The European Defence Agency works to ensure that the interests of the defence community are conveyed to the European Commission and other EU bodies in order to maximise potential synergies and make the best use of existing instruments. It does so in a number of areas, a few examples of which are listed below.
Single European Sky ATM Research (SESAR)
The aim of the European Commission’s Single European Sky (SES) initiative is to optimise today’s airspace organisation and management through a combination of technological, economic and regulatory efforts. Technical aspects of the legislation are coordinated and run by the Single European Sky ATM Research (SESAR) programme.
Military aircraft fleets form the single biggest ‘airline’ operating in European airspace. Considering the need to coordinate the various activities already conducted by the military in SESAR, and in order to facilitate the establishment of a coordinated position of the defence community in Europe, EDA supports and facilitates the SES/SESAR Military Implementation Forum, a venue where issues of mutual interest are debated between relevant stakeholders.
The EDA supports the Member States in identifying operational and financial consequences as well as opportunities that SESAR may bring to European air forces. The Agency also provides support to the European Commission and activities of the SESAR Joint Undertaking in this context. In addition, it facilitates the interaction between NATO and the SESAR Joint Undertaking to ensure mutual reinforcement at technical level. To fulfill this role, the EDA has established the SESAR Cell, which will support Member States in SESAR deployment and increase coordination among Ministries of Defence.
Preparatory Action for CSDP-related research
The European Defence Agency is supporting the European Commission to define the content, governance and modalities of the Preparatory Action on research related to CSDP. As mandated by the European Council, this Preparatory Action aims to test the relevance and viability of CSDP-related research at EU level and therefore prepares for the inclusion of a thematic programme for CSDP research in the next framework programme (2021-2027).
The EDA’s support role comes from its experience in defining and managing cooperative defence research projects and setting Strategic Research Agendas. The Agency’s capability development process ensures the definition of topics that can be supported by the Preparatory Action. A number of consultation meetings between Commission, the EDA and Member States have taken place in the form of workshops in order to establish different steps of the process of setting up the Preparatory Action.
The Agency also works towards maximising dual-use synergies in R&T and supports the European defence industry in accessing relevant EU funding mechanisms.
The Agency supports Member States on defence related issues regarding the European Regulation on Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH). The Agency’s tasks include building a common understanding of REACH and exchanging best practices. The Agency supports Member States in identifying the general impact of REACH in defence and in assessing measures to mitigate such impact. In parallel, the Agency liaises with and seeks input from industrial stakeholders on REACH issues.
Finally, EDA supports Member States by conveying their common and consolidated views to key REACH stakeholders, notably the Commission and European Chemicals Agency, and by bringing defence specificities to their attention.
Defence and Security Procurement Directive 2009/81/EC
EDA supports Member States in the practices of the Defence and Security Procurement Directive. Related activities, under the title “EDA Toolbox”, aim to offer a comprehensive platform to participating Member States to share information, lessons learned and best practices, to improve knowledge and to develop pragmatic and concrete tools to be used in defence procurement.
In parallel, the Agency follows activities at EU level and under the European Commission’s responsibility related to the implementation and effectiveness of the Directive, acting as an interface to inform Member State of developments and the European Commission on defence specificities.