Swedish defence expert Jan Pie, who is secretary general of the AeroSpace and Defence Industries Association of Europe, ASD, which represents more than 3,000 companies, is a worried man. Although the industries together report annual sales of more than SEK 2,200 billion, Pie is of the opinion that they are living off technology developed 20-30 years ago.
Pie says Europe has failed to cooperate within the defence industry and will find it hard to “keep up” with competitors in other parts of the world as they invest in their own defence industries.
Ten years ago, Europe and the BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India and China) invested similar amounts in the defence industry, but the BRIC countries are now investing three times as much, according to Pie.
One problem is that a mere 4% of the defence equipment procured by European countries is purchased in cooperation. This lack of cooperation between member states is costing between EUR 25 and EUR 100 billion, according to the EU.
And, despite the recent initiative for EU-funded defence research, the question is who will buy European defence equipment in the future? Currently half of the equipment manufactured by European defence industries is exported, but “we are not really welcome as sellers”, says Pie.
The one exception, he claims, is those countries keen to buy from European companies in order to gain the technical know-how so they can build up their own defence industries.
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