US wants in on EU defence projects to protect arms sales

  • Petr Boháček
  • 28.2.2018 13:26

According to a Reuters report from 27 February, the US government requested a robust involvement of NATO and non-EU members in European defence integration projects amid concerns that US arms industry interests in Europe could be hampered.

While the EU and NATO are working together to improve military mobility, or cyber and hybrid defence, the US repeats its unsubstantiated concerns over duplication and divergence between the North Atlantic Alliance and EU’s PESCO initiative. Bilateral US arms sales to Europe remain a key benefit for Washington for the Transatlantic relationship, which would be rivalled by the planned consolidation of European defence industrial base. Behind largely autonomous French, and to a lesser extent German defence industries, countries like Sweden or Italy remain heavily dependent on US arms and technology. Involving non-EU partners in European defence integration, including the UK in the future or Norway, is likely to bring US arms companies or their subsidiaries into the projects. US arms frequently come with restrictions and authorisations limiting their use. As technological defence industry weaknesses limit the EU’s global ambitions the European Commission launched a special multi-billion defence fund to support research. Yet, the rivalry between EU and US defence industries is likely to impact Transatlantic relations.

About author: Petr Boháček

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