In Defence, the EU Needs All the European Help It Can Get

Association of Non-members with the European Defence Agency

9 February 2021

Linda Tothova & Santiago de la Presilla

Non-members of the EU that are important security partners should be encouraged to join the European Defence Agency because it can foster innovation and competitiveness in the defence industry in the long run.

If one puts aside the quest to bolster the EU’s “strategic autonomy” in defence and security, which has recently given rise to a lot of controversies, the EU should figure out a concrete way to cooperate with third countries on such matters.

In particular, two inter-linked questions arise: what is the added value for the EU to work with third parties, and what consequences will the European Defence Agency’s (EDA) budget for 2021 have?

Cuts to European defence

The first issue has partially been resolved by the introduction of conditions for non-EU members’ inclusion in Permanent Structures Cooperation (PESCO). However, the second issue is that the EU’s defence initiatives took a hit by the COVID-19 pandemic which shifted the order of priorities.

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