Whatever the words you said, what counts in the end is what you did. Concerning the building of a so-called “European Defense” which has been a mantra for pro-European Union (EU) politicians for decades, it seems to have led to nothing more than just some good lectures and very attractive dreams.
Indeed, after years of endless talks, a European Defense has yet to materialize and despite some strong ambitions by leaders like French President Emmanuel Macron, Europe has never had so few defense means in its long history than it has today.
While India, China, Russia, United States – just to name a few – have sharply increased their military budgets, Europe keeps on living like the world is a peaceful place where bad intents and acute threats don’t exist. Still major military powers – but for how long? – France, Germany and the UK have drastically reduced their military capabilities since the Cold War ended in 1991.
Worse, the political narrative doesn’t fit with the trade reality that showed European countries often prefer to purchase weapons outside Europe, Germany for instance has opted for the US F-35 to replace its aging British Tornado fleet and Sweden has bought US Patriot systems rather than French-Italian SAMP/T Aster’s.
Although indispensable, the Airbus Military’s A400M Atlas Strategic / Tactical airlift program has experienced “massive problems” up to the point that the French Military itself welcomed the recent delivery of one of the 4 US-made C130-H aircrafts it ordered from Lockheed Martin – Germany ordered 6 units. The existence of a “European Defense” someday has never looked so distant as a result.