In line with the European Defense Industrial and Technological Base Strategy, the Code of Conduct for EU Member States involved in defense procurement, and EU Columns I and II, the EU is committed to an open, competitive policy in the defense industry and facilitation of cooperation with external partners. However, creation of the European Defense Fund, the European Defense Industrial Development Program, as well as tools such as PESCO and the Capability Development Plan, have enabled the EU to develop greater protectionism. This protectionism may be particularly relevant in the majority of the old European countries - France, Germany, Italy, Belgium, as well as in the Nordic countries - those with the largest defense industries in the EU, which the protectionism would benefit more than international competitiveness and market openness. This leads to the paradox that, although the EU guidelines provide the promotion of competitiveness in the defense industry, current defense and security measures may enable EU Member States to pursue protectionist industrial policies that are potentially detrimental to small EU defense industries, especially those with close security and defense relations.
The main goal of the project “The EU defense industry: between protectionism and competitiveness. Lithuania's opportunities in the protectionist sector" is to examine the EU defense industry regulations as well as national financing regulations of the EU Member States with the largest defense industries - France, Germany, Italy, Belgium and Sweden with an aim to identify compatibility issues of the EU defense industry policies and national policies. The following goal is to provide recommendations for the development of the Lithuanian defense industry policy, based on the gathered information and evaluation of policies and initiatives implemented in Lithuania.