- Agency of the Council of the European Union supporting the development of defence capabilities and military cooperation among its Member States (all EU Member States except Denmark);
- Set-up in July 2004, its Steering Board meets at the level of defence ministers;
- The Agency is headed by the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy who is also Vice-President of the European Commission;
- Based in Brussels, the EDA enables and facilitates defence cooperation among its Member States for the whole life-cycle of a capability including cooperation in research and technology as well as procurement or training.
The European Defence Agency was established under a Joint Action of the Council of Ministers on 12 July 2004 (2004/551/CFSP), “to support the Council and the Member States in their effort to improve the EU’s defence capabilities in the field of crisis management and to sustain the European Security and Defence Policy (ESDP) as it stands now and develops in the future”. To implement the provisions of the Lisbon Treaty, this Joint Action was first replaced by a Council decision on 12 July 2011 which was later revised by Council decision (CFSP) 2015/1835 of 12 October 2015 on the statute, seat and operational rules of the EDA.
The European Defence Agency’s initial main missions are to develop defence capabilities; promote defence research and technology (R&T); foster armaments co-operation; and to create a competitive European Defence Equipment Market as well as to strengthen the European Defence, Technological and Industrial Base.
In May 2017, following a Long Term Review (LTR) initiated by the Head of the Agency, Defence ministers agreed to reinforce EDA’s mission by strengthening its role as the main instrument for intergovernmental capability planning and prioritisation in Europe; as the prime forum and coordinator for the whole lifecycle of capability development; and as Member States’ central interface and gateway towards EU institutions and stakeholders.
The Agency has signed Administrative Arrangements with Norway (2006), Switzerland (2012), the Republic of Serbia (2013) and Ukraine (2015) enabling them to participate in EDA’s projects and programmes.
See also: The European Defence Agency