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The European defence fund: a step towards a single market for defence?


The European Defence Fund (EDF) is considered a game changer for European defence. The unprecedented co-funding of research and development expenses of cutting-edge defence systems is functional to strengthen the European Defence Technological and Industrial Base (EDTIB) and the EU’s Strategic Autonomy. This paper analyses the factors that enabled a partial shift from intergovernmental to supranational governance in the European defence market, applying the lens of the new intergovernmentalism theory. The cost of non-cooperation in defence and the Brexit impact will be taken into account to explain the observed shift. The paper highlights the role of the Commission in the integration of the European Defence Agency’s activities with those of the newly created DG for Defence Industry and Space (DG DEFIS). It also examines the extent to which diverging strategic industrial interests of Member States and of industrial players seek to prevent a deeper integration of the European defence market.

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