News Feed nº11

Published by Brice on

Official reaction from EU to the US elections 

Saluting Joe Biden recent election for the American presidency, J. Borrell, the High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy of the EU Commission, underlined the opportunity it constitutes to rebuild EU-US relations. 

However, he states that “The world needs a US ready to listen and a Europe able to act” and that “there can be no simple return to the past”, meaning that Europe should continue its efforts towards autonomic strategy. This is considered as a condition for a strong transatlantic relationship, as well as what Europe needs. The urge of NATO for Europe to increase its defence own capabilities is also quoted as an incentive to pursue this path.

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Adoption of conditions for integration of Third States in PESCO projects 

The Council voted on the participation of Third States, i.e. outside the EU, to PESCO projects. This participation is required to meet several conditions: 

  • compliance with EU defence policy and interests, 
  • providing a substantial value to the project, 
  • not being able to prevent the use of the developed capabilities, 
  • and share a Security of Information agreement with the EU. 

A Third State must be invited by a Member State participating in a project, and authorised by the Council if it meets the conditions required. The vote must be taken by unanimity by the 25 PESCO participating Member States.  

Entities, like companies, from a Third State not invited in a PESCO project will need to be authorised as well by the Council. This legislation has been formally adopted on the basis of the German compromise 

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US choice of Lithuania for helicopters and Greece for frigates 

Lithuania has officially signed the command of 4 UH60 Black Hawk helicopters to the United States and the Lockheed-Martin subsidiary Sikorsky. The Lithuanian Air Force is quite small, with 5 transport aircrafts, 5 helicopters and 1 training aircraft. However, this acquisition has been reduced to a number of 6, despite a 30 million dollars subvention of Washington in the frame of the European Recapitalization Incentive Program, aimed to modernize European partners from Russia or Soviet-era military equipment. This program is an answer to fight Russian influence and increase NATO interoperability. 

According to the information disclosed by the Greek newspaper Kathimerini, the Hellenic Navy has agreed to the purchase of 4 Multi-Mission Surface Combatant frigates from Lockheed Martin for 2 billion dollars. In exchange, Greek shipyards will participate in the development of new American FFG(X) frigates. The French FDI frigates have been discarded, due to the requirement for a sea-to-ground strike capacity they do not fulfil and the delivery delays. In parallel, the discussions for 2 FDI launched in 2019 are still ongoing. 

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The German Bundestag votes 38 Eurofighter acquisition, FA/18 still in discussion 

The German Bundestag approved the acquisition of 38 Airbus Eurofighter. They are destined to replace the first batch delivered between 2003 and 2008 and correct obsolescence issues, alongside radar upgrades. 

In parallel, discussions are still ongoing about the acquisition of FA/18 Super Hornet and EA-18 Growler. The stakes are the nuclear capacity of Germany, currently borne by the Tornado. However, they could be withdrawn from the service by 2030, and the American nuclear capacity of the FCAS raises very complicated issues. This could therefore force the Luftwaffe to deal with a mixed fleet. 

The German Defence Minister, A. Kramp-Karrenbauer, in an interview to the American newspaper Politico, recently underlined again the importance Germany gives to US nuclear deterrence in Europe, and the urgency to make a decision to stay inside the NATO’s nuclear sharing program. But the FA/18 acquisition may not be voted before the federal elections in September 2021. 

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Italy offers Poland to collaborate on a combat tank program 

Italy has submitted to Poland an offer to collaborate on a combat tank platform, that is still in assessment by the Polish Defence ministry, according to the monthly magazine from Polish armed forces Polska Zbrojna. 

The MGCS program, already launched, gathers France and Germany in a closed cooperation, given the even workshare established. Italy and Poland have already notified interest to join the program, while the opening to third states is not currently on the table. 

Consequently, Italy may consider in this contact an alternate path, for its own program, that could integrate other European or extra-European partners. Their defence industry is credible for the task, with the ground division of Leonardo in Italy, and the Polish company Obrum worked on prototypes with BAE systems. 

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