The European Defence Action Plan
David Christopher Jaklin: The EU's steps towards more strategic autonomy – The European Defence Action Plan, AIES Fokus 2/2018
Since the year 2013, the European Union (EU) has undertaken several steps introducing supportive measures to strengthen the European Defence Industrial Technology Base (EDITB). Especially in the last two years, the EU accelerated the process and put developments in motion, which could have significant impact on the defence sector and the strategic autonomy of the EU – but only, if its member states participate actively.
The causes for these initiatives are manifold and can be found in geopolitical, economic, military and security reasons. Because of these, the EU has been aiming for a coherent strategy to evolve into a more credible global actor. In this regard, security and defence play an essential role, which will complement foreign policy measures and policies. The current initiatives, mentioned in this paper, are unrivalled and go hand in hand with the EU Global Strategy's (EUGS) goal to achieve a strategic autonomy.
In his recent state of the Union speech President of the European Commission – Jean-Claude Juncker – emphasized once more the need for the EU to become a stronger global actor. The ambition is to develop a European Defence Union by 2025, not only via a structured cooperation, but also with a strengthened EDITB, which is only possible with corresponding funds. The importance of this issue was highlighted by him once more during the Security Conference in Munich in mid-February 2018.
Therefore, this paper examines the various circumstances which led to these developments, the actual decisions and actions of the EU, and the most recent manifestations of the EU strategy in form of the European Defence Action Plan (EDAP).