The role of the European Commission in European Defence

IMG_1177 (Kopie) On December 17, the European Security Roundtable and the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom organised a debate on the role of the European Commission in European Defence in view of the December summit.

Hugo Sobral, Head of the Cabinet of President Barroso and his chief diplomatic advisor, pointed out three main motives for reinforcing the security and defence pillar of the EU. First, the strategic motive is linked to the emergence of threats that generates the need for guaranteeing internal security and projecting peace outside of the EU. Second, the political motive is that civilian missions should be supported by military capabilities. Finally, Mr. Sobral underlined the importance of the economic argument by explaining that the defence sector directly employs 400 000 people and even more if we consider the spill-over of this industrial area. Moreover, the operation in Libya and its shortfalls, the US pivot to Asia and the permanent decrease of defence budgets are raising awareness in the Member States on the need to deepen cooperation in security and defence.

After having reminded this necessity of European collaboration, Hugo Sobral explored the work and role of the European Commission in this area. He particularly insisted on the content of the Communication released in July 2013. He recalled that this document was highlighted the importance of resolving the European defence market fragmentation, of standardization & certification systems, of the development of joint capabilities and of the use of research programmes such as Horizon 2020.

IMG_1167 (Kopie)MEP Andrew Duff, on his side, came back to the need for implementing the Lisbon Treaty, explaining that the overall record for building a European security a defence had been poor until today. He mentioned the up-coming European Council of 19-20 December keeping some doubts on the extent to which security and defence would actually be discussed, although it is on the agenda for the first time.

The discussion moved to the Q/A session notably raising interrogations on the ability to introduce such a European internal cooperation in the industrial sector and to find concrete solutions and actions to develop the defence sector. The co-organisers, The Friedrich Naumann Foundation and the European Security Round Table, will follow up on this debate in 2014.

Jeanne Heure
Project Officer
European Security Roundtable

Foto Source: fnf-europe