Friday

23rd Jun 2017

EU states eye production of new fighter jet

  • Airbus is preparing to make a new fighter jet as the EU rolls out its defence integration project. (Photo: Air Combat Command)

Airbus, the French-based firm, is preparing to make a new fighter jet as the EU rolls out its defence integration project.

Fernando Alonso, the head of the firm’s military branch, told Handelsblatt, a German newspaper, that Germany and Spain have already signed up for the project and that he hoped France would also come on board.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

  • New weapons system to help create EU defence sovereignty. (Photo: Defence Images)

“We are working on various building blocks in Germany and Spain, some of the financing comes from the governments, we hope for more," he said.

“We hope that France will also participate, because we have to work together in Europe, there is no more space for two or three different systems”, he added.

Referring to EU defence integration, he said: “The time is ripe for making and implementing a decision in Europe”.

The Airbus project is to be called the Future Combat Air System (FCAS) and is to replace the Eurofighter and Tornado fighter jet models in Germany as well as the F18 in Spain.

If France joined, it might also replace the French fighter jet, the Rafale, when that becomes obsolete in 2030, Handelsblatt said.

Another option would be to buy F35 fighter jets from the US.

But that would be seen as an untimely gift for US leader Donald Trump, who has belittled and confused EU allies since coming to power.

Investing in US fighter jets would also go against the EU’s stated aim to achieve technological and strategic “sovereignty” as part of its new defence plan, which includes a €1.5-billion a year R&D and joint procurement fund designed to stimulate projects such as the FCAS.

Brexit implications

Trump aside, the Airbus project comes as the UK, the EU’s main military power, prepares to start exit talks.

Airbus currently employs 10,000 people at two manufacturing plants in the UK.

But its chief operating officer, Fabrice Bregier, told the Sunday Times, a British newspaper, that unless the UK negotiates an amicable deal with the EU then it will move those plants elsewhere.

He said the Brexit deal must allow its staff freedom of movement to come and work in the UK and must allow it to ship parts free from punitive tariffs.

"For new productions, it's very easy to have a new plant somewhere in the world. We would have plenty of offers to do that," he said.

"We want to stay in the UK - provided the conditions to work in an integrated organisation are met”, he added.

Correction: The article now says Spain aims to replace its F18 jet, not F16, as previously reported.

Airbus calls for end of legal battles with Boeing

The EU aircraft maker wants Europe and the US to agree on their subsidy policies for Airbus and Boeing after the WTO ruled that both companies benefited from illegal tax breaks.

Security and defence to top EU summit

Pressure is mounting for social media platforms to remove any online content deemed to incite terrorism. Draft conclusions, seen by EUobserver, have made the issue a top priority in leaders' talks next week.

Row between EU ministers halts e-book tax rate

A bill to reduce VAT rates on e-books and e-publications has become the latest victim of a row between the Czech Republic and its partners over its own plan to collect VAT.

Focus

EU and China move to fill US void

At a summit in Brussels, EU and Chinese leaders will attempt to deepen ties on trade and climate as US president Trump plans to pull out of the Paris climate deal.

Italy reaches EU deal on failing bank

After months of negotiations, the European Commission and Italy agreed on the terms of rescue for Monte dei Paschi di Siena bank, including job cuts, salary caps and private sector involvement in the bailout.

News in Brief

  1. Juncker has 'no' clear idea of kind of Brexit UK wants
  2. Belgian PM calls May's proposal on EU citizens 'vague'
  3. UK lacks support of EU countries in UN vote
  4. Spain to command anti-smuggler Mediterranean force
  5. Estonia confirms opposition to Nord Stream 2 pipeline
  6. Ireland and Denmark outside EU military plan
  7. EU leaders renew vows to uphold Paris climate deal
  8. US issues warrant for VW managers, German media say

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. EGBAOnline Gambling: The EU Court Rejects Closed Licensing Regimes In Member States
  2. World VisionFaces of Today, Leaders of Tomorrow: Join the Debate on Violence Against Girls - 29 June
  3. ECR GroupThe EU Must Better Protect Industry from Unfair Competition
  4. Malta EU 2017Better Protection for Workers From Cancer-Causing Substances
  5. EPSUAfter 9 Years of Austerity Europe's Public Sector Workers Deserve a Pay Rise!
  6. Dialogue PlatformGlobalised Religions and the Dialogue Imperative. Join the Debate!
  7. UNICEFEU Trust Fund Contribution to UNICEF's Syria Crisis Response Reaches Nearly €200 Million
  8. EUSEW17Bringing Buildings Into the Circular Economy. Discuss at EU Sustainable Energy Week
  9. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceCan an Ideal Body Weight Lead to Premature Death?
  10. Malta EU 2017End of Roaming Charges: What Does It Entail?
  11. World VisionWorld Refugee Day, a Dark Reminder of the Reality of Children on the Move
  12. European Social Services ConferenceDriving innovation in the social sector – 26-28 June