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Second Meeting of European Defence Agency’s Steering Board

1. The Steering Board of the newly-established European Defence Agency held its second meeting in Brussels on 22 November 2004.

2. Javier SOLANA who, as Head of the Agency, chairs the Steering Board, commented: "This was a highly productive meeting. We:

  • noted with approval that the Agency remains on track to achieve "functioning" status by the end of the year;
  • agreed the Agency's first annual budget - some € 20 million - which will allow the Agency to grow to 77 personnel in the first half of next year;
  • agreed the Agency's first annual work programme.

This work programme constitutes an ambitious programme that should maintain the momentum of the EDA initiative, and reflects the Steering Board's determination that the Agency should make a real difference."

3. The agreed work programme is annexed. In agreeing it, the Steering Board identified in particular four "flagship" endeavours for the Agency's four main directorates in the year ahead, as follows:

  • Capabilities Directorate. Command, control and communications (C3): precise direction of the work to be defined by joint study between the EDA Capabilities Directorate and the EU Military Staff - but focussed in particular on adequacy of communications for command and control, and interoperability.
  • R & T Directorate. Preparing and launching, as an "ad hoc" or opt-in project, technology demonstration for long-endurance Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs).
  • Armaments Directorate. Investigation of the armoured fighting vehicle sector, aiming at convergence of requirements, programmes, and (potentially) industries.
  • Industry/Market Directorate. European Defence Equipment Market: exploring both the options that the Commission - with their Green Paper on Defence procurement - have put forward, and possible initiatives that the Agency might take.

4. In connection with this last point, the Steering Board took the opportunity to initiate immediate work on defence market issues, as set out in the Conclusions attached to this release.

5. Finally, as the Agency Establishment Team approaches the end of its mandate, the Steering Board repeated its thanks to all involved for a job well done.

Steering Board Conclusions on the Commission Green Paper on defence procurement

The Steering Board:

  • Welcomed the important and timely initiative of the European Commission on issuing a Green Paper on defence procurement;
  • Recognised the benefits of harmonising defence procurement procedures amongst the EU Member States with a view to reducing the fragmentation of European markets and thus encouraging the creation of an internationally competitive European Defence Equipment Market (EDEM), including a strong Defence Technological and Industrial Base. The Steering Board expressed its full support for these goals, and reaffirmed the role of the Agency in contributing to their achievement as specified in the Joint Action establishing the EDA;
  • Directed the Agency to work in partnership with the Commission on these issues, exploring both the ideas the Commission have put forward, and possible initiatives that the Agency might take directed to the shared goals;
  • Invited the Agency to report back to the Steering Board - in National Armaments Directors formation in early 2005, with proposals for a Steering Board position as an initial input to the Commission's consultation process and for pursuing the Agency's own work on the EDEM agenda;
  • Expressed its wish that the Commission work closely with the Agency and take into account the Steering Board's position on the EDEM agenda when developing its conclusions.