Germany, France, Spain Aim for Fighter Jet Agreement This Week

By Reuters
May 3, 2021Europe
Germany, France, Spain Aim for Fighter Jet Agreement This Week
Scale models of the Franco-German-Spanish Future Combat Air System (FCAS), Europe's next-generation fighter jet, are seen in Paris, France, on Feb. 20, 2020. (Charles Platiau/Reuters)

BERLIN—Disagreements over intellectual property rights mean Germany, France and Spain have yet to agree the next steps for a joint fighter jet project, the defense ministry in Berlin said on Saturday after a deadline to find a solution ran out.

The defense ministers of Germany and France had previously set an end-April deadline to broker a deal over the Future Combat Air System (FCAS), Europe’s largest defense project.

“No agreement over the use of the intellectual property rights has been found yet,” a ministry spokeswoman said. “For Germany, unrestricted access to the results of the jointly financed research is of utmost importance.”

The countries were aiming for an agreement this week, she added.

Costing more than 100 billion euros ($120 billion), the development of the jet brings together Germany, France and Spain.

Dassault Aviation, Airbus and Indra are involved in the scheme to start replacing France’s Rafale and German and Spanish Eurofighters from 2040.

Berlin’s defense ministry spokeswoman said there needed to be an adequate arrangement for the use of intellectual property rights in the jet which respected the interests of all participants in the project.

She said negotiations were continuing and it remained Germany’s goal to present a proposal to the parliament’s budget committee in June.

The next step of the jet’s development is conditional on the German parliament’s approval, and time is running out to find a solution to present a proposal in time for the parliament’s budget committee to vote upon it before a general election in September.

Previously, a source with knowledge of the issue had told Reuters that the German defense ministry has to refer the budget proposal to the finance ministry by May 19.

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