Tag Archives: free-riders

Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP)

Security and Defence is a topic which only makes it to the front pages of the media when there are actual war operations. Rarely a debate is centered on whether the country needs to foster its capabilities, invest in new defence technologies, or protect a certain industry base. I cannot recall a single electoral programme calling for such initiatives. The defence is not popular in today’s (European) society.

“The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting.” Sun Tzu

Despite of that, and even if some Europeans take them today for granted, defence and security are no less crucial than many other public services which we expect States to provide us. As Javier Solana (former EU High Representative for Foreign and Security Policy, Secretary-General of NATO and Foreign Minister of Spain) put it few days ago in an article titled “Globalizing European Security“:

Global security – a safe and peaceful environment free of conflict – is a public good. In other words, all of the world’s citizens and countries benefit from it, regardless of whether they contribute to supplying it. Given this, free riders (those who enjoy the benefits of the good without investing in its provision) are likely to be plentiful. But, when it comes to global stability, the world simply cannot afford a free-riding Europe.

This obviously includes Europe: Europe cannot afford a free-riding Europe. As Anders Fogh Rasmussen (current Secretary-General of NATO and former Prime Minister of Denmark) put it yesterday:

I truly believe that we should do much more to educate society in the importance of peace, security and defence as goods to be protected and spread, so they can be better valued and supported.

EUCO Conclusions Defence, December 19, 2013 [PDF, 118KB]

EUCO conclusions on Defence, December 19, 2013 [PDF, 118KB]

Having said that, yesterday took place the first session of a 2-day EU Council in which one of the main topics to be dealt with was Security and Defence. Apart from the one cited above, there have been plenty of interesting articles in days prior to the meeting calling for decisions and actions to be taken by the council. To name a few:

In this post I just want to bring the European Council conclusions [PDF, 118KB] as already published and outline some of the passages.

2. The EU and its Member States must exercise greater responsibilities in response to those challenges if they want to contribute to maintaining peace and security through CSDP […]. The European Council calls on the Member States to deepen defence cooperation by improving the capacity to conduct missions and operations and by making full use of synergies in order to improve the development and availability of the required civilian and military capabilities, supported by a more integrated, sustainable, innovative and competitive European Defence Technological and Industrial Base (EDTIB). This will also bring benefits in terms of growth, jobs and innovation to the broader European industrial sector.

4. […] the European Council has identified a number of priority actions built around three axes: increasing the effectiveness, visibility and impact of CSDP; enhancing the development of capabilities and strengthening Europe’s defence industry.

5. […] The European Union and its Member States can bring to the international stage the unique ability to combine, in a consistent manner, policies and tools ranging from diplomacy, security and defence to finance, trade, development and justice. […]

8. […] The European Council emphasises the need to improve the EU rapid response capabilities, including through more flexible and deployable EU Battle groups […]

9. New security challenges continue to emerge. […] the European Council calls for:

  • an EU Cyber Defence Policy Framework in 2014 […]
  • an EU Maritime Security Strategy by June 2014 […]
  • increased synergies between CSDP and Freedom/Security/Justice actors […]
  • progress in developing CSDP support for third states and regions […]
  • further strengthening cooperation to tackle energy security challenges.

10. Cooperation in the area of military capability development is crucial to maintaining key capabilities, remedying shortfalls and avoiding redundancies. Pooling demand, consolidating requirements and realising economies of scale will allow Member States to enhance the efficient use of resources and ensure interoperability, […]

11. The European Council remains committed to delivering key capabilities […]. Bearing in mind that the capacities are owned and operated by the Member States, it welcomes:

  • the development of Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS) in the 2020-2025 timeframe: preparations for a programme of a next-generation European Medium Altitude Long Endurance RPAS; the establishment of an RPAS user community among the participating Member States owning and operating these RPAS; close synergies with the European Commission on regulation (for an initial RPAS integration into the European Aviation System by 2016); appropriate funding from 2014 for R&D activities;
  • the development of Air-to-Air refuelling capacity: progress towards increasing overall capacity and reducing fragmentation, especially as regards the establishment of a Multi-Role Tanker Transport capacity, with synergies in the field of certification, qualification, in-service support and training;
  • Satellite Communication […]
  • Cyber: developing a roadmap and concrete projects […]

13. The European Council welcomes the existing cooperative models, such as the European Air Transport Command (EATC), and encourages Member States to explore ways to replicate the EATC model in other areas.
14. […] It encourages the further development of incentives for and innovative approaches to such cooperation, including by investigating non market-distorting fiscal measures in accordance with existing European law. […]

16. Europe needs a more integrated, sustainable, innovative and competitive defence technological and industrial base (EDTIB) to develop and sustain defence capabilities. This can also enhance its strategic autonomy and its ability to act with partners. The EDTIB should be strengthened to ensure operational effectiveness and security of supply, while remaining globally competitive and stimulating jobs, innovation and growth across the EU. These efforts should be inclusive with opportunities for defence industry in the EU, […]

17. A well-functioning defence market based on openness, equal treatment and opportunities, and transparency for all European suppliers is crucial. […] with a view to opening up the market for subcontractors from all over Europe, ensuring economies of scale and allowing a better circulation of defence products.

