The European Commission today proposed the creation of a European Defence Fund and other actions to help Member States to boost research and spend more efficiently on joint defence capabilities, so to strengthen European citizens' security and foster a competitive and innovative industrial base.
The European Defence Action Plan is one of the three pillars of plans to strengthen EU security and defence as set out in High Representative Federica Mogherini’s Global Strategy. The Global Strategy’s Implementation Plan on Security and Defence sets out a new level of ambition for the EU and identifies actions to fulfil it, including better cooperation on defence capabilities. It is also in line with the EU-NATO Joint Declaration, signed in July: HRVP Mogherini and Secretary-General of NATO, Stoltenberg, are currently working on its implementation.
“A strong European Defence Industrial and Technological base as well as increased cooperation amongst Member States are both essential to develop and maintain the key capabilities that are needed for Europe's security,” the High Representative told a press conference in Brussels. “This is at the basis of a credible European Union in the field of defence and security. So it is about being a global security provider. It is about having a strong, smart, innovative European industrial base. It is a way to deepen defence cooperation, making full use of all our instruments, combining them in a coherent manner.
“We have different tools, we have different institutions, we have different frameworks in which the work in defence and security can be carried out and the fact that we have worked in team, perfectly well together, with good and concrete results, I believe, is also a test of the Lisbon Treaty and to the capacity we have to put together different institutions for a shared objective. In particular it will be important to work together - the Commission, the Council, the European Defence Agency that is one of the frameworks in which we can develop this cooperation. By the way, I will be visiting in a couple of hours a European Defence Agency helicopter exercise as an example of the kind of defence cooperation that is already existing in the European Union framework,” Mogherini said.
The European Defence Action Plan proposes to set up a European Defence Fund to support investment in joint research and the joint development of defence equipment and technologies. The proposed Fund would include a ‘research window’ to fund collaborative research in innovative defence technologies such as electronics, metamaterials, encrypted software or robotics. The Commission has already proposed EUR 25 million for defence research as part of the 2017 EU budget, and expects that this budget allocation could grow to a total of EUR 90 million by 2020. Under the post-2020 EU multiannual financial framework, the Commission intends to propose a dedicated defence research programme with an estimated amount of EUR 500 million per year. A ‘capability window’ would act as a financial tool allowing participating Member States to purchase certain assets together to reduce their costs.
The plan also aims to foster investments in SMEs, start-ups, mid-caps and other suppliers to the defence industry and strengthen the EU’s single market for defence, by applying two Directives on defence and security procurement and on EU transfers, facilitating cross-border participation in defence procurement, supporting the development of industry standards, and promoting the contribution of sectoral policies, such as EU space programmes, to common security and defence priorities.
EU Heads of State and Government will discuss the plans at their 15-16 December Summit.
Link to the video: http://ec.europa.eu/avservices/video/player.cfm?ref=I130005