European defence: access of third countries to the EDF

23 March 2020

This Analysis addresses one of the sensitive issues of the European Defence Fund (EDFEF): that of third countries. In what terms can the latter be associated with the European Union's (EU) capability ambitions?

The EU has already partly answered this question. It is ready to open the doors of the Fund, but only on its terms. However, the requirements imposed are not suitable for everyone. They were received coldly across the Channel and were considered unacceptable across the Atlantic. Washington has thus activated its relays to push the Union to change the rules of the game.

Pressure from the United States is a major challenge for Europeans. At a time of Brexit and "Trumpism", the Fund's eligibility criteria are a crucial issue for the EU. They refer to both the means and the end of its integration project.

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