State of Play of the Implementation of EDA's Pooling and Sharing Initiatives and Its Impact on the European Defence Industry

10-06-2015

This study examines the state of 'Pooling and Sharing' (P&S) at EU and Member State (MS) level. Instead of the demanded change in mindset, we witness another episode in the traditional struggle to make classic defence cooperation work. The marginal results of P&S are not yet adequate to the size of problems. The cooperation initiative misses definitions of success, useful models of cooperation and a permanent monitoring of opportunities and capabilities. MS make progress at a snail’s pace: many projects kicked off in the first phase of P&S are still in their early stages and thus do not deliver capabilities. At the same time, Member States paralyse efforts of the EDA. NATO has not performed much better. This underlines that the core of the problem remains the sovereignty question within Member States. The developments have to be seen against the simultaneous evolution of the European defence landscape: budgets and capabilities have been cut further. Member States have lost time and money but most importantly, they have also lost many options to safeguard capabilities through pooling or sharing. The European Parliament should encourage first, a new politico-military flagship project around which defence can be organised, second, an efficiency perspective towards spending and procuring capabilities; third, the discussion on the future of sovereignty in defence; and fourth, a European Defence Review that offers a sober assessment of the current and future European defence landscape, including the opportunities for cooperation. This would enable a public debate on Europe with or without defence.

This study examines the state of 'Pooling and Sharing' (P&S) at EU and Member State (MS) level. Instead of the demanded change in mindset, we witness another episode in the traditional struggle to make classic defence cooperation work. The marginal results of P&S are not yet adequate to the size of problems. The cooperation initiative misses definitions of success, useful models of cooperation and a permanent monitoring of opportunities and capabilities. MS make progress at a snail’s pace: many projects kicked off in the first phase of P&S are still in their early stages and thus do not deliver capabilities. At the same time, Member States paralyse efforts of the EDA. NATO has not performed much better. This underlines that the core of the problem remains the sovereignty question within Member States. The developments have to be seen against the simultaneous evolution of the European defence landscape: budgets and capabilities have been cut further. Member States have lost time and money but most importantly, they have also lost many options to safeguard capabilities through pooling or sharing. The European Parliament should encourage first, a new politico-military flagship project around which defence can be organised, second, an efficiency perspective towards spending and procuring capabilities; third, the discussion on the future of sovereignty in defence; and fourth, a European Defence Review that offers a sober assessment of the current and future European defence landscape, including the opportunities for cooperation. This would enable a public debate on Europe with or without defence.