Jim Murphy MP, Labour’s Shadow Defence Secretary, will challenge European nations to work more collaboratively on defence, in particular on procurement, and to contribute more to the NATO Alliance in remarks to a group of European defence industrialists.
On procurement Jim Murphy MP said:
“Greater European co-operation in defence procurement is a critical, enabling us to maximise our ability to project force and do so cost-effectively, supporting the both frontline and the bottom line.
“Co-operation over procurement is the only way Europe can compete in a very expensive and technologically-driven activity. European nations must learn to do this better together or have no other option than continually buying from US.”
On European defence co-operation he said:
“In the same way we co-operate during conflict we must, I believe, better co-operate in the way we prepare for and prevent conflict. This must be based on a pragmatic approach, reflective of the world we live in, not an ideological construct.
“We should explore where there can be arrangements to pool maintenance, training, education infrastructure and skills on a bilateral or multilateral basis. The resultant economies of scale should be used to directly fund training and equipment programmes and to contribute to balancing domestic defence budgets.”
On Europe’s contribution to NATO:
“Europe must decide if it is serious. European governments have to be more honest with each other and about their capacity within NATO. There are too many never-to-be-used battle tanks, unusable fast jets and undeployable army conscripts.
“Robert Gates is right. We cannot rely on others to share the burden for our own security. We must reform or lose the protection of the transatlantic alliance. We must reform or see our own influence wane. This is emphatically not an institutional debate; it is about attitude and our collective resolve to retain influence.”