Published on : 08 July 20214 min reading time
A European defense worthy of the name must guarantee the security of its citizens wherever they are, protect its infrastructure and defend its interests around the world. However, few states have the capacity to respond alone to all defense needs. Complementarity at the European level is needed.
A global and collective approach to the security of Europe
The policy of small steps has shown its limits, despite the recent concrete progress made by the European Defense Fund, the annual process of coordinated review of national defense plans and permanent structured cooperation. It is necessary to raise the level of ambition unnecessarily censored during the creation of the CSDP and to pass the higher speed. A comprehensive and collective approach to the security of Europe by European countries is now indispensable, an approach that encompasses both internal and external aspects, and which is shared, if possible, by all EU Member States and, failing that, by the greatest number.
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External action and internal security increasingly inseparable
We remain at a limited degree of commitment, which can be described as “laboratory level”. In addition, the actions of the high-end spectrum, considered among the types of missions developed at Petersberg in 1992, were only very rarely carried out. These missions, whose goal is the restoration of peace, include robust modes of action, including the use of force. To continue like this will not be enough. Worse, the model will run out. Needs have evolved, facing a more dangerous world. It becomes difficult to dissociate external action and internal security in the fight against terrorism.
Terrorism: clauses of solidarity and mutual assistance to assume
The principle of subsidiarity and complementarity with States must be preserved. Subsidiarity is unavoidable, the field of defense remains the responsibility of the States and European sovereignty can only be exercised through the contributions of the latter in trained troops and equipment. If the threats and the risks are perceived with a different degree of intensity according to the States, they must lead to the complementarity of the actions, based on the specific know-how of each one. For example, some countries have a developed projection culture, such as France or Spain, which allows intervention in Africa. Others, like Germany or Poland, are more oriented towards collective defense. This does not prevent each of them from participating in the missions, but with different degrees of commitment. The clauses of solidarity and mutual assistance between states, particularly in the event of a terrorist attack, as described in the Treaty of Lisbon, must not remain a dead letter; they must be assumed.
Building the defense of a “sovereign, united, democratic Europe”
It is for this reason European defense gains sovereignty. The initiatives launched by the President of the Republic in his speech at the Sorbonne in September 2017, like the development of an autonomous capacity for action, will allow continuity between states and Europe, as between external and internal missions. The strategic autonomy of a defense with broad outlines can then be supported in the same perimeter by a BITDE with full and autonomous research and development capabilities. It will be a question of winning then the battle of the industrial standards. This Europe of sovereign defense will have to multiply partnerships, especially with its immediate neighbors. It will renew the transatlantic link, rebalanced thanks to a better sharing of the burden.