EDA Chief Executive Director Jorge Domecq travelled to Bulgaria today to exchange views with Bulgarian Minister of Defence Nikolay Nenchev on preparations of the European Council on defence in June 2015 and Bulgaria’s involvement in EDA projects. Mr. Domecq also met with Minister of Economy Bojidar Loukarsky for discussions on access to EU funding instruments for dual-use research and technology development, as well as the support of SMEs with economic activities in the interest of security and defence.
The Bulgarian Minister of Defence stated that “Bulgaria values greatly the significant role of the EDA for the development of EU Member States’ defence capabilities, the latter’s importance for EU’s role as a provider of security and stability. We encourage the proactive approach of the Agency in its successful cooperation with the European Commission in pursuit of better opportunities to stimulate Member States’ capabilities development and the strengthening of the European defence industry. We highly appreciate the will of the EDA to facilitate Member States’ access to European Structural and Investment Funds in support of their defence and security-related research activities and dual-use capabilities development. We expect the Agency’s advice and support at all stages in the realisation of Member States’ capability goals for a stronger and more secure Europe.”
A strong and competitive defence industry
“Europe needs a strong and competitive defence industry. Not only for security and economic reasons but also to keep our strategic autonomy. One way to support the industry is by consolidating military requirements, by pooling the demand side. Strategic autonomy is also important to keep prime contractors in the European Union in the long run, as one of their main functions is to supply the armed forces. But the European Defence Agency also advises small and medium sized enterprises how to gain better access to the markets in Europe, i.e. through EU funding and market information. Hence, Bulgaria’s defence sector, taking into account the specifities of its defence industry as is the case for several Central Eastern European countries, could gain access to other supply chains in Europe”, said Jorge Domecq during the visit in Sofia.
During the visit, Mr. Domecq also had the opportunity to meet with the Minister of Economy, the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Councillor to the Prime Minister on defence matters, as well as other senior officials within the Ministry of Defence, the Ministry of Finance and the Council of Ministers. Mr. Domecq exchanged views with representatives of the R&T community.
The visit in Sofia is part of a series of visits by Mr. Domecq to all EDA Member States following his appointment as EDA Chief Executive and ahead of the Ministerial Steering Board on 18 May 2015. So far, Mr. Domecq visited Spain, Lithuania, Latvia, the United Kingdom, Belgium, Germany, Portugal, the Netherlands, Ireland, France, Romania and Bulgaria.