The peril that NATO can't ignore
"EU countries have 89 different weapons programs, while the US, whose budget is more than twice the size of the EU's defence budgets combined, has only 27," said Clara Marina O'Donnell, research fellow at the Centre for European Reform in London. "The main challenge for NATO is that Europe, given its lack of defence capabilities and funds, is not using this chance for greater cooperation, however urgently it is needed." This fragmentation of Europe's defence markets has proved expensive and inefficient. "It has also hampered the ability of European militaries to work together on international missions ... Europe can't assume that the Americans will always be around the corner... Maybe there is a silver lining to the financial crisis. Europe might face unprecedented pressure to change its behavior. That is what Britain and France are doing." But Europe, she acknowledged, has rarely missed an opportunity to disappoint.