastructure within their own borders to have access to advanced equipment (they indeed have other worries at the moment), so building infrastructure there could be done on a more leisurely timetable.

*Points to the Abrams tank, Harrier Jump jet, JSF, and numerous other joint projects the US has worked on with European nations*

That's why I said "their own R&D and manufacture". Remember, Shade2 called for importing all military hardware from the US. Honestly, do you think the american people would accept entirely US funded arms developement to be conducted abroad?

If you're talking about the overwhelming rejection of the EU Constitution and the huge bureaucratic red-tape found over the CAP and other EU politics then i'd be inclined to agree.

That's exactly what I was talking about, and I blame national governments refusing to surrender some power to more democratic institurions for large parts of that mess.

Weren't you just talking about European nations becoming too dependent?

I would like the polity I live in and have a say in to not be dependant on other nations. Integrating my nation into a larger polity with democratic institutions is no contradiction to that if it follows the principle of subsidiarity.
User avatar
By Ombrageux
#990197
Personally, I just think the United States is unreliable. Pure and simple. Their foreign policy is erratic, emotional and dangerous. Some periods going into self-imposed isolationism and limiting their military romps to Latin America, other times going on self-appointed crusades around the world.

From an economic point of view, some European arms industries (particularly French and Franco-German ventures) do succesfully compete with American ones abroad. To simply surrender that industry to the United States... well, Europe is in a bad enough economic situation without surrending whole industries to the United States.

The other thing is, European countries will always have some military RND spending. Whatever spending there is (outside of the nuclear sphere, probably) might as well be communal.
User avatar
By Zel
#990297
Well there are several areas in which European military techology is on par with that of the US or specializes in areas the US have no successful programs for. iE the new UHs the US will be buying are from Eurocopter (while they will be produced in the US to ensure not getting dependent on European equipment and assure Sikorsky a share of the arms deal).

Europe would be very badly adviced if it dropped its own weapons manufacturers. Apart from hundreds of thousands of jobs beeing there having the capability to develop independently equipment for ones own need is paramount for any country. European armies lack in several areas and are totaly worthless in others but just giving away the decission making capability of how we want to develop them is just ridiculous.

And whatever the US is a partner to be trusted or not is not of the question. Becoming dependent on their arms industry even more than today just means that we get into a weaker and weaker position if voicing relevant concern. In the end Europe becomes another deputy of sheriff Uncle Sam.

On the oposite what is needed is a strong emphasis to bring down single national interests to one cohesive development and interoperability strategy within the EU. Which if done right and acompanied with structural reforms may safe us quite some money for more efficiency. Though one should not forget the fact that the buildup of military capabilities has to be accompanied with the further development of civilian capabilities as thats the real strong point of EU security policies.
By ZeusIrae
#990310
It never ceases to amaze me how some Europeans balk at the idea of trans-atlantic cooperation with the US as always being a veil to become dependent.


Because we already are,and we're seeing the results for the last five years.The white house doesn't give a damn about our opinions on matter that concern us in priority (Middle east),it wants obediants sattelites that buy its weapon and say "yes sir" every time the US need it for one of their fantasies (greater middle east).
After Iraq,I don't understand how could any european think dependence from the americans in security matters is good.
It's the european countries that are witin range of Iranian missiles not Washington.
User avatar
By dannymu
#990321
It's the european countries that are witin range of Iranian missiles not Washington.

US military bases in Kuwait, Afghanistan, Iraq, Qatar, etc are also under range of Iranian missiles. You have just given one more reason why Europe should ally with teh US on defence matters in cases like Iran.
By Shade2
#990334
. I don't want Europe to be a US sattellite (or a bunch of US sattellites).

And I don't want EU to be a Franco-German protectorate.
Yes, a partnership where on one side people give part of their hard earned money to generate jobs & profits for the other.

Right now Poles are generating jobs and profits for EU. EU in return gives us fines, and people from Germany, England are buying up our house market, making it impossible to buy homes for Poles.

That means that, were european R&D efforts in that field to be integrated, high-tech equipment would be availible to Romania, Poland and Bulgaria too.

