This week, Chief Executive Jorge Domecq updated the European Parliament’s security and defence subcommittee on the outcome of the recent EDA Ministerial Steering Board, the current security situation, the future of the European Defence Agency (EDA) and the Global Strategy.
Against the background of the atrocious terrorist attacks in Paris, Mr. Domecq emphasised the need to further develop European defence integration, “We need the right capabilities, a sound European armament policy supporting our defence industries, enhanced civil-military synergies and EU-NATO relations to make a quantum leap.”
In his update, Mr. Domecq stressed that the upcoming Global Strategy as well as the European Commission’s European Defence Action Plan were opportunities to address crucial elements for defence cooperation, the development of capabilities as well as strengthening of the European Defence and Industry Technological Base to safeguard Europe’s strategic autonomy.
Mr. Domecq also briefed Members of Parliament on the progress of the four capability programmes (air-to-air refuelling, cyber defence, Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems and governmental satellite communications) as well as on future cooperative programmes recently approved by Ministers of Defence (deployable bio-laboratory, Medevac and anti-tank weapons).
Other initiatives in which the Agency has made progress in recent months include incentives for defence cooperation and mainly the VAT exemption for EDA projects, barter mechanisms, hybrid warfare. The Agency continues to working closely with the European Commission on the Preparatory Action on defence-related research as well as on facilitating access to EU instruments and funds for European companies working on dual-use technologies. Chief Executive Domecq also gave an update on the Agency’s work on wider EU policies and mainly on SES/SESAR, REACH and Energy.
He concluded his intervention by discussing the future role and direction of the Agency. The EDA is at the service of Member States and he insisted that there are five areas where Member States could and should make greater use of the Agency: 1) to use the Capability Development Plan as a real tool for defence planning, 2) systematic use of enablers, 3) the Preparatory Action on CSDP-related research should be the catalyst for greater engagement in cooperative defence R&T, 4) systematic harnessing of civil-military synergies, 5) using the EDA to make better use of available EU funding.