19 May 2012

The EU between Pooling & Sharing and Smart Defence: Making a virtue of necessity?

Giovanni Faleg / Alessandro Giovannini

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The financial crisis has deeply affected European defence budgets and, as a consequence, the EU’s capability to act as a provider of global security. This paper assesses the extent to which pooling & sharing (P&S) of military capabilities is a viable plan to boost collective capacity-building and offset the heavy budget cut-backs, drawing impetus from the NATO ‘smart defence’ agenda. Although multilateral cooperation is proven more efficient than the status quo through the lens of economics, and a set of external stimuli would facilitate deeper military integration, the paper acknowledges that a fully-fledged EU defence market remains difficult to attain due to short-term political and strategic considerations. However, piecemeal progress in specific areas is possible and viable, if political conditions are met. The last section of the paper offers some policy recommendations towards a pragmatic and feasible roadmap for P&S.

Giovanni Faleg is a Visiting Researcher at CEPS and Ph.D. Candidate at the London School of Economics and Political Science. Alessandro Giovannini is a Research Assistant at CEPS