European Defence giants Leonardo and Rheinmetall form a 50/50 Joint Venture for the development of the next Land Defence Systems

The Italian manufacturer Leonardo and the German arms maker Rheinmetall signed a strategic partnership on 3 July 2024 to establish a 50/50 joint venture for the industrial development and the subsequent commercialisation of a new battle tank for the Italian Army’s ground system programs. The new-born entity will be based in Italy, where 60 % of the overall production will take place (Leonardo, 2024). Over the next ten years, the two industrial groups aim to win contracts worth an estimated 20 billion euros from the Italian Army (Dragoni, 2024). The terms of the agreement will have a positive impact on the Italian supply chain as a whole and could capitalise more than 50 billion US dollars on the European market, as preannounced by Rheinmetall CEO Armin Papperger (Reuters, 2024). The Memorandum of Understanding signed by the two counterparts is now subject to approval by the European Commission and national competition authorities.

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What is in the Inbox of the EU’s Next Foreign Policy Representative, Kaja Kallas?

At the European Council Summit in Brussels on the 27th of June, EU leaders gathered to approve the bloc’s new leadership following the outcome of the European elections. Among the appointments, Kaja Kallas was tapped as the EU’s next High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, succeeding the Spanish Josep Borrell. Currently the Prime Minister of Estonia, Kallas recognised the “enormous responsibility” she is entrusted with and reiterated her commitment to strengthening the EU’s defence capabilities (Kallas, 2024). Before being talked about for this position, her name had floated to lead NATO, as well as for the proposed role of EU Defense Commissioner, which Commission President Ursula von der Leyen promised to create if re-elected (McElvoy, 2024). Just like Von der Leyen and future EU Council President Antonio Costa, Kallas will need to get formal approval from EU lawmakers and the European Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee in the next fall (Nardelli and Tammik, 2024).

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EUDIS Hackathon First Edition 2024

The EUDIS Hackathon, a part of the EU Defence Innovation Scheme (EUDIS), is an outreach event that brings together people from various backgrounds to solve challenge. It was simultaneously held in six countries in a hybrid format: Belgium, Poland, Italy, Greece, Lithuania, and Hungary. The theme of this first edition was “Digital in Defence' and it centered on three challenges: improving situational awareness, subsea infrastructure protection, and cybersecurity in defence.

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Nordic joint action: Sweden and Denmark enhance defence cooperation

Pal Jonson, Swedish Defence Minister, and Troels Lund Poulsen, Danish Defence Minister, signed a letter of intent on enhanced defence cooperation on 7 May 2024. The letter of intent is framed in “light of the concerning security situation in Europe and beyond and the need to continue building upon the bilateral Memorandum of Understanding” (Government of Sweden, 2024) the two countries signed in 2016 that guides their cooperation in defence matters. This agreement aligns with broader cooperation frameworks, including the Nordic Defence Cooperation (NORDEFCO), and the countries’ willingness to increase collaborative defence efforts.

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Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni and NATO Chief Jens Stoltenberg meet in Rome to Discuss Ukraine, Defence Spending and Mediterranean Security

On 8 May 2024, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg met with Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni in Rome, Italy. Their discussion mainly focused on what will be at the heart of the upcoming NATO Summit, taking place in July in Washington, with the war in Ukraine leading the conversation (ANSA, 2024a). The Secretary General reiterated that sending boots on the ground to Ukraine is currently not an option for NATO, nor something that the Ukrainians have asked (ANSA 2024b). Instead, what Ukrainians are in desperate need of is additional military aid, especially in light of the recent territorial advance by the Russian army in the northeastern region of Kharkiv (Dettmer, 2024).

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