On 17 January, EDA staff together with senior representatives from Member States, EU institutions/bodies/agencies, NATO, industry as well as the wider European defence community bid farewell to Chief Executive Jorge Domecq. Mr Domecq will depart from the Agency at the end of this month when his term comes to an end after five years.
Deputy Chief Executive Olli Ruutu thanked Mr Domecq for his relentless, hard work and commitment at the helm of the Agency over the last five years. During this period, especially after the presentation of the EU Global Strategy in 2016, “the EU defence cooperation environment changed fundamentally” with the setting up of unprecedented cooperation tools such as the Coordinated Annual Review of Defence (CARD), the Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO) and the European Defence Fund (EDF). “In this cooperation with our colleagues in Member States and in European institutions, you have put your mark on developing EU defence initiatives for a structure whose purpose is to make Europe more capable (…) Europe’s ability to provide added value to our security, and to tangibly support our defence capabilities, is more important than ever. For putting this commitment and conviction into action, your work must be truly commended”.
Under Mr Domecq’s leadership, the Agency expanded its activities considerably across the areas of capability development, research and critical enablers. Mr Domecq leaves behind him an Agency that is “solid, administratively sound and accountable” and therefore fit for purpose to play its role in the development of a Europe of Defence, Mr Ruutu concluded.
Five defining years for the Agency
Mr Domecq, a senior Spanish diplomat with previous experiences in NATO, OSCE and UN, joined the European Defence Agency on 1 February 2015 for a first mandate of three years which, following a proposal by then Head of the Agency Federica Mogherini, was extended for an additional two years, until 1 February 2020.
With the Global Strategy triggering the launch by Member States of the EU defence initiatives (CARD, PESCO, EDF) and calling on Member States to make “full use” of the Agency’s potential, Mr Domecq led the Agency’s work to provide a fundamental contribution to advancing and implementing defence cooperation in line with a new level of ambition.
Within this context, the Agency’s Long Term Review (LTR) in 2017 led to a significant reinforcement of EDA’s tasks: as the main intergovernmental prioritisation instrument at EU level in support of capability development; as the preferred cooperation forum and management support structure at EU level to engage in technology and capability development activities; and with regard to EU funded defence-related activities and military voice in wider EU polices. The LTR adjustments subsequently allowed EDA to adapt quickly and smoothly to the fast-changing European defence landscape and the new requirements stemming from CARD, PESCO and the EDF.
Mr Domecq also successfully oversaw adaptations in the Agency’s activity portfolio to reflect changing threats (hybrid warfare) and new emerging technologies, such as 3-D printing, cyber and artificial intelligence. Within his mandate, EDA’s cooperation with industry and its relations with EU institutions and agencies, other organisations such as OCCAR, ESA and NATO have considerably developed.
As of 1 February 2020 and until the new Chief Executive takes office, EDA's Deputy Chief Executive, Olli Ruutu, will exercise ad interim the duties of the Chief Executive.