EU officials dismiss concerns about future defence protectionism, but fears persist

Although officials in Brussels insist the EU’s future support for defence research and capability development will not modify procurement rules across the post-Brexit 27 member states, they are nonetheless struggling to dispel fears that the policies carry the seeds of protectionism.

At the heart of the issue lies the EU’s proposed European Defence Fund (EDF) for 2021–27.

“None of our initiatives, including the EDF, change the procurement rules in defence in Europe,” Jorge Domecq, chief executive of the European Defence Agency, declared to the European Business Summit conference on defence in Brussels on 6 December. “We hear a lot about this from our American allies, for example, but it is fake news.”

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