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National Armament Directors meet at EDA

EDA’s Steering Board in National Armament Directors’ (NAD) composition met on 16 March under the new chairmanship of Vice Admiral Arie Jan de Waard, Director of the Dutch Defence Materiel Organisation. The meeting allowed National Armament Directors to discuss European defence cooperation in light of the changed security environment. They also exchanged views on the Agency’s support roles in the European Defence Fund (EDF), innovation in EU Defence, EU-NATO cooperation, as well as on environmental, social and governance (ESG) standards in defence.

Vice Admiral Arie Jan de Waard, Director of the Dutch Defence Materiel Organisation, opened the first physical EDA Steering Board of National Armaments Directors since the COVID-19 pandemic, “We come together in a time when the European security environment has drastically changed. New and vital requests in the area of defence procurement will need to be addressed quickly. It is important that we use the tools we have at our hands to improve our defence capabilities in cooperation whenever possible.”

EDA Chief Executive Jiří Šedivý emphasised in his update in relation to the war in Ukraine, “EDA’s role is to support Member States. In this time of crisis, I want to reiterate that the Agency is at the service of Member States, and we will support you wherever we can in the short-, mid-, and long-term.”

After a presentation by Chief Executive Jiří Šedivý on the progress made on a wide range of EDA projects, programmes and activities, National Armaments Directors discussed the different ways and means the Agency supports the European Defence Fund, also to explore additional options for optimising this support. To that end, a specific Task Force has been established within EDA to coordinate the Agency’s contribution to the various phases (upstream, implementation and downstream) of the EDF. It was stressed that a continued close cooperation between Member States, DG DEFIS and EDA remains crucial to fully exploit the potential of the EDF for the benefit of a more coherent European capability landscape and a more competitive defence industry.

EDA’s enhanced role in defence innovation was also discussed by NADs, including the Hub for European Defence Innovation (HEDI) within the Agency. The topic will also be on the agenda on the upcoming Steering Board meeting in capability directors’ formation. EU-NATO cooperation was also discussed, in the presence of NATO Assistant Secretary General for Defence Investment, Camille Grand. Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) issues were also on the agenda of NADs based on an EDA paper, including an action plan, for addressing the impact on European defence of ESG standards and taxonomy issues discussed in the context of the European Commission. Finally, new defence cooperative opportunities were addressed and discussed by NADs, including in the important area of common procurement.