Address by Carlo Magrassi, EDA Deputy Chief Executive-Strategy, to the European Security Foundation Conference on “New Development in ESDP”
Brussels, 5 October 2010
Thank you very much for inviting me to today’s Conference, which takes place at an interesting moment in time.
On the one hand the Lisbon Treaty is in place. Expectations are high on the further development of the Common Security and Defence Policy and on the role of the European Defence Agency, the only Agency specifically mentioned in the Treaty.
On the other hand Member States are facing serious defence budget cuts, resulting from the global economic crisis. Only a few European Defence Ministries have escaped the inevitable. The overwhelming majority is facing cuts in the order of 5 to 10 percent. Some even have to cope with cuts up to 50 percent.
So, how can we square the challenges of the second decade of CSDP with the decrease of resources in the years to come?
There are three answers: “cooperate, cooperate and cooperate”.
How can we improve European defence cooperation? How can we get better capabilities with less money? These are the key questions.
I would like to provide answers from three different angles. I believe that all three are equally important in order for Europe to have the military capabilities at its disposal, needed for tomorrow’s operations.
These three elements are:
- One: to increase speed and depth of European military capability development;
- Two: to consolidate and reform Europe’s defence industrial base; and
- Three: to deepen the coordination between the defence and the civilian security sector.
More European defence cooperation
Let me start with the first point: the need to further increase European military cooperation.
Some will say that the current situation offers great opportunities to cooperate more and to invest more together, as national budgets might in some cases become too small for purely national solutions.
Of course, this is true. European cooperation should be the solution to the problem.
But there is also a clear risk related to the impact of the economic crisis. Member States might fall back in their traditional behaviour of finding purely national solutions, perhaps driven by protecting national industrial interests.
This would be very detrimental to the aim of improving European capabilities, because it will reinforce fragmentation – which is in essence Europe’s defence problem.
The consequences will be continued lack of interoperability and standardisation, duplication of even scarcer resources, and less instead of better capabilities.
So, the logical choice is quite clear:
- let’s harmonise our military requirements – thus ensuring that we improve interoperability and standardisation;
- let’s combine our investment in research & technology, when there is a need for R&T;
- let’s construct together cooperative armaments programmes, but not make the same mistakes of the past which led to higher costs and longer delivery schedules; and
- let’s increase market competition and strengthen the industrial base in the true European sense.
You will not be surprised: these are exactly the agendas of the European Defence Agency and we are making good progress in all these areas.
And they are delivering. (end of excerpt)
Click here for the full text of the speech, on the EDA website.