FRANKFURT: Manfred Bischoff, the future head of new Franco-German defense-aerospace group EADS, said the question of British Aerospace (BAe) joining the new group would only become relevant when BAe takes the initiative. Speaking in an interview with German weekly magazine Wirtschaftswoche, he said BAe will continue to be the new company's biggest partner. EADS -- European Aeronautic, Defense and Space Co. -- formed last week with the merging of DaimlerChrysler Aerospace AG and Aerospatiale Matra SA, both part of the European aerospace and defense consortium known as Airbus Industries. The consortium, which includes BAe among its members, was set up to take on the U.S. as world leader in aerospace. The member companies remain independent, although there is pressure among members to consolidate. Despite attempts to merge with other companies, BAe's consolidation efforts haven't been successful. Bischoff was confident EADS could survive in international competition without BAe. Looking at the leading role of the U.S. in defense, Bischoff said the gap between Europe and the U.S. in defense had expanded in the last few years. "Germany will risk capacities in production and development, if cuts in the defense budget continue like now," Bischoff said referring to the German government's reductions. He said EADS will aim to strengthen its presence in the U.S. space technology market.