The European Commission has started consulting on its new European Defence Industrial Strategy (EDIS), announced by President Ursula von der Leyen in her 2023 State of the Union.
The commission says it is time for the EU to move from emergency response to the building of the EU’s long-term ability to enhance its defence readiness with EDIS. This is a key driver for developing and commercialising a wide range of technology, from AI and sensors to safety critical software and systems.
The strategy will build on the Defence Investment Gap Analysis, the experience of the European Defence Fund and other EU defence projects, as well as the recent initiatives to enhance joint procurement between Member States and to ramp up industrial capacity.
EDIS will be underpinned by a the European defence technological and industrial base, establishing a strategic framework for the coming years. This will not only allow Member States to restock and acquire new defence equipment but also strengthen the European Union as a security and defence technology provider in the long-term.
The EDIS consultation includes the Member States, the European Parliament, defence industry, finance and all other relevant stakeholders. A comprehensive engagement process will run for the next three months. This will include written submissions and consultative workshops to present EDIS in early 2024.
Key issues will be coordination of demand, stronger supply chains, more innovation and support for more competitiveness.
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“Increasing Europe’s defence readiness and the availability of military equipment has become vital to guarantee our collective security. We need to continue supporting the European defence industry to adapt to the new security realities and produce more – and faster. Today we launch a formal consultation with Member States, the European Parliament and Industry on a European Defence Industry Strategy to achieve this objective,” said Thierry Breton, Commissioner for Internal Market.
With a budget of €7.2bn until 2027, the European Defence Fund is the EU’s key instrument for defence R&D cooperation in Europe and will help reduce the fragmentation of investments in defence capabilities. It will also enhance industrial competitiveness and promote interoperability throughout Europe. The Commission has proposed to enhance its funding by €1.5 billion as part of the mid-term review and the STEP programme.
“More than ever, we need a strong and resilient European defence industry in these difficult times. This is crucial to equip EU Member States’ armed forces with the full range of capabilities they require, to continue delivering military support to Ukraine as it fights Russia’s aggression and to make the European Union a more credible and reliable security provider,” said High Representative/Vice-President Josep Borrell alongside the EDIS consultation.
“The current geo-political and security situation shows that Europe requires a modern defence technological and industrial base. This means we need to boost our capability to defend ourselves and our values, and to support Ukraine for as long as it takes. The need to move from emergency response to long-term ability has become clear. We can only do this together: Strengthen supply chains and innovation so that we have a permanent readiness. That is why it is so important to prepare our strategy in close consultation with Member States, the European Parliament, and all stakeholders concerned,” said Věra Jourová, Vice-President for Values and Transparency.