Select Committee on Defence Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence


Memorandum from Professor David Kirkpatrick, Defence Engineering Group, University College London (10 January 2001)

  The Framework Agreement on measures to facilitate the restructuring of the European Defence Industry would (when it comes into effect) commit six of the largest European nations, including the United Kingdom, to a set of guidelines designed to promote co-operation on defence equipment acquisition.

  The cost-effectiveness of the military forces deployed by the six participating nations should be enhanced by the rationalisation obtainable through simultaneous advances towards greater co-operation on force development, requirements for defence equipment, research and technology acquisition, equipment development and production, and equipment procurement policies. Past initiatives to promote co-operation in a chosen area have achieved some limited success, but have been constrained by residual chauvinism in other areas; the simultaneous advances proposed by the Agreement are more likely to yield significant successes, albeit in the long rather than the short term. However, the potential for success will depend on the goodwill of the participating nations, and on their willingness to implement the guidelines (and overcome the devils in the detail) in a constructive spirit, rather than invoking the Agreement's escape clauses to justify individual national policies.

  It is unfortunate that the Agreement virtually ignores the many and varied pre-existing relationships concerning defence equipment between some of the governments and industries of the participating European nations and the governments and industries of other allied nations. While it would have been impractical in a few Articles to address in detail the variety of such relationships, and their potential for interactions with the Agreement, its credibility would have been enhanced by evidence that such interactions had been considered and by some general indications on how they would be managed.

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Prepared 14 February 2001