The European Commission’s proposal of November 2016 to establish a European Defence Fund (EDF) was characterised by many commentators as a game changer. After all, investing in defence had always been a taboo in the European Union. The Juncker Commission took the initiative to break with the past. The acceptance of the proposal by the member states and by the majority of the European Parliament showed that times had changed.
Launching the Fund is part of the wider process of the European Union’s search for its geopolitical role and strengthening its security and defence policy. More than four years later, a question to be asked is whether the Fund has been successful so far. The initial pilot phase is approaching its end, although the delivery of results will take a few more years. Do the results match expectations? This year the fully-fledged EDF will start for a period of seven years with a larger amount of money in the pot: € 8 billion. What are the prospects and which criteria have to be met in order to guarantee the EDF’s success?