Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The slow growth of EU military capacity

Reported on Agence Europe (stuck behind a firewall) is the following interview with General Håkan Syrén. Published in the review Europe Diplomacy & Defense Syrén is a former Chief of the Swedish armed forces and is now the Chairman of the European Union Military Committee, no small fry he. In the interview, he states that he
"will give priority to permanent structured cooperation. It is not a science. This can be very pragmatic. We cannot continue to do business the way we have done so far with the new economies in Europe". Nonetheless, he acknowledges that, as far as PSC is concerned, seeking to include all member states at all cost and "find a common denominator that all the 27 can agree on. I mean that's almost theory. So we must find, I would say, clusters, groups of countries, stimulate them to work together and that is a good start. We must be very pragmatic and take examples in the battlegroup concept", he adds.
General Syrén also underlines that the crisis makes restructuring and consolidation of the defence industry necessary in Europe. "While the armed forces are shrinking, I think, concerning armaments, that there will be a necessity for fusion. There is no room for all the facilitators of personnel vehicles or the naval shipyards. The armed forces are so small now in Europe that it will be difficult to maintain all these structures", Syrén said, going on to assert by way of conclusion: "So, concerning armaments, I foresee a need for rationality and a lot of pain".
Now, I may be wrong here, but doesn't this sound all rather in line with what the government have been floating about sharing Aircraft Carriers with the French, or cutting the TA by a third? He is thinking of all the armed forces of the EU member states as a single entity, and thus sees for example no need for independent construction capacity. Ships can be made cheaper in Poland, who needs dockyards in Britain for example?

Just asking

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