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Prospects for the European Defence Industrial Base

Christina Balis and Henrik Heidenkamp
Occasional Papers, 9 September 2014
Defence, Industries and Society, Defence Management, Europe
European defence firms remain fragmented: policy-makers can no longer delay a serious debate about the future of this industrial base

Today’s European defence industry has changed little since the wave of consolidation experienced in the 1990s. Despite the emergence of a handful of large prime contractors such as BAE Systems, the Airbus Group, Thales and Finmeccanica, the European defence industrial base remains far more national and less integrated than the size of these companies would suggest.

Against the background of today’s strategic environment and dynamics of the defence market, European policy-makers can no longer delay a serious and inclusive debate about the future of the European defence industrial base. Such a debate must acknowledge critical role of industry in sustaining European defence and Europe’s ability to act effectively in the international system.

This occasional paper examines the shortfalls of current approaches and outlines an agenda for a capable, sustainable European defence industrial base in an era of fundamental change.

About the Authors

Dr Christina Balis is a principal and director of European operations at Avascent. Based in Paris, Christina supports corporate and financial clients operating out of or looking to expand to Europe and adjacent geographies. She has experience providing strategic advisory services, assessing market opportunities, and supporting merger and acquisition activities across a diverse set of defence, civil government and commercial markets.

Dr Henrik Heidenkamp is a Senior Research Fellow for the RUSI Defence, Industries and Society Programme (DISP). His current research interests are the role of the private sector in defence, national and international defence management approaches and contemporary aspects of European and international security and defence policy.


Henrik Heidenkamp
Associate Fellow

Dr Henrik Heidenkamp is the Coordinator for Policy Management and Plans at NATO's SHAPE in Mons, Belgium.

He... read more

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