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Towards a European Weapons Procurement Process

01 June 1997
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Changes in the post-Cold War strategic landscape have, among other things, affected WEU countries' Defence Industrial and Technological Base (DITB). The further evolution of WEU, with respect to the recently defined EU reform and that impending in NATO, heightens the importance of solving the problems hampering European armaments cooperation, which directly affects WEU's operational capabilities. The adoption of mechanisms for shaping common military requirements remains the essential stepping stone. WEU's 'Petersberg tasks' and the mission profiles spurred by NATO's CJTFs form the politico-military backdrop. Unlike the Cold War scenarios, cooperative security now requires the 'out-of-area' deployment of forces for humanitarian and interposition purposes. The need to develop a multiplicity of weapons systems in such a changed, complex operational environment will in the short term affect the operational capabilities of multinational coalitions. In the longer term, the very survival of the European DITB and the quality of the transatlantic relationship itself might be jeopardized.