An agency of the EU

European defence cooperation in the second machine age

Brief - No14 - 26 April 2017

Andrea Gilli, Mauro Gilli

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Over the past year the EU has made important steps to strengthen collective security and address its two more pressing challenges. On the one hand, European countries need a broader – and thus more expensive and complex – portfolio of capabilities to address the newer and wider set of threats they are confronted with. On the other hand, different technological trends are undermining the leadership in weapons manufacturing European countries have long enjoyed.

According to existing plans, in order to address these challenges EU member states need to step up defence cooperation. Because of structural changes in both the strategic environment (demand) and the economics of defence (supply), when it comes to technology, procurement, and weapons manufacturing, there is a strong case for European countries to move beyond their traditional approach to defence cooperation, i.e. joint procurement of armaments programmes, and pursue new cooperative frameworks – at least where technological change has been more intense, rapid or disruptive.