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Defense, a new industrial priority for the next European Commission

Defense, a new industrial priority for the next European Commission

“In two years, everything has changed for defense in Europe. » For German Major General André Denk, Deputy Director General of the European Defense Agency, the outbreak of the Russian invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2022, put the question of its defense back at the top of European priorities and, hence, of its entire military industry.

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This awareness was reinforced by the prospect of a return to the White House, in January 2025, of Donald Trump, who shocked Europe in February by floating the idea of ​​an American withdrawal from collective defense of the Old Continent. During the European elections, which will be held from June 6 to 9, all the major conservative, social democratic and liberal parties – the heart of the future majority – support a new effort in favor of the sector.

In two years, the European Union (EU) has already done a lot. It first prepared for the most urgent, emptying its stocks to arm kyiv’s forces as quickly as possible. Thanks to the European Peace Facility, funds now worth 17 billion euros, it has facilitated arms transfers. The mobilization of companies was much more difficult: after thirty years of disinvestment, managers were waiting for formal orders in order to invest for ten or fifteen years.

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“The state of mind is nevertheless changing, both within States and in companies, which is increasing their production capacities.judge Micael Johansson, boss of the Swedish group Saab and vice-president of the ASD, the European Association of Aerospace and Defense Industries. We are not yet at the war economy as Emmanuel Macron mentioned in 2022, but things are moving forward. »

Between 2022 and 2024, member states increased their defense spending by 20%. “We remain far from the Russian effortrecalls James Appathurai, Deputy Secretary General of NATO. VSe payroll devotes 30% of its GDP (gross domestic product) in defense, compared to just under 2% on average for NATO states. » Europe spends around 300 billion euros on its armies, while, according to experts, it should aim for at least 400 billion per year to replenish its stocks and get back up to speed.

Large groups and SMEs accelerated

“It is urgent that our defense industry makes a link forwardurges Josep Borrell, the head of European diplomacy. Since the start of the war against Ukraine, our armies have purchased 78% of new equipment from outside the EU. » Across Europe, large groups and SMEs are accelerating. From Finland to Poland and Spain via Hungary, Italy, Bulgaria and Germany, the entire munitions industry is building new production lines. In France, the sector is mobilizing, supported by the orders permitted by the new military programming law.

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Mattie B. Jiménez

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