The next big thing in EU defence? Spare parts, faster

Press quote (Defence News)
Clara Marina O'Donnell
07 January 2010

But Clara O’Donnell, a researcher at the Centre for European Reform think-tank, cautions that it may take quite some time before EU members trust one another enough to ful¬fill the potential of the directive. "Some member-states, in particular the eastern European members, have less of a track record in enforcing effective export controls," O'Donnell said. ...O'Donnell said the next five or so years might bring more European competition in nonsensitive areas such as military boots, rifles and uniforms. She sees less hope for more sensitive areas and said some areas, such as nuclear technology and cryptology, will always be excluded. O'Donnell says enforcement will be neces¬sary to allow the two directives — "a small step in the right direction" — to "have quite an impact." But neither the commission nor defense firms have shown much appetite for taking transgressing countries to the European Court of Justice. Many firms have a small customer base, often consisting of one national government, she noted. "In cases where defense companies have a wider customer base [across the EU], such as SMEs [small and medium-sized enterprises], then there will be more scope for court cases," she said. "In addition, with the economic crisis, more defense companies will face the prospect of going out of business, creating a stronger incentive to take member-states to court.