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EU for Defence Fund

080720-N-7571S-005 ATLANTIC OCEAN (July 20, 2008) Lt. Cmdr. Eric Hanks shoots a French F-2 Rafale during combined French and American carrier qualifications aboard the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71). This event marks the first integrated U.S. and French carrier qualifications aboard a U.S. aircraft carrier. The Theodore Roosevelt Carrier Strike Group is participating in Joint Task Force Exercise "Operation Brimstone" off the Atlantic coast until the end of July. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Jonathan Snyder/Released)


The European Commission proposes a European Defence Fund and other actions to support Member States’ more efficient spending in joint defence capabilities, strengthen European citizens’ security and foster a competitive and innovative industrial base.

The Commission will present and discuss these proposals, in particular the creation of a European Defence Fund, with all stakeholders. The European Council on 15-16 December will be a key milestone.

“To guarantee our collective security, we must invest in the common development of technologies and equipment of strategic importance – from land, air, sea and space capabilities to cyber security. – said European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker.  – It requires more cooperation between Member States and greater pooling of national resources. If Europe does not take care of its own security, nobody else will do it for us. A strong, competitive and innovative defence industrial base is what will give us strategic autonomy.

The European Commission proposes a European Defence Fund and other actions to support Member States’ more efficient spending in joint defence capabilities, strengthen European citizens’ security and foster a competitive and innovative industrial base.

In his 2016 State of the Union speech, President Jean-Claude Juncker highlighted the importance of a strong Europe that can defend and protect its citizens at home and abroad – an ambition which cannot be achieved without innovating and pooling resources in the European defence industry. The European Defence Action Plan adopted by the Commission today delivers on that vision.

The Commissionwill strengthen the conditions for an open and competitive defence market in Europe to help companies operate across borders and help Member States get best value for money in their defence procurement. To do so, the Commission will push ahead with the effective application of the two Directives on defence and security procurement and on EU transfers, facilitate the cross-border participation in defence procurement, support the development of industry standards, and promote the contribution of sectoral policies, such as EU space programmes, to common security and defence priorities.

“I believe that we need to work on a stronger Europe when it comes to security and defence matters. Yes, Europe is chiefly a ‘soft power’. But even the strongest soft powers cannot make do in the long run without at least some integrated defence capacities.”, – continued president Juncker.

Europe can no longer afford to piggy-back on the military might of others or let France alone defend its honour in Mali. (…) “For European defence to be strong, the European defence industry needs to innovate. That is why we will propose before the end of the year a European Defence Fund, to turbo boost research and innovation.” president Juncker announced in his State of the Union speech from 14 September 2016.

Over the last decade EU Member States have decreased defence spending by nearly 12% in real terms, but this has not been compensated by more European cooperation. The lack of cooperation between Member States in the field of defence and security is estimated to cost annually between EUR 25 billion and EUR 100 billion (see Annex).

At the Bratislava Summit in September 2016, the leaders of 27 Member States concluded: “We need the EU not only to guarantee peace and democracy but also the security of our people.” In a challenging geopolitical environment, they agreed on the need to strengthen EU cooperation on external security and defence. Concretely, the December 2016 European Council should “decide on a concrete implementation plan on security and defence and on how to make better use of the options in the Treaties, especially as regards capabilities.”

The European Defence Action Plan is closely linked with and complementary to the Global Strategy’s Implementation Plan on Security and Defence, which sets out a new level of ambition for the Union and identifies actions to fulfil it, as well as with the implementation of the EU-NATO Joint Declarationsigned by the President of the European Council, the President of the Commission and the Secretary-General of NATO. The actions proposed in this European Defence Action Plan will lead to a stronger European Union in defence, which ultimately means a stronger NATO.

The Action Plan is also linked to the April 2016 Joint Framework to counter hybrid threats and foster the resilience of the EU, its Member States and partner countries while increasing cooperation with NATO on countering these threats, which in turn builds on the European Agenda on Security adopted by the Commission in April 2015.


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