18. To ensure the long-term competitiveness of the European defence industry and secure the modern capabilities needed, it is essential to retain defence Research & Technology (R&T) expertise, especially in critical defence technologies. The European Council invites the Member States to increase investment in cooperative research programmes, […]. Civilian and defence research reinforce each other, including in key enabling technologies and on energy efficiency technology. The European Council therefore welcomes the Commission’s intention to evaluate how the results under Horizon 2020 could also benefit defence and security industrial capabilities. […] to develop proposals to stimulate further dual use research. […]

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Unions, right-to-work and free-riders

Every now and then, followers of the aerospace industry read news about the relationships between Boeing and the unions. Recall the 8-week strike by the International Association of Machinists (IAM 751) in the fall of 2008, or the more recent negotiations with the Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace (SPEEA). See, for instance a recent article from Leeham News on the need for change in Washington state, “Right-to-Work, Creepy and Right-to-Worse in Washington State“.

Some months ago I was intrigued by what those terms meant in the American landscape, “right-to-work”, “unionized state”, “non-unionized state”, etc. Thus, I started looking for some definitions in the Wikipedia. And I found some of these terms misleading, or at least when seen from a European frame.

I initially thought that a non-unionized state might have some ban on unions, thus making it possibly more attractive for an employer if it deems it will have the higher hand in a negotiation. But no. There are indeed unions in non-unionized states. Let me just go through some passages taken from the Wikipedia trying to see the different terms:

Open shop: “An open shop is a place of employment at which one is not required to join or financially support a union (closed shop) as a condition of hiring or continued employment”.

Closed shop: “A pre-entry closed shop is a form of union security agreement under which the employer agrees to hire union members only, and employees must remain members of the union at all times in order to remain employed.” […]

“The Taft-Hartley Act outlawed the closed shop in the United States in 1947, but permits the union shop, except in those states that have passed right-to-work laws, in which case even the union shop is illegal. An employer may not lawfully agree with a union to hire only union members; it may, on the other hand, agree to require employees to join the union or pay the equivalent of union dues to it after a set period of time.”

Union shop: “A union shop is a form of a union security clause under which the employer agrees to hire either labor union members or nonmembers but all non-union employees must become union members within a specified period of time or lose their jobs.”

Right-to-work: “A “right-to-work” law is a statute in the United States that prohibits union security agreements, or agreements between labor unions and employers, that govern the extent to which an established union can require employees’ membership, payment of union dues, or fees as a condition of employment, either before or after hiring. “Right-to-work” laws do not, as the short phrase might suggest, aim to provide a general guarantee of employment to people seeking work, but rather are a government regulation of the contractual agreements between employers and labor unions that prevents them from excluding non-union workers”.

After I made this short review of those definitions, I got a complete different picture. Non-unionized states which I initially perceived as places with some intrinsic insecurity for the worker are simply having a  similar scheme than the one we have in Europe: shop-floor workers or engineers at Airbus are not required to join any union to get employment, nor are they forced to pay dues to union if contracted, though they may join one if they deem it in their interest.

I could even think of the union-states as an anachronism (forcing workers to join a union in order to work), however some of the reasons provided by opponents of the right-to-work law have sense:  free-riders would benefit from a collective bargaining agreement negotiated by a union without paying for that negotiation, the weakening of unions may lead to a race to the bottom, etc.

So far, I was never part of any union, thus I fall under the category of free rider, as I have and continue to benefit from social conditions negotiated by large unions.

Union affiliation

I found an interesting report prepared by the European Commission on “Industrial Relations in Europe (2010)” [PDF, 5MB]. Among the many sides of labour relations covered in the report, I found the graphic below with numbers about union affiliation rates in different European countries.

Union affiliation in Europe (source: European Commission).

Union affiliation in Europe (source: European Commission).

The figures in Spain and France, where I have worked so far, are around or below 10%. I found it in line with non-unionized states in the USA according to the Wikipedia: states without right-to-work laws have an affiliation generally above 10% (up to 25%) whereas states with such laws (thus similar to Spain or France) have lower figures of affiliation, less than 10% and down to 3.5% (with the main exception of Michigan).

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