The European Union is closing in on an accord that would allow the U.S. government and American companies to participate in joint defense projects, potentially removing a source of friction in transatlantic ties.
Donald Trump’s administration has repeatedly warned the EU about discriminating against U.S. companies as the bloc’s national governments press ahead with plans for more defense cooperation. The EU says it needs to develop its own defense capabilities outside of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, with countries such as France being reluctant to grant access to outsiders to joint military projects.
Following months of negotiations, EU government envoys in Brussels will seek a deal on Wednesday over a proposed rulebook, which would allow third countries to join, if their participation is deemed to add “substantial value” to the projects, according to a draft of the accord seen by Bloomberg.
Only non-EU countries with democratic systems of government, which respect human rights and good neighborly relations with the bloc will be allowed in, according to the document. These terms would exclude China and probably Turkey from defense procurement, but would pave the way for the U.S. and the U.K. to join, post-Brexit. (end of excerpt)
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(EDITOR’S NOTE: The restrictions placed on participation to the European Union’s defense programs by non-EU nations, as described above, are so restrictive as to effectively outweigh any opening.
In fact, the agreement seems to be devised to pay lip service to the US government’s insistence that US industry not be shut out, while ensuring that it effectively can be.
This is a favorable development for Europe, but the EU’s goal should be to obtain open access to the US defense market.)