Post-Cold War Conversion in Europe : Defense Restructuring in the 1990s and the Regional Dimension

Europe is being affected by a number of changes including the enlargement of NATO, expansion of the EU, and continued pressures on military budgets. These changes have led to Governments calling for greater harmonisation of the European military industries. National reviews of military requirements have resulted in defence dependent regions hoping for conversion and dual- use opportunities but often experiencing the negative impacts of job losses and redundant military bases.

This publication discusses and compares the impact that European restructuring has had since the end of the Cold War and highlights the impact that such restructuring has had on particular defence dependent regions. The authors, from six European countries, warn that without proper regional strategies, European harmonisation will have grave consequences as hundreds of thousands of military personnel and skilled defence workers lose their jobs throughout Europe.

The study was conducted within the framework of the COST A10 action on "Defence Restructuring and Conversion" by six members of the "Regional Conversion" Working Group. The study was presented at the Glasgow Workshop on 18 November 1999 and was funded in partnership with the European Commission (Research Directorate-General, COST-A10), the Belgian Federal Office for Scientific, Technical and Cultural Affairs (OSTC), and GRIP (Groupe de Recherche et d’Information sur la Paix et la Sécurité / Brussels).