In this world as it goes

France is ready to enter into a concrete discussion between European States on the nature of the reciprocal links of solidarity and mutual defense implied by our commitments under the terms of the Treaty. Europe can no longer rely for its security on the United States alone . “

Yesterday, giving the kick-off Paris of the Ambassadors’ Conference in Paris, President Macron confirmed the vision he had expressed during his “Sorbonne speech” on 26 September 2017, of a “sovereign Europe”. What he called then “a strong Europe in the world as it goes“.

This time, he even mentions, more directly than he did initially, a possible revision of the treaties.

Remember: after the terrorist attacks of 13 November 2015 in Paris, at a meeting of the Foreign Affairs Council in Brussels, France called on the EU Member States to provide assistance and assistance to fight the Islamic State.

The country then asked – it was on 17 November – the activation of Article 42.7 of the EU Treaty, according to which “if a Member State is the object of an armed aggression on its territory, the others Member States have an obligation to assist and assist by all means “. Immediately, all EU Member States unanimously promised their full help and support for France, while having to define the form of their commitments.

At the same time, the “solidarity clause” of the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU could have been evoked, which states, in a manner close enough to the previous one, that “the Union and its Member States act jointly in a spirit of solidarity if a Member State is the object of a terrorist attack or the victim of a natural or man-made disaster. The Union shall mobilize all the instruments at its disposal, including the military resources made available by the Member States.”

European defense is at the heart of the idea defended by France of a Europe that protects its citizens.

In a very short time, a year and a half, three major projects have emerged, which are radically changing perspectives in this area:

  • the launch in December 2017 of Permanent Structured Cooperation, better known by its acronym PESCO;
  • the implementation of an annual review process of national defense capabilities;
  • the adoption of the European Defence Fund (EDF), with a research component and a capacity component.

This last aspect (capacity component) culminated last May in the adoption of the regulation on the European Defense Industrial Development Program. In its proposal for the next multiannual financial framework (2021-2027), the European Commission endows the European Defence Fund with 13 billion euros: 4.1 billion euros will be dedicated to research projects, and 8.9 billion euros to the development of prototypes and the certification of new equipment, with a priority given to drones, encrypted software and other maritime surveillance equipment.

If for the first part, the financing by the European Union can cover up to 100% of the costs, it can not exceed 20% of it under the second part. The calculation is therefore simple: the capacity component of 8.9 billion can be multiplied by 5 once it adds the financing of the States, a total amount over the period of 35.6 billion euros for “capacity”.

It is easy to understand the interest of the Member States to participate in the mechanism: if they do not, they let European funds contribute to projects from other Member States. Therefore, it can be expected that this program will have a very important structuring effect on the European defence industry.

We are far from the simplistic speeches of those who are called “populists”, of a Europe wide open to bad winds. And we understand by the way, who has an interest in helping them to prosper and why, “in this world as it goes”.


Iconography: the Euro Main Battle Tank (EMBT) of the Franco-German group KNDS, whose production is due to start in 2025, © KNDS


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