Strengthening European Defense: Assessing the European Defense Fund’s Role and Robustness


The European Defense Fund (EDF) represents a pivotal shift in European security strategy, aiming at bolstering Europe's strategic autonomy and developing an industrial policy for the European defense market. This paper examines the EDF's emergence within the context of increasing geopolitical uncertainties and economic fragmentation in the defense sector, and evaluates its effectiveness in addressing critical issues such as strategic dependence on foreign actors, market fragmentation, and the underinvestment in defense R&D. While the EDF demonstrates significant progress towards a common European defense market, critical challenges remain. These include the need for long-term strategic coherence, balancing market liberalization with industrial competitiveness, and establishing a common European identity in defense industries. Despite obstacles, the momentum towards a cohesive European defense market continues to grow, fueled by geopolitical shifts and the imperative for strategic autonomy. This study contributes to understanding the complexities and implications of European defense integration in an evolving global landscape.

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