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Armaments decision-making: Are European states really different?

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When states make decisions on armaments policy, it is generally agreed they try to achieve combinations of foreign, security, industrial, economic, and technological policy goals alongside equipping their armed forces as efficiently as possible. It is, however, consistently argued in both the defense-economics and EU-studies literature that for European states things are (or should be) different. This article contributes to this debate by bringing together these disparate literatures to critically examine the proposition that the existence of a semi-regionalized European defense economy fundamentally changes state calculations on armaments policy. It critically examines the two main claims made about behavioral change: that European states accept a liberalized European defense market governed by the EU and make armaments decisions on a value-for-money basis, or that defense interdependence is so advanced that European states no longer need to consider their national interests because these are subsumed in the European interest. The article then considers an alternative perspective, that state behavior has not changed but is restricted by the existence of a European defense market that, intentionally or not, works to protect the interests of the biggest European arms-producing states.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: School of Geography, Politics and Sociology, Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom

Publication date: August 8, 2018

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