EC holds orientation debate on European defence policy
Within the framework of discussions on the future direction of the EU after Brexit, the European Commission (EC) held an orientation debate on the future of European defence on 24 May 2017 in Brussels, calling for more European cooperation in this area which had been declared a priority area for the Juncker Commission ever since it took office. In the context of this broad debate, Commission Vice-President for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness Jyrki Katainen, amongst other issues, stressed the importance of greater cooperation also in defence research, saying that "there is an overwhelming economic and industrial case for greater cooperation, for example in defence research and procurement. As pressure on national budgets remains high, we need more efficient defence spending and a better use of defence capabilities."
According to the EC, since 2010, less than € 200 million has been spent each year on collaborative European research & technology in the field of defence, a figure which the EC wishes to more than triple to over € 600 million from 2021.
In November 2016. the EC had launched the European Defence Action Plan (EDAP) which announced the setting up of a "European Defence Fund". Ahead of the Prague high-level European conference on defence and security, the Commission intends to launch the "European Defence Fund" on 7 June 2017. In parallel, the EC will present a longer-term reflection paper setting out possible scenarios for the future in the area of European defence. This forms part of the discussion on the future of the EU at 27 launched with the Commission's White Paper on the Future of Europe on 1 March 2017.
For more information:
EC Factsheet on EU defence