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“Defence Research” as a new EU action field: New development perspectives for Austria as a research and technology location
In December 2013, the Decision by the European Council regarding the strengthening of the EDTIB (European Defence Technological and Industrial Base) already laid the foundations for an increased engagement of the EU and the European Commission (EC) respectively in the field of defence research.
This overall EU initiative for strengthening the EDTIB was preceded by comprehensive preliminary work by the European Parliament (EP) as well as by the EC (studies, analyses, EC Communications, …). Subsequent follow-up decisions of the European Council each reinforced this development - this was also the case at the latest European Council in December 2016.
One of the packages of essential measures adopted in 2013 aims at the contribution of research and technology (R&T) to strengthening the EDTIB. Amongst other issues, it was decided to
- set up a “Preparatory Action on Defence Research (PADR)”, in preparation of an “EDRP – European Defence Research Programme” within the EU budget as of 2021;
- use synergies between civil and military initiatives and instruments;
- stimulate more “dual-use research”.
In order to implement these decisions, the EC, in close cooperation with the European Defence Agency (EDA), introduced numerous initiatives, in particular regarding the use of synergies, amongst others by opening up the “financing instruments” of the EC to the field of defence, above all also for SMEs. The PADR is already in its implementation phase, with the first call to be expected in June 2017 at the latest.
The “European Defence Action Plan (EDAP)” of 30 Nov. 2016 summarises some of the measures that have already been introduced or are already being implemented, integrated into a new structure. The “Research Window” of the “European Defence Fund (EDF)” reflects the PADR as well as the EDRP. In addition to the EDF pillar, other EC initiatives, amongst others regarding the use of other EU instruments for the field of defence (such as ESIF, COSME, ESF, …) are listed under the other pillars of the EDAP.
With this initiative, the EU is entering a new action field. For the first time, funds from the common EU budget are used for supporting a development in the field of defence research which is important for the EU, both with regard to security policy and economic policy. Thus a completely new development perspective is also opened up for Austria as a research and technology location with high potential.