Strategic competition: Toward a genuine step-change for Europe’s defense industry?


Since 2016 the European Union has embarked on a step-change in the way it financially supports and incentivizes defense-industrial cooperation. The year 2022 will go down as another important moment in this process with the EU announcing a series of measures, such as joint defense procurement and joint planning and programming. Russia’s war on Ukraine has only underlined the importance of such steps, but it has also exposed the vulnerabilities of the European Defense Technological and Industrial Base. This article provides an account of the development of EU defense-industrial policy since Russia’s war on Ukraine and it critically engages with some of the challenges that have emerged for Europe’s defense industry, EU Institutions and EU Member States. In so doing, the article asks whether the war on Ukraine will lead to a genuine step-change in EU defense-industrial cooperation.