”Error 404: the European defence project you were looking for does not exist”

This essay analyzes the challenges defence industries and governments are currently facing in the context of a constrained domestic demand and new competition arising from the BRICS and other emerging countries. It identifies major drivers and stages in the globalization process of arms industry and put them in perspective with the evolution of the global defence and security markets since the end of the cold war. It also isolates the underlying trends that are currently shaping the global process of arms production now and possibly in the next decade. This contextualization allows for the identification of threats but also opportunities for European defence groups. It also underscores the fact that corporate strategies pursued by firms that are growing less dependent on the domestic market will have various political and policy implications, notably on the European defence project. Measures implemented by the US and the emerging countries and the situation prevailing in Europe may significantly damage, any attempts to create a truly European military power relying on an industrial base resilient enough to ensure the old continent’s strategic autonomy.