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Europe needs to invest more in defence production, Airbus CEO says

FILE PHOTO: Airbus logo at the Airbus Defence and Space facility in Elancourt

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Europe must work more closely on defence projects and raise investment in production capacity, the chief executive of Airbus told a German newspaper.

Guillaume Faury told Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung that the European Union was buying five times less armaments than the United States and that up to three quarters of those were not produced in Europe but mostly in America.

"There is too little investment in production capacities here and in the end quickly available armaments are procured in the United States," he said. "Politicians should not only look at how they can cover their needs in the short term."

Faury also called for closer defence cooperation with Britain, which is developing the GCAP jet fighter project with Italy and Japan, while France, Germany and Spain are pursuing the so-called FCAS jet project.

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Airbus is involved in FCAS alongside France's Dassault Aviation with which it reached an agreement on the development of a demonstrator in 2022.

"It is conceivable, for example, to consider standardising the IT systems for FCAS and GCAP at some point," said Faury, adding this would ensure interoperability at a NATO level.

"I also think we need a security and defence agreement between the EU and the UK," Faury said.

(Reporting by Christoph Steitz; editing by Giles Elgood)