Defence Investment Gaps Analysis and the way forward

EESC opinion: Defence Investment Gaps Analysis and the way forward

EU Heads of State or Government, meeting in Versailles on 11 March, committed to “bolster European defence capabilities” in light of the Russian military aggression against Ukraine. They agreed to: 1) increase defence expenditures; 2) step up cooperation through joint projects; 3) close shortfalls and meet capability objectives; 4) boost innovation including through civil/military synergies; and 5) strengthen and develop our defence industry, including SMEs. Moreover, they invited “the Commission, in coordination with the European Defence Agency, to put forward an analysis of the defence investment gaps by mid-May and to propose any further initiative necessary to strengthen the European defence industrial and technological base.” The tasking was also integrated in the Strategic Compass on Security and Defence adopted by the Council and endorsed by the European Council in March 2022.
This Joint Communication provides the requested analysis to the European Council with the aim to ensure that the increased defence spending by Member States results in a much stronger EU defence technological and industrial base, resulting into increased conventional deterrence for any kind of potential adversary. Building in particular on the “defence package” Communication of 15 February 2022, it offers Member States new ways to step up joint procurements as well as to engage with industry to step up their production capacity to meet the increased needs, based on consolidated and more predictable demand. Citizens’ perception of the need for stronger EU action regarding defence is highlighted in the final report of the Conference on the Future of Europe.