A three-day European Armaments Cooperation Course started today at the European Defence Agency (EDA) in Brussels.
More than 40 participants from sixteen EDA Member States and Serbia, as well as the European Commission, the European Parliament, the EU Military Staff (EUMS) and the Organisation for Joint Armament Cooperation (OCCAR), started a three-day European Armaments Cooperation Course. This course, the third of its kind, is organised jointly by EDA and the European Security and Defence College (ESDC). It is divided into two parts: the Awareness Level, now ongoing in Brussels, and the Expert Level, which will take place from 24 to 28 November in Prague, Czech Republic.
The course is intended primarily for practitioners working in national and international armament cooperation who need to gain knowledge and experience in European acquisition and project management. It aims to provide them with a better understanding of frameworks, stakeholders, tools, and processes of European armaments cooperation, as well as its many benefits and challenges.
Learning from each other
As the EDA Deputy Chief Executive, Rini Goos, said today: “We, in Europe, need to be clear on how we work together, learning from each other and tackling co-operation from a European perspective. This is essential and in the long-term I would like to see a common understanding and approach emerge, supported where required through training and education courses like this one. This is where I see the EDA adding the most value and impact; improving the delivery of future European military capabilities to make the Common Security and Defence Policy more credible in line with the 2013 European Council conclusions.”
EDA's work in this domain started in 2006 when the Agency commissioned a study on cooperative lessons learned. Best practice and education were shortlisted among key enablers for cooperative programmes. The topic received widespread support from Member States and in 2007 the EDA Steering Board, in National Armaments Directors configuration, directed the Agency to focus in particular on education in European armaments acquisitions.
Education and training platform
In 2009, the Czech Republic’s EU Presidency supported the creation of a new European armaments cooperation course; providing an EU-wide education and/or training platform where a common understanding of a European approach to armaments cooperation can be promoted and nurtured. EDA Member States welcomed the initiative and later that year the EDA Steering Board, in National Armaments Directors configuration, approved the top-level European Armaments Co-operation (EAC) Framework, under which the current course has been established.
In 2013, thanks to the initiative of Austria and other like-minded countries, including the Czech Republic, Germany, Sweden, and the United Kingdom, the course took its current form. It followed the success of the pilot European Armaments Cooperation Course organised in Brussels and Stadtschlaining in 2012.
A real and urgent need
Giampaolo Lillo, EDA Cooperation Planning and Support Director, said: “The technical, legal and administrative complexities of cooperation programmes – and the lack of expertise on how to tackle them – appear to be part of the reason why the potential of European armament cooperation remains largely untapped. This is why I think this course aims at the right target, responding to a real and urgent need. Apart from the obvious interest to practitioners, it is also very useful for anybody involved in the legislative process at EU level.”
EDA, in its effort to offer Member States the most effective and tailored support to enhance their interoperability, upon its restructuring created in the Cooperation Planning and Support Directorate a dedicated Education, Training and Exercises Unit to address education and training activities in an harmonised way. This course is one of its outcomes.