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Nuclear weapons pose an existential threat to humanity. Russia's threat to use nuclear weapons in the context of its war on Ukraine has been a stark reminder that this threat is real. At present, nine states are known to have military nuclear programmes. Over recent years, tensions among nuclear-armed states have increased, leading to 'outright strategic rivalry and competition' among several of them. Moreover, experts are concerned that the 'fabric of international institutions, treaties, and norms ...

European defence cooperation has been a 'rolling' item on the European Council's agenda for the past decade and will continue to feature high as the new Strategic Compass is being implemented. Russia's war on Ukraine has altered the European security architecture, accelerating cooperation in defence, a policy area where the European Council has shown both commitment, by issuing periodic policy guidelines and following up on them, and continuity, by maintaining the topic on its agenda on a regular ...

Cooperation with third countries is embedded in several dimensions of EU security and defence policy. The Strategic Compass, adopted in March 2022, dedicates one of its main sections to the role of partnerships.

Of all European defence initiatives launched since 2016, the European Defence Fund (EDF) is without doubt one of the most promising, if not the most promising. However, the EDF will not by itself solve all problems related to the fragmentation and therefore inefficiency of European defence procurement. Only the Member States can do so, working in good faith together with the Commission in deciding the EDF work programme and funding allocations. Doing this, it will be essential not to confuse the ...

The European Commission presented a proposal for a regulation establishing a European Defence Fund in June 2018. The Fund aims to foster the competitiveness and innovativeness of European defence and to contribute to the EU's strategic autonomy. The Parliament and Council reached a partial agreement in early 2019 and then a provisional political agreement on the outstanding issues in December 2020. The Council adopted its first-reading position in March 2021, and the Parliament is expected to vote ...

This study examines the implementation of the European Union (EU) defence package, which consists of the Defence Procurement Directive 2009/81/EC and the Intra-Community Transfers Directive 2009/43/EC, during the period from 2016 to 2020. It is organised in two parts. The first part of the study, prepared internally, examines the evaluations carried out on the implementation of the two directives to identify persisting challenges. It surveys institutional and policy novelties in the field of EU defence ...

At the special European Council meeting of 1-2 October 2020, postponed from 24-25 September, EU Heads of State or Government are expected to dedicate much of their time to external relations issues, notably to a strategic discussion on Turkey and a debate on relations with China. Continuing illegal Turkish drilling activities in the eastern Mediterranean have made the former more urgent, while the latter is long overdue. The European Council is also likely to adopt extensive conclusions regarding ...

Permanent structured cooperation (PESCO) was launched in December 2017 with the participation of 25 EU Member States. It operates on the basis of concrete projects and binding commitments, several of which are geared towards strengthening the EU defence sector. PESCO members are committed to increasing national defence budgets and defence investment expenditure, and to investing more in defence research and technology. In addition, they have pledged to develop and provide 'strategically relevant' ...

The EU’s annual report on arms export control presently lags behind the national reports of many countries. The introduction of a searchable online database will be a substantial step in increasing the user-friendliness of the report. This paper makes recommendations with regard to readability, comprehensiveness and comparability. Perhaps the principal recommendation is that steps be taken to harmonise the data provided under the categories ‘licensed value’ and ‘actual exports’, which are presently ...

The EU’s Defence Technological and Industrial Base (EDTIB) has been a key focus of EU policy efforts in recent years, not just for security reasons, but also for economic ones. There have been a host of funds to strengthen and reinforce the EDTIB, and to ensure deeper cooperation, avoid duplication and underscore the interoperability of equipment. These funding streams have not been fully evaluated, but they are important symbols of the energy and commitment with which the EU has attempted to create ...