What Future European Defence and Technological Industrial Basis (EDTIB) Do We Want/Need? The Belgian case
Belgium pursues a deeply integrated European defence technological industrial base that can produce and sustain the full spectrum of conventional military capabilities at scale. This next step in European integration should ensure that the economic and societal returns of increasing levels of defence investment are broadly distributed across EU member states. Belgium generally shies away from protectionist tendencies and favours open industrial cooperation with other EU member states and third countries alike – provided this generates mutually advantageous outcomes. To achieve a more consolidated EDTIB, Belgium primarily relies on its role in the Council (as co-legislator) and its newly created national defence Research, Technology, Development, and Innovation (RTD&I) instruments, given the limited financial clout of its own procurement policy. As a result of its past trajectory hollowing out its force structure by consecutive budget cuts, however, Belgium will still need to resort to off-the-shelf purchases for meeting its growing capability needs. It does so by operating in sync with the capability sets fielded by its closest allies.
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(Photo credit: Belgian Ministry of Defence)