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EDA welcomes Commission Communication on EU Defence Industry and Market

The European Defence Agency welcomes the efforts of the European Commission to further support the development of a true European Defence Equipment Market (EDEM). The Defence Package published today is complementary to the Agency’s own agenda for creating a more effective EDEM and a stronger European Defence Technological and Industrial Base (EDTIB).

The EDA is pleased that the Commission is taking into account the specific features of defence and security, since this cannot be treated as a fully commercial market.

“Everyone is aware that sensitive issues of national sovereignty are involved in defence procurement and that has driven much of our work in this area,” said EDA Chief Executive Alexander Weis. “The European market for tanks does not operate in the same way as the market for washing machines.”

With regard to procurement, the Commission’s initiative is complementary to the EDA Code of Conduct on Defence Procurement launched in July 2006, which covers contracts placed outside EU internal market directives on the basis of Article 296 of the EC Treaty. This area accounts in practice for the bulk of core European defence procurement.

The Agency believes that competition is one key tool in a larger set that includes other important initiatives such as agreements on Security of Supply and Security of Information, issues on which the EDA is currently working. Competition is not a cure-all and cooperation is in some instances more appropriate to shape the EDTIB of the future.