Poland has its own R&D on pair of that of France or Germany in some areas. I see no reason to rely on countries that have proved several times they are hostile to interests of Poland.

You're not arguing for partnership, you're arguing for dependency, and sacraficing a load of freedom of action in the process.

USA won't try to abolish our state. France and Germany are trying though.

They'd never do any of their own R&D and manufacture abroad.

Maybe they don't trust France and Germany, because already Polish firms are engaged in R&D with USA defence firms.

I believe we should give it that authority.

You're arguing for dependency, and sacraficing a load of freedom of action in the process.

neither France nor Germany or indeed any other country can impose its beliefs on others.

They already did. For example despite majority of people in Poland supporting death penalty, it is imposible to do so. In fact even discussion about it is forbidden. Of course we aren't dominated yet completely, but that would happen if their dreams about Franco-German hegamony in Europe would be realised.

Unfounded prediction.

Founded on past experience of EU and proposed solutions, that increase inefficiency.

A majority of europeans want the EU to be more democratic and accountable.

There are no "europeans" they are Poles, Germans, Spaniards.
In any poll of "europeans" the fact that Germany and France have bigger population will give distorted results, because opinion in other country will be drastically different from average answer in global "european" poll.

The biggest obstacle to that are actually national governments that want to loose any of their power or the EU as useful scapegaot.

National governments exist, because nations exist. Creating a state out of EU won't make nations and national interests disappear, in such state big nations will gradually dominate the smaller ones. Similiar things happened in the past. For example in Silesia, Ukraine, Lithuania etc.

Perhaps you want there to be, but you're wrong.

http://www.anneapplebaum.com/politics/2 ... _bush.html
Only Warsaw, a city Bush is visiting on Friday, towards the end of his European tour, makes a curious exception to this pan-European wave of hatred for the American president and his foreign policy. There may be a demonstrator or two here as well - not long ago, a nineteen-year-old Polish anarchist threw a well-aimed egg at former President Clinton. But the fact is that the current centre-right Polish government bears no particular grudge against Bush's centre-right adminstration. Broadly, the Poles support American foreign policy - in Iraq, in Kosovo, probably on missile defense - perhaps because the Poles have no special qualms about American domestic policy either. The current Polish government is also committed to cutting taxes; abortion is already more or less illegal here anyway; a political party calling itself "Law and Justice," led by the tough-talking justice minister, is at the moment surging upwards in the opinion polls. And aren't American domestic policies really what this otherwise inexplicable wave of anti-Americanism is all about?
Image
European countries are very far from each other on that chart.
User avatar
By Zel
#990344
@Shade2

Its not like Poland was forced to join the EU it applied by itself, went through the whole adoption and accession process by its own will and in the end the Polish people voted yes on the question whatever it should join or not.
Its up to you whatever you want to be a partner within the EU or a satelite of the US. To my knowledge your compatriots and politicians have already decided on that question.

And whereever that graph comes from, having France closer to Vietnam than to most Central European nations is just rediculous.
By Shade2
#990349
Its not like Poland was forced to join the EU it applied by itself, went through the whole adoption and accession process by its own will and in the end the Polish people voted yes on the question whatever it should join or not.

There was hardly a choice in that decision. And the vote was regarding specific conditions. There was nothing about making a state or adopting a constitution in that vote.
Its up to you whatever you want to be a partner within the EU or a satelite of the US.

The rabid anti-americanism in failed empire-making states like France and Germany clouds many judgments. Nobody is a partner in EU, all are fighting with each other for power and money.
I rather would like Poland to be a partner with USA then EU protectorate.

And whereever that graph comes from, having France closer to Vietnam than to most Central European nations is just rediculous.

France is very distant in terms of values to Central Europe.
It has a large muslim population, is devoted to secularism, and infected by anti-americanism.
http://www.religioustolerance.org/rel_rate.htm
53% of Americans consider religion to be very important in their lives. This compares with 16% in Britain, 14% in France and 13% in Germany.
http://www.egospodarka.pl/14902,Polacy- ... ,39,1.html
Dla 77 procent Polaków religia jest ważna w życiu
For 77 percent of Poles religion is important in life.

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