The technical limits of the EU. Europe’s defense economy as a driving force for strategic autonomy and technological sovereignty
Working Paper 117 / December 2023
The Working Paper delves into the European Union’s defense sector’s evolution and current challenges, underscoring the urgency for strategic autonomy and technological sovereignty. It provides a historical backdrop of EU defense initiatives, highlighting the significant influence of recent geopolitical shifts, notably the conflict in Ukraine, on the EU’s defense strategies and industrial landscape. The fragmentation of the European defense market, rising equipment costs, and hefty R&D expenses undermining competitiveness and innovation are identified as key challenges. The author focuses on the war in Ukraine as a catalyst for a consolidated defense equipment market and a surge in military expenditures and defense investments among EU nations. He scrutinizes EU’s measures to foster innovation and integration in the defense market while grappling with national protectionism and divergent member state interests. Conclusively, the report advocates for an autonomous European defense capability as crucial for tackling both longstanding and emerging crises and threats. It underscores the imperative of a harmonized defense approach within the EU, highlighting its significance for the region’s stability and security.
CSDP; EDA; EDF; European Defence Union; Strategic Autonomy; Ukraine