A New Deal for European Defence: Commission proposes industrial action plan
The European Commission has today presented a roadmap for measures to strengthen the Single Market for defence, to promote a more competitive defence industry and to foster synergies between civil and military research including details and timelines for the actions. These actions include preparing a roadmap for a comprehensive EU-wide security of supply regime; practical guidance for regional authorities and SMEs clarifying the possibility of using European funds for supporting dual-use projects; and a new ‘Preparatory Action’ to test the added value of an EU contribution to defence-related research for the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP). Taken together, these actions will contribute to making the European defence and security sector more efficient and strengthen the Union’s CSDP. Today’s roadmap is the follow-up to the Commission’s Communication on defence presented in July 2013 (IP/13/734).
European Commission Vice President Antonio Tajani, Commissioner for Industry and Entrepreneurship, said:
“The European Council recognised that defence collaboration between Member States needed to be deeper and more sustained if the EU was to adequately face its security challenges. Therefore, it is vital that, the European defence industry remains a world-leading centre for manufacturing and innovation, creating highly qualified jobs and growth.”
Commissioner for Internal Market and Services Michel Barnier said: “It is clear that developing and maintaining the technology and critical capabilities required for the future is beyond the capacity of individual Member States. While defence and security remain primarily a matter of national responsibility, more can be done to promote European co-operation. The Commission will contribute to this endeavour, in particular by strengthening the Single Market for defence and fostering competitiveness in the defence industry.”
Why does action have to be taken by the EU?
A more influential Europe needs a strong and active common security and defence policy (CSDP), which in turn requires a more competitive and efficient defence and security sector. The successive waves of cuts in defence budgets and the persistent fragmentation of defence markets in Europe threaten Europe’s capacity to sustain effective defence capabilities and a competitive defence industry. This also jeopardises Europe’s capacity to meet the new security challenges in an autonomous and effective way.
Action is particularly important since the economic crisis has hit hard an industry which is of strategic importance to Europe. It is a major industrial sector with a turnover of €96 billion in 2012 alone, employing about 400,000 people and generating up to another 960,000 indirect jobs. Its cutting-edge research has created important indirect effects in other sectors, such as electronics, space and civil aviation and provides growth and thousands of highly skilled jobs.
To foster cooperation and enhance the efficiency of the sector, the Commission has decided to take the following initiatives:
1. Complete the Single Market for defence and security. Based on the two existing Directives on defence procurement and intra EU defence transfers (IP/07/1860), the Commission will also tackle market distortions and contribute to improving security of supply between Member States.
2. Strengthen the competitiveness of European industry. To this end, the Commission will develop a defence industrial policy based on two key strands:
- Support for competitiveness – support work to identify a new mechanism for developing defence standards in Europe and a common approach to standards for military aircraft.
- Support for SMEs – including development of networks between defence-related regions within the EU, support defence-related SMEs in global competition and provide practical guidance to SMEs and European regional authorities clarifying the eligibility of using European funds in support of dual-use projects.
3. To support European defence research. To achieve this, the Commission will seek the maximum synergies possible between civil and military research, in particular, by:
- developing a new programme (Preparatory Action) to explore the potential benefits of EU-funded CSDP-related research; and
- helping armed forces reduce their energy consumption.
In July 2013, the Commission put forward the Communication “towards a more competitive and efficient defence and security sector” as a contribution to the European Council of December 2013. The European Council welcomed the Communication and will review progress in June 2015. The Report presented today will provide the basis for the Commission’s work programme, subject to the priorities established by the new Commission.
In: Growth & Competitiveness