Defense industrial policy is not an area that normally comes to mind when one thinks of European Union (EU) policies. As will be evident from the following discussion, the EU’s involvement in defense industry matters remains limited. Yet some EU policies do have an effect on European defense firms, and significantly more of an effect today than in 1958 or even 1978. An explanation of why the EU has become involved in this policy area will be the focus of this chapter. EU policies in this sector did not just appear from out of nowhere. In fact, few of these policies were explicitly created with Europe’s defense industry in mind. Most policies were developed for other reasons, but now have a direct effect on the armaments sector. This chapter attempts to answer two questions: ‘What are the EU policies that affect European defense firms?’ and ‘What roles have the three primary institutions within the EU — Council of Ministers, Commission, Parliament — played in bringing defense industry issues onto the EU agenda?’
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