Meeting today at EDA’s ministerial Steering Board, Defence Minister discussed the “Scoping EU defence investment gaps” analysis the Agency has produced and transmitted to the European Commission as its contribution to the tasking given by the Heads of State or Government at their informal meeting in Versailles on 10/11 March.
At that meeting, EU leaders had “invited the Commission, in coordination with the European Defence Agency, to put forward an analysis of the defence investment gaps by mid-May and to propose any further initiative necessary to strengthen the European defence industrial and technological base”.
EDA’s analysis is notably built on the Invest chapter of the Strategic Compass, the Capability Development Plan (CDP) and the detailed findings of the first Coordinated Annual Review on Defence (CARD) presented in November 2020.
The findings of the analysis, which will feed and be integrated into the European Commission’s document/proposals to the European Council, cover three partially overlapping time horizons:
- an immediate step should be to work on combat readiness of forces and capabilities;
- starting in 2022-23 with an impact within the next five years, the focus should be placed on augmenting the mass and volume of existing capabilities;
- in the mid-to-long term (10 years and beyond) the focus should be put on a structural reinforcement and modernisation of capabilities.
Hub for EU Defence Innovation established
The Steering Board also approved the establishment of a Hub for EU Defence Innovation (HEDI) within EDA. HEDI will strengthen the Agency’s existing innovation activities but also initiate new ones, in close cooperation with Member States and other EU stakeholders to ensure synergies and complementarity, as well as coherence with NATO innovation initiatives. More information here.
The Netherlands to lead focus area ‘Enhanced Military Mobility’
At the Steering Board, the Dutch Minister also announced that the Netherlands will take up the role of facilitator for developing the so-called ‘focus area’ on Enhanced Military Mobility. In the first CARD report presented by EDA in November 2020, Member States are recommended to concentrate their cooperation efforts on six specific focus areas: Main Battle Tanks (MBT); Soldier Systems; Patrol Class Surface Ships; Counter Unmanned Aerial Systems (Counter-UAS); Defence applications in Space; Military Mobility. As facilitator, the Netherlands intents to connect the dots on a number of topics that are part of military mobility, with a specific focus on capability development.