More Bang for the Buck

Zum deutschlandweiten Tag der Bundeswehr am 11.06.2016 besucht Bundesverteidigungsministerin Ursula von der Leyen (CDU) die Wettiner Kaserne in Frankenberg (Sachsen). Der Tag der Bundeswehr fand nach 2015 zum zweiten Mal statt. Foto: Kristin Schmidt/dpa +++(c) dpa - Bildfunk+++
Ursula von der Leyen, Germany's defense minister, is pushing for Germany to consider taking up a greater role militarily.
  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    If E.U. members specialized capabilities and shared military material, they could save 7 percent of their defense budgets, according to McKinsey consultants. In Germany alone, that would be €2.3 billion per year.

  • Facts


    • Germany’s government will this week consider taking on a more assertive military role as part of a once-a-decade review of security policy.
    • Germany’s defense minister planned to call on its armed forces to share capabilities with neighboring countries and purchase military equipment in a European context.
    • The merger of Munich-based KMW with Paris-based Nexter Systems could create one of the largest European defense manufacturers.
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When it comes to the military, Frank Haun wants to see more European integration, not less. The chief executive of German tank manufacturer Krauss-Maffei Wegmann believes Europe should better integrate its arms industry between different countries.

“The more that the same weapons systems are used, the lower the costs are,” said Mr. Haun.

For example, if France and Germany produced and even ordered tanks together, the quantities could be larger, production less expensive – and profits higher.

It’s a dream for a major tank manufacturer like Krauss-Maffei that may be slowly gathering steam in European political circles. Germany may surprisingly be taking the lead in making that happen.

Long reluctant to take up a primarily role in military matters in Europe – understandable given its history – the country’s defense ministry this week is expected to usher in a shift towards a more assertive stance.

A new policy paper is calling for Germany – and Europe – to take on a greater leadership in managing global conflicts. Consolidating the European defense industry is a big piece of that puzzle – and may also be the most challenging.

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