Cooperazione in armamenti, lettera al FT

di Andrea Gilli

Su Financial Times di alcuni giorni fa, c’era un editoriale abbastanza discutibile sulla cooperazione in armamenti tra Francia e Inghilterra. Ho spedito una lettera al FT che però non è stata pubblicata. Dopo aver letto il loro editoriale, vale la pena leggere la mia risposta.

From Mr. Andrea Gilli

Sir,

in your editorial Hard-up Entente (7th March 2010), you suggest that Britain and France strengthen their cooperation in weapons production. I agree. However, your descriptions of the situation is quite questionable. And the implications of your reasoning quite devastating. First, you say that so far the biggest political obstacle to closer armaments cooperation was France’s peculiar position inside NATO (that was out of the Military Command). This is simply not true. The two countries cooperated well in the past (Lynx, Puma, Gazelle, Milan, HOT, Roland, just to name a few programs). They cooperate quite well now (Galileo, A400M, PAAMS, BRVAAM Meteor), and when their attempts to cooperate failed, their stances towards NATO had no role. Indeed, the cause was the protectionist tendencies of their respective governments (France in the case of the EFA, Britain in the Horizon CFNF). Second, you suggest in any case to keep this cooperation modest. This means to avoid grand projects à la Eurofighter, for focusing on niche areas (like UAVs). Beside that this already contradicts the reality (the aforementioned Galileo, A400M etc. are all huge programs), there are three main problems with your reasoning. First, such a choice would have dramatic effects on the European Defense Industrial Base. Second, it would render Europe more dependent on American military capabilities. Finally, it would have egregious effects on the EU capacity to act alone and effectively. Although you may not like it, in a globalized world, with skyrocketing weapons’ costs, medium powers like France and Britain have no possibility to keep total autonomous defense capabilities. The only way they have to maintain some independence is by controlling their dependence on foreign sources. And this can occur only by cooperating more, not less, in arms production.

Best regards,

Andrea Gilli
European University Institute
San Domenico di Fiesole (FI)
Italy, 50014

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