European Prerequisites for Transatlantic Cooperation
Dr. Wolfgang Piller
Daimler-Benz Aerospace AG


I would like to discuss the European prerequisites for true transatlantic defense cooperation from an industrialist's point of view. My analysis will look at the relationship between political and defense cooperation in Europe using the aerospace industry as an example of strategic importance.

Let me stress from the onset that there are three key prerequisites to true transatlantic defense cooperation. First, Europe must do more for its own security, enabling the United States to commit itself elsewhere in the world. In order to become a true transatlantic partner, Europe must become a player that--at least in a European political and geographical context--can act strategically on its own. Second, a unified Europe can become an equal partner for the United States only if the European Union becomes a real political union and can preserve security, stability, sovereignty, and economic well-being. Third, Europe must be able to speak with one voice and act as one entity. It is my firm belief that there will be no real European Union without a common foreign and security policy.

I am sure that these three points go without saying and were often voiced during the Workshop. Interestingly, however, only the industrialists concluded that a fortified European industrial base is the precondition for an enhanced European foreign and security policy.


Europe must have a minimum defense industry that provides the capabilities, capacities, and technologies necessary to implement a common foreign and security policy and to execute it, if necessary, by military means. This requires that Europe maintain its competitiveness and bundle its forces and resources. It also requires that Europe have a competitive aerospace industry. At this point, however, the various national markets in Europe are far too small to maintain or to create the necessary technological capabilities and minimum capacities.

This difficulty is compounded by a number of related problems:

a. Unlike the United States of America, we are not the "United States of Europe," but rather a patchwork of nations.

b. We lack a truly common foreign and security policy.

c. We lack common economic, industrial, and technological policies.

d. There is no uniform European law, no uniform fiscal structure, and no single social policy.

e. The export guidelines of each European Union (EU) member-country differ significantly.

f. There is no consensus in Europe about the significance of the strategic aerospace industry for Europe.

g. Redundant aerospace capabilities have been built up in EU member-states sometimes using structural funding; so we are using taxpayers' money to weaken Europe's aerospace industry.

h. In most sectors, the principle of "no money across the border" still applies; in other words, there is purely national procurement.

i. Costs for developing modern weapon systems are skyrocketing.

j. The dominance of United States manufacturers on the world's export markets is overwhelming, because they are an instrument of American foreign and security policy, a tool of U.S. power projection worldwide.

k. Foreign military sales establish worldwide political dependencies as well as open markets for the American aerospace and defense industry.

l. Europe has no single foreign and security policy, so our aerospace industry cannot be an instrument of it. In fact, there is no European aerospace industry, only a number of relatively small, competing national industries.

m. The defense market in the United States is a closed one of some $100 billion with just a few strong players; the European market is not even half that size, while it is fragmented into more than a dozen national pieces.

n. Markets in Europe, like those in the U.S., are sinking rapidly; government budgets for procurement have been sharply reduced. But the fragmented national industries in Europe have and will become critical much faster than their U.S. competitors, who can merge and concentrate on the home market (which is still a large one) in their huge unified country.

To sum up, then, there is no alternative to thinking and acting together in the framework of an industrial and political division of labor: what we need is a unified, consolidated European market that includes the new democracies of Central Europe.


What are the political and industrial requirements to create a unified, consolidated European market as a prerequisite for true transatlantic defense cooperation? There are several points:


Unless this list of conditions I have identified is met, Europe will be unable to create and maintain an independent competitive aerospace and defense industry. This is not just a question of economic and industrial policy; what is at stake is Europe's ability to become a real partner in the new transatlantic relationship: what is at stake is Europe's contribution to shaping a new and stable order in Europe and beyond, as well as Europe's very sovereignty.

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