Today, Claude-France Arnould, Chief Executive of the European Defence Agency (EDA) and the Greek Minister for National Defence, Dimitris Avramopoulos, opened the EDA Research & Technology (R&T) Conference 2013 in Athens, Greece. Under the motto “Critical Defence Technologies – Exploring Innovation Together” the 2-day conference aims to collect advice from decision makers and experts across the European Union on more efficient and effective R&T for Security and Defence. Conference topics, presented by high level speakers and panellists from various domains, include strategic access and security of supply in defence-critical technologies, coordination with other EU institutions such as the European Commission on “dual-use” elements, improved joint exploitation of R&T investments and the “EURIDEA” competition on innovative proposals of R&T cooperation among EDA´s participating Member States.
In her opening address Ms Arnould highlighted the importance of R&T and EDA´s responsibility within the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP), especially in the light of the upcoming EU summit in December. EDA flagship programmes such as Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS) or Cyber Defence provide a clear indication of what can be achieved by improved synergies. Ms Arnould pointed out that this relies not only on shared technologies, but also on coordination among stakeholders, for example the improved use of EU funding instruments such as European Structural Funds (ESF) to boost innovation and contribute to industrial growth and creating jobs.