E.U. defense ministers agreed this week to create a free market for military equipment among their countries. Because of the sensitive national-security implications, defense procurement has always been exempt from the E.U.’s common market rules. Most E.U. countries, therefore, buy weapons and equipment from domestic companies whenever they can. The new agreement encourages them to award defense contracts to the lowest E.U. bidder. The change is seen as a key step toward modernizing European militaries.
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