The European defence industry must develop a Europe-wide market or risk being buried by global competition, said the European Commission at the launch of its action plan to help the industry survive.
The industry is too fragmented to be sustainable given the fall in orders since the end of the Cold War and competition from large US corporations, commissioners Martin Bangemann and Hans van den Broek said.
The action plan has a short timescale and the first set of work must be undertaken early in 1998 `in view of the seriousness of the problems facing the industry,’ the commissioners said.
The programme includes proposals for changes to public procurement law and a simpler system for trade in defence-related goods inside the European Union.
Figures released last week show Europe’s defence-related industry has a gross turnover of $50bn (£29.7bn) and employs 700,000 people directly and several hundred thousand more indirectly.