Since then we have seen a plethora of activities and actions aiming at strengthening the defence capabilities of the EU Member States. PESCO, for which the third wave of projects has just been endorsed, the CDP and CARD, EDIDP and, hopefully soon, the EDF are the core building blocks of a complex process the likes of which we have never seen before within the EU context. The manner in which these different but complementary elements connect with each other and create the desired synergies will be crucial to the success of the overall policy. There will be trial and error, for sure. This is part of any newly emerging policy. Adaptations and course corrections will be necessary. However, failure is not an option! Too much is at stake. If the EU and its Member States want to remain relevant in international security and defence matters, if we want to shape our destiny instead of being shaped by others, we must maintain technological sovereignty as the foundation of a vivid technological and defence industrial base which ultimately is the key for strategic autonomy.
Therefore, Parliament and in particular SEDE, will very closely follow and scrutinise the implementation of the agreed measures in the coming years. For that, we will cooperate with the other relevant committees in Parliament and with all EU actors concerned. This will be one of our main priorities for the new legislative term. We will encourage progress as much as we can, but we will also clearly point at all those actions, which fail to deliver the envisaged results. We will use, in a constructive manner, all instruments at our disposal, political, procedural and budgetary to ensure that taxpayers’ money is spent the way it should.
However, we cannot simply limit ourselves to be content with the implementation of the agreed measures, as important as
this is. We need to systematically develop the EU’s security and defence policy further so that we come closer to the goal of establishing a European Defence Union. In this perspective the EDF will be only the first, though important step, towards a fully-fledged EU security and defence policy.
Progress in the EU security and defence policy should be pragmatic and incremental. That is what many interlocutors keep telling the European Parliament. It has worked very well during the last three years or so. So, let us continue and not rock the boat. Really? Parliament has taken a quite different view during the previous legislature. It has demanded, on several occasions, to create a European defence Whitebook.
Developing defence capabilities without having a strategic understanding of
what these capabilities are good for, what they will be used for, what our priorities are, is risky, even dangerous. This is where we stand today. Just take a look at the latest report of the European Court of Auditors.
In the EU we cannot escape a serious reflection about our future security and defence strategy. If we fail to put our EU defence efforts into the perspective of a strategy worthy of its name we will ultimately fail to deliver the results we need and which citizens are looking for. Therefore, strategy will be a key priority of my work as chair of SEDE.
Everybody – EDA, the new Commission with its DG Defence Industry and Space and the other relevant EU actors – needs to think strategically. There is no time to lose.