Today June 7th the EC announced the launch of the European Defence Fund.
The fund has been created as a response to the increased instability and conflicts in the neighbourghood of the EU and to the new security threats that are emerging. These new challenges cannot be adressed by member states alones, hence the need for a comprehensive strategy.
Defence policy has been identified as one of the priority areas of action in President Juncker's political guidelines. In 2016, the European Union laid the foundations for a stronger European defence policy. As part of a comprehensive defence package following up the EU Global Strategy in the security and defence area, the Commission adopted the European Defence Action Plan (EDAP).
This Action Plan sets out the measures needed to achieve greater European defence cooperation and support the competitiveness of Europe’s defence industry. It proposed the establishment of a European Defence Fund. The Fund should help Member States make cooperation the norm and thereby develop and acquire key strategic defence capabilities. The European Council welcomed the initiative as well as the Commission's intention to present proposals for the establishment of a European Defence Fund in the first half of 2017.
Work is advancing on the preparation of the Research Window of the European Defence Fund. Today, the Commission is making a legislative proposal for a European Defence Industrial Development Programme. The proposal reflects an intensive dialogue with all stakeholders, notably the Member States. Cooperation with the High Representative and the EDA has been close. This Communication also presents tools to promote the joint acquisition of defence capabilities by Member States. Further action will be taken in subsequent phases of the establishment of the Fund. The European Defence Fund must become a key enabler for the future of European defence. It will support the level of ambition the Union will agree upon when considering the different scenarios towards a Security and European Defence Union, as set out in the reflection paper on the future of European defence.
To see the full communication on the launch of the European Defence Fund click here.