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The report of the French Institute about the defense of EU countries
Material posted: Publication date: 23-01-2011

In the collection of analytical materials "Strategic year 2011" prepared by the French Institute of international and strategic studies (IRIS) the analysis of the defenses in Europe. The author, Jean-Pierre Lightning, in a material called "Reduced if the level of the European defence power?" gives a detailed answer to the question on the example of France.

According to Lightning, this year the military power of the EU was questioned in two directions. At the level of individual States were forced into this crisis situation in economy and finances that has led to a substantial reduction of military budgets. At the global level, there has generally been a similar process, as the integration within the European Union, so necessary in this difficult moment, has stalled. A striking example can serve as a continued and last year the misadventures of a military transport aircraft A-400 M, which was intended to be a symbol of the unity of Europe in the field of armaments. Moreover, in the last 10 years was not made a single new pan-European defence programmes, the author writes.

As for France, currently the country exports mainly military equipment manufactured inside the country. This submarines, combat aircraft "Rafale" and a landing and command ship "Mistral".

"However, all experts recognize that the apostasy of the national territory will help to save jobs in the short term, but will weaken the European industrial potential in the field of armaments in the long term, concludes Lightning. - However, there is a fear that our defence policy in coming years will not change".

One of the reasons for the decline of European defence power the author believes that the reduction of military budgets. In Europe (here and further by "Europe" and "European" means EU countries) growth was surprisingly small. Throughout the EU exacerbated the problems of budget deficits and debt that led to the introduction in some countries austerity measures. In times of fiscal crisis cuts in defence spending provides a significant benefit since this area accounts for a significant portion of state spending, approximately 15 billion Euro annually. Such measures ran the government of David Cameron. Germany reduced defense spending in the past year to 450 million euros and plans to reduce the military budget by 8 billion euros for the period 2010-2014 and transfer the army to the professional basis. France has announced the desire to save money in the military budget of 3-5 billion euros between 2011 and 2013.

According to experts, such a reduction in resources allocated to the army funds in the future will create a lot of problems. First, to stall the implementation of the project "Unified policy in the sphere of security and defence". Second, the underfunding can be very painful for the European arms industry and the prospects for pan-European cooperation programmes in this area will be postponed indefinitely.

This program to date is the creation of military transport aircraft A-400 M. the participating Countries are not able to implement this project for nearly 10 years. In the spring of 2010 has finally managed to sign an agreement on additional funds and to proceed directly to implementation. In the end program 180 of these aircraft is now worth not 20, and 27 billion Euro. However, due to the introduction of austerity measures by some countries participating in the project stated about the decrease in the number of ordered aircraft A-400 M, which again threatens to jeopardize the realization that the only joint program in the field of armaments. European aerospace and defense concern EADS in 2003 warned that in the event of such failure the cost of the aircraft will increase.

The controversy surrounding the tender for delivery of 179 air tankers for the U.S. air force with a total value of 20 billion Euro, have profoundly deepened the transatlantic competition in the production of armaments. After two years ago this right was won by EADS, the US government began to do everything possible so that this contract went to a leading American aircraft company Boeing. It came to the point that in the spring of 2010 France's President Nicolas Sarkozy at the talks with his counterpart Barack Obama was forced to request that EADS was given time to prepare to fight for the tender for the new conditions. This ugly history of acutely raised the question about the openness of the transatlantic arms market. In the EU understands that the Americans changed the terms of bidding on the tankers to protect its military industry, imitating the observance of competition principles.

"This closure of U.S. markets must force the Europeans to do the same, says the author of the report. The arms market does not obey the same rules as civilians. In the area of technology exports, Washington often resorts to unfounded denials, referring to the laws on the control of arms exports. The need for a strategic autonomy of the European countries requires them to protect their own market not to break the rules of competition, and to adapt to the norms and practices of Americans to protect their domestic market. In any case, on both sides of the Atlantic should be aware of the negative impact of protectionist measures, which lead to the weakening of both the military industry and the capabilities of the armed forces."

One of the main, if not the key, the buyer of French weapons was Brazil. It's not just about sales techniques, but also on the establishment of strategic partnership with this country in the field of defense and security. The Franco-Brazilian relations in the field of arms exports are starting to bear fruit now. Even during his visit to this South American country by President Sarkozy in September 2009, the two heads of state signed the multi-billion dollar agreement for the supply of four submarines "the bet", to promote the construction of nuclear submarines, the creation of naval bases and naval shipyards. In addition, a contract was signed for the delivery of 51 helicopters "Caracal" production group "Eurocopter".

A separate Chapter the author studies "is Reduced if the level of the European defence power?" takes the question of the sale of Russian ships "Mistral". Jean-Pierre Lightning stresses that this deal is in many respects groundbreaking for the French side.

In the last Chapter the author analyzes the problem of deploying a missile defense system in Europe, noting that "this is a topic of strategic debate of the future". Referring to debates and discussions in the EU and, in particular, in France, regarding this project of NATO in Europe, the author gives the main arguments "for" and "against" of this program.

First of all, the placement of the missiles prohibitively expensive, I'm sure Lightning. "Therefore, the entry of France into the project would have weakened its potential in other areas, particularly in the nuclear field. Secondly, the implementation will tie our defence policy to the American", - stated in the material.

The main political argument of the proponents of the project NATO in France remains the thesis that the country's integration in the military command of the Alliance obliges her to support the initiative of the United States. Some experts also believe that participation in this high-tech project will allow Paris to make a dramatic leap forward in the field of high technologies. However, the author believes that the problem of anti-missile deployment in Europe should be considered much wider. It is about the position of France in international security in the coming years, about its capacity to act as a nuclear power and simultaneously participate in the missile defense system given the financial possibilities of the country. In any case, the time for final decision has not yet come, I am sure the author. To do this, you must overcome many contradictions.



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