Without joint defence, EU loses over €25bn
Only a common policy in that field can make Europe stronger
14 July, 2017
The lack of cooperation between European Union Member States in the field of security and defence leads to estimated losses of €25bn to €100bn a year. The warning came from President Rumen Radev during the National Conference on Defence and Aerospace Industry and Research, held under his patronage on 10 July in Sofia.
Special guests to the forum included European Commissioner for Internal Market and Entrepreneurship Elzbieta Bienkowska and the Chief Executive of the European Defence Agency Jorge Domecq. Vice-PM Tomislav Doncev also took part in the event.
President Radev noted that the non-uniform defence policies of EU Member States also result in the use of 178 types of basic combat vehicles, compared to only 30 in the US. Tanks alone number 17 types in the EU, against 1 in the US. “The most important goal is Bulgaria’s integration into Europe’s leading defence projects,” the president pointed out. He stressed that following a period of stagnation, the Bulgarian defence industry is once again trending up. Radev also drew attention to the fast-developing IT sector in the country, as well as the growing number of young entrepreneurs.
During the conference, European Commissioner Bienkowska presented opportunities for application for and funding under the planned European Defence Fund, whose establishment is set to be voted by the European Parliament soon. This fund will supplement and amplify national investments in defence research projects with resources from the European Commission budget.
For his part, Tomislav Donchev also supported the idea of a common defence policy in Europe, highlighting the fact that joint supplies would cut costs by 25-30%. He believes that such an approach would ensure higher-quality military equipment at lower costs. “Common European policies in the fields of defence, border control, anti-terrorism and especially defence can make Europe stronger,” Donchev was adamant.