Credit: Reuters/Francois Lenoir By Adrian Croft BRUSSELS | Wed Sep 18, 2013 10:37pm BST BRUSSELS (Reuters) – NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen will urge Europe on Thursday to step up its commitment to defence by buying more surveillance drones, transport and tanker aircraft and strengthening its fragmented defence industry. Senior U.S. officials, and Rasmussen himself, have expressed growing concern that defence cuts pushed through by cash-strapped European governments have created a big gulf between U.S. and European military capabilities and risk weakening NATO. The European Union has also launched a debate, set to culminate in a summit of European leaders in December, on how Europe can strengthen its arms industry and bolster a common defence policy. In a speech to the Carnegie Europe think tank in Brussels on Thursday, Rasmussen will argue that a strong NATO needs “a strong Europe – with strong capabilities, strong defence industries, and strong political commitment,” NATO officials said. He is expected to urge European allies to strengthen their capabilities in key areas, saying they should acquire more surveillance drones, more large transport and air-to-air refuelling aircraft and more upgraded ship radars so they can be integrated into NATO’s planned missile defence system. As the United States turns its strategic focus increasingly towards Asia, it is banking on Europe to take more military responsibility in its backyard. But during the 2011 Libya conflict, European states had to rely heavily on the United States for air-to-air refuelling, intelligence and surveillance. Rasmussen will also say that Europe needs a strong defence industrial base, arguing that the continent’s defence industry remains too national and fragmented, NATO officials said. He will welcome proposals put forward by the European Union’s executive Commission in July to make the industry more efficient and competitive. The Commission proposed helping Europe’s defence industry cope with falling military budgets by funding research and aiding the development of new technologies with military uses. British Defence Secretary Philip Hammond voiced scepticism over the Commission’s proposals last week and said London would oppose any moves to enforce new rules on the region’s defence industry that damaged British companies’ competitiveness. Drones are an area where Europe lags the United States and Israel. Three European aerospace companies – France’s Dassault Aviation, EADS Cassidian and Italy’s Finmeccanica Alenia Aermacchi – called on Europe in June to launch its own independent drone programme to equip armies across the continent.
What German vote means for Europe’s economy
Who is likely to win? Until recently, Merkel and her coalition allies had a clear lead in opinion polls, but support for her party and the FDP has fallen. If the FDP drops below the 5% threshold needed to win seats in parliament, Merkel will lose her preferred coalition partner. Analysts say a repeat of the 2005-2009 coalition with the Social Democrats is now the most likely outcome of Sunday’s vote, particularly if the new anti-euro party AfD makes a breakthrough. Related: Could euroskeptics spoil Angela Merkel’s election party What’s at stake in Europe? With the recession over and markets calmer, the pace of EU policy making has eased. But big challenges remain for a region still facing slow growth, record unemployment , an aging population and rising debt . Greece needs more help and Portugal might need a second bailout. What’s more, progress on repairing the European banking system, which is critical to unfreezing credit markets and restoring long-term economic health, has slowed. Germany, of course, will remain the central player in deciding the future of Europe’s crisis response, including rescues and closer cooperation between euro zone states on issues like a banking union. But European policy is unlikely to change if Merkel continues to govern with the FDP. And even if she’s forced into a grand coalition, any shift is likely to be very subtle. Related: Greece joining euro was a mistake: Merkel While the Social Democrats have taken a softer tone on austerity , they have backed Merkel on all the big European decisions during the crisis.
That perception was borne out by panelists and attendees at last weeks Structure:Europe event and other reports that show cloud adoption growing despite PRISM-generated concerns over data privacy, which have yet to be sorted out. Last week, Viviane Reding, VP of the European Commission and the EUs Commissioner for Justice, called for a single data privacy law to cover the entire European Union. Currently, some European countries Germany and Switzerland, for example have more iron-clad data sovereignty rules than others. According to a statement outlining the proposal , the proposed regulation is: [T]he Unions response to fear of surveillance. By adopting the Data Protection Regulation, the Union will equip it itself with a set of rules fit for the 21st century. Rules that will empower the very people whose data fuels the digital economy. Rules that will ensure the digital economys growth can be sustained. The value of E.U. citizens data in aggregate was 315 billion ($426 billion) in 2011 and could hit the I 1 trillion ($1.35 billion) annually in 2020, provided that trust issues that have arisen can be addressed, according to the European Union. A whopping 92 percent of Europeans worry about mobile apps collecting their data without their consent and 89 percent say they want to know when the data on their smartphone is being shared with third parties. If you think cloud tech sales are healthy now, just wait The market for foundational cloud technologies from basic virtualization to top-of-the-stack security will be booming over the next few years, according to new research from the 451 groups Market Monitor service (password required) but Louis Columbus has a good summary here on Forbes.com. The total market for cloud enabling technologies or CETwill grow at a brisk 21 percent compound annual growth rate of 21 percent to 22.6 billion in 2016 from $10.6B in 2012. All of our Structure:Europe cloud coverage is here and check out last weeks Structure Show featuring New Relic founder Lew Sweet Lew Cirnes tips for startups. More cloud news from the interwebs:
Europe shares close lower after Bullard comments
The U.K. FTSE closed down 0.4 percent, the German Dax closed down 0.2 percent and the French Cac closed up 0.1 percent. Bullard emphasized in an interview with Bloomberg the role that economic data has played, and will continue to play in Fed decisions “This was a close decision here in September,” he told the network. Europe stocks started the day in negative territory, bringing an end to the broad rally which started after the Federal Reserve surprised markets by opting to maintain its $85 billion-per-month asset purchases. However, Bullard’s comments on Friday backed up the belief that the Fed still plans to taper soon. In Europe, German voters are preparing to go the polls in Sunday’s general elections . The current chancellor, Angela Merkel, is expected to win a third term in office, but the future composition of the governing coalition remains unclear. It is possible that Merkel might have to form an alliance with the rival Social Democrats party (SPD). In Asia, Indian equities led the region lower on the final trading day of the week, after the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) unexpectedly raised interest rates. India’s Sensex index closed down 1.8 percent, Japan’s Nikkei index ended just below the flatline and Australia’s S&P ASX 200 fell off the previous day’s five-year high. (Read More: India unexpectedly hikes rates, shares tumble ) Elsewhere, die-hard Apple fans in Asia and Europe lined up outside stores for the launch of the tech firm’s latest handsets.