Paris: Israel barred from the biggest security and defense expo in the world

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Global Defence Expo Faces Unprecedented Bans Amid Ongoing Conflicts

The world’s largest defence and arms exhibition opened in Paris on Monday, showcasing the latest military technology, from drones to armoured vehicles. However, this year’s event is notably impacted by geopolitical tensions, leading to the exclusion of several key participants.

A First in History: Israel Barred from Participation

For the first time, Israel has been barred from the international defence expo due to its ongoing offensive in Gaza. A French district court ruled that the event organisers must exclude any representatives of Israeli firms. This decision affects 74 Israeli companies that were slated to exhibit their weaponry at the expo near Paris’ international airport.

Charles Beaudoin, head of the event organiser Coges, announced plans to appeal the court’s decision. However, with the exhibition already underway, the immediate absence of Israeli firms is a significant deviation from previous years.

Absence of Russia and Belarus

Russia and Belarus are also absent from this year’s event due to the ongoing war in Ukraine. Their exclusion underscores the broader impact of geopolitical conflicts on international trade and cooperation in the defence sector.

Rising European Arms Imports and Strategic Shifts

The Eurosatory conference, held biennially, attracts over 2,000 exhibitors from 61 countries. This year, the exhibition reflects significant shifts in global defence strategies, particularly within Europe.

European Union’s Increased Involvement

The European Union and the European Commission have amplified their presence at the expo, a move driven by the war in Ukraine. The EU has been actively enhancing its defence industry strategy, as highlighted by Léo Péria-Péigné, an arms expert at the French Institute of International Relations (Ifri). According to Péria-Péigné, the EU’s increased involvement is a response to the growing need for coordinated defence efforts among member states.

Strategic Initiatives and Funding

Several initiatives underscore the EU’s strategic shift:

  1. EDIRPA (European Defence Industry Reinforcement through Common Procurement Act): This initiative encourages EU member states to purchase weapons jointly, fostering cooperation and collective security.
  2. European Defense Fund (EDF): The EDF provides grants to defence companies that collaborate across at least three EU states. This funding mechanism aims to bolster European defence firms against their American counterparts.

Implications for the Defence Industry

The increased involvement of the EU in defence and armaments is a significant change from previous years. This strategic shift is driven by the need for a more robust European defence posture in light of ongoing conflicts. The EU’s initiatives aim to enhance the competitive edge of European defence firms and ensure a coordinated response to security threats.

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