Defence is a specific domain, at the heart of Member States’ national sovereignty. Until recently, there had been limited action in the area of defence at EU level. However, in response to a challenging new global environment, the EU has launched new defence-related initiatives to enhance cooperation between Member States. This has placed defence clearly on the ECA’s radar, as the significant and rapid increase in funding associated with new EU ambitions and initiatives entails performance risks.
Therefore, the ECA has prepared this review, which is not an audit but an analytical review based on a documentary review of publications on the topic and interviews with staff from EU and other institutions and bodies. It specifically focuses on (i) the legal, institutional and financial framework in the area of defence and (ii) the state of play as regards Member States’ defence capabilities and industries. The idea of this review is to look at the current landscape of EU defence cooperation and to highlight some of the main risks associated with the EU’s new level of ambition and defence-related initiatives that have been developed in recent years.
Contributing to better defence capacity in Europe means going beyond words and requires effective implementation of real initiatives, with the aim of supporting a competitive European defence industry and enhancing Member States’ military capabilities in full complementarity with NATO. Ultimately, the EU’s success and future in the field of defence is fully dependent on the Member States’ political will, as they play the central role in Europe’s defence architecture.