European Interest

Fostering defence innovation through the European Defence Fund

Flickr/7th Army Training Command/CC BY 2.0

The European Parliament on Thursday adopted the partial agreement on the EU Defence Fund for 2021-2027, aiming for a more ‘European’ approach to defence.

328 MEPs voted in favour of the partial deal with EU ministers, with 231 against, and 19 abstaining. The EU Defence Fund will foster technological innovation and cooperation in the European defence sector and aims to place the EU among the top four defence research and technology investors in Europe.

Parliament advocates a budget of €11.5 billion in 2018 prices (€13 billion in current prices). This sum however is still to be discussed during the negotiations on the EU’s 2021-2027 long-term budget.

Main features of the European Defence Fund for 2021-2027 include:

Support to the entire industrial development lifecycle of defence products from research (up to 100%) to prototype development (up to 20%) to certification (up to 80%);

Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and mid-caps (a company valued at 2 -10 billion dollars) are given incentives to participate, as they are provided with higher financing rates, and projects by consortia which include SMEs are favoured;

Projects will be defined according to defence priorities agreed by member states under the Common Foreign and Security Policy but other priorities, such as those of NATO, can also be taken into account;

Only collaborative projects involving at least three participants from three member states or associated countries are eligible.

The newly elected European Parliament will continue negotiating the outstanding issues with member states.

“I believe that the European Defence Fund will help to jointly develop innovative defence products and technologies in cooperation between defence industries from different Member States, including those not involved in this process so far. Thanks to the EDF, we will not only prevent taxpayer’s money being wasted on unnecessary duplication of defence capabilities, but more importantly also increase Europe’s security and create new jobs in the defence industry sector,” said Rapporteur Zdzisław Krasnodębski (ECR, PL).

The newly elected European Parliament will continue negotiating the outstanding issues with member states.

EPP: Victory for European defence despite ideological opposition

“We have won the battle to secure a common and strong European Defence Fund for the future and this despite obstacles set up by ideological opponents. The EPP Group was the first supporter of the fund and I am confident that the adoption will mean a huge step forward for our European defence industry”, said Françoise Grossetête MEP, EPP Group Spokeswoman, after the final adoption in Plenary of the deal struck on the European Defence Fund (EDF).

“This fund should be a tool for more European integration and cooperation. It is also an answer to new challenges that are emerging like cyber threats, and a way to improve our efficiency by avoiding duplication and generating research and innovation in the defence area”, Françoise Grossetête continued.

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