The European Defence Agency was established under a Joint Action of the Council of Ministers on 12 July, 2004, "to support the Member States and the Council in their effort to improve European defence capabilities in the field of crisis management and to sustain the European Security and Defence Policy as it stands now and develops in the future”. 

To implement the provisions of the Lisbon Treaty (Art.42 TEU), this Joint Action was first replaced by a  Council Decision on 12 July 2011 which was revised by Council decision (CFSP) 2015/1835 of 12 October 2015 on the statute, seat and operational rules of the EDA.

The European Defence Agency, within the overall mission set out in the before-mentioned Council decision, has three main missions:

  • supporting the development of defence capabilities and military cooperation among the European Union Member States;
  • stimulating defence Research and Technology (R&T) and strengthening the European defence industry;
  • acting as a military interface to EU policies.

EDA acts as a catalyst, promotes collaborations, launches new initiatives and introduces solutions to improve defence capabilities. It is the place where Member States willing to develop capabilities in cooperation do so. It is also a key facilitator in developing the capabilities necessary to underpin the Common Security and Defence Policy of the Union.


Following EDA’s Long Term Review carried out in 2016-2017, Ministers agreed in May 2017 to reinforce the Agency’s mission along the following paths, in accordance with established EDA rules and procedures:

  • EDA as the major intergovernmental prioritisation instrument at EU level in support of capability development, coordinating with the EEAS (incl. EUMS) and EUMC in their respective areas of responsibility.
  • EDA as the preferred cooperation forum and management support structure at EU level for participating Member States to engage in technology and capability development activities.
  • EDA as facilitator towards the European Commission and EU Agencies, and as the interface upon Member States’ request, exploiting wider EU policies to the benefit of Defence and acting as a central operator with regard to EU funded defence-related activities.

EDA’s Long Term Review conclusions and recommendations are available here.


Participating Member States

  • Belgium
  • Bulgaria
  • Czech
  • Germany
  • Estonia
  • Ireland
  • Greece
  • Spain
  • France
  • Croatia
  • Italy
  • Cyprus
  • Latvia
  • Lithuania
  • Luxembourg
  • Hungary
  • Malta
  • Netherlands
  • Austria
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Romania
  • Slovenia
  • Slovakia
  • Finland
  • Sweden