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Agreement on the European Defence Fund with a budget of nearly €8 billion

The Airbus European MALE is concerned by the new financial programme for a Europe of Defence (photo: Airbus/Schwarzbild Medienproduktion - Max Thum).
The Airbus European MALE is concerned by the new financial programme for a Europe of Defence (photo: Airbus/Schwarzbild Medienproduktion - Max Thum).
EU. On Monday 14 December 2020, the European Commission welcomed "the political agreement reached between the European Parliament and the Member States of the European Union on the European Defence Fund".

Proposed by the European Commission in June 2018, this new multi-annual financial programme (2021-2027) will make it possible to mobilise a total amount of € 7.953 million from January 2021. "One third will fund competitive and collaborative research projects, in particular by means of grants, and two thirds will supplement Member States' investments by co-financing the costs of developing defence capabilities after the research phase", says a press release from the institution.

The participation of SMEs in collaborative projects will be strongly encouraged. "It will promote innovative solutions and technological breakthroughs thanks to a budget devoted to breakthrough technologies in the defence field," the European Commission stresses.

"This is a major step forward because, for the first time, the EU will have a specific programme to support industrial cooperation in the field of defence. For a stronger, more resilient and more strategically autonomous Europe, it is essential to have a more integrated, innovative and competitive European defence industrial and technological base. Through defence cooperation and joint investment in R&D, the European Defence Fund will provide interoperable, cutting-edge defence technologies and equipment that meet the capability needs of Member States", commented Thierry Breton, European Commissioner for the Internal Market.

In February 2019, the EU began building the foundations of this instrument to foster joint industrial development between its member states in the defence field. The European Defence Fund is based on two precursor programmes carried out under the 2014-2020 budget: the Preparatory Action on Defence Research (€90m for the period 2017-2019) and the European Defence Industrial Development Programme (€500m for 2019 and 2020).

Eric Apim

Monday, December 14th 2020

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