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Strategic investment: making geopolitical sense of the EU's defence industrial policy

13 December 2019
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This Chaillot Paper focuses on new EU initiatives in the defence domain – in particular the creation of the European Defence Fund – and on the Union’s evolving role and engagement in this sector. The paper seeks to address three specific questions: (i) how can economic and political factors be balanced in EU defence industrial policy?; (ii) what strategic considerations are driving forward defence innovation investments at the EU level?; and (iii) how can the Union’s institutions ensure that investments in defence innovation evolve into tangible capabilities for EU defence?

Cautioning against an exclusively economic interpretation of why the EU should invest in the European defence industry, the paper argues that the political dimension of capability development should not be overlooked. It also analyses how the EU’s future defence investments should be seen in light of changes to the global defence market and shifting geopolitical trends.