European Defence Fund finds political agreement

15 December 2020

The European Commission approved the new European Defence Fund, with a total budget of €7.95MM for R&D projects in the Defence domain.

Yesterday, the European Parliament and Member States of the European Union (EU) reached an official agreement to approve the new European Defence Fund (EDF), which totals around 7.95 billion euros.

About one third of the budget will finance competitive and collaborative Research projects, in particular through grants. The rest will serve to complement Member States’ investment by co-financing the costs for defence capabilities development following the Research stage.

This Fund was proposed by the European Commission (EC) in June 2018 and has been in negotiations, pending approval, since then. This is the first ever multiannual financial programme to support defence research and development in the EU.

In the official announcement from the EC, Thierry Breton, Commissioner for Internal Market, states the following:

“This is a major breakthrough as for the first time, the EU will have a dedicated programme to support defence industrial cooperation. A more integrated, innovative and competitive European defence technological and industrial base is essential for a stronger, more resilient and strategically autonomous Europe. Through defence cooperation and joint investment in R&D, the European Defence Fund will deliver state-of-the-art and interoperable defence technologies and equipment in line with Member States capability needs.”

The EDF will make a fundamental contribution to the development of this sector on the European continent, having as main objectives:

  • promote defence cooperation among companies, research actors and between the Member States to foster innovation and develop state-of-the-art defence technology;
  • stimulate the participation of SMEs in cross border defence projects, contributing to the opening of European defence supply chains;
  • foster breakthrough innovation solutions through a dedicated budget for disruptive technologies in defence;
  • place the EU among the top 3 defence research and technology investors in Europe;
  • make Europe more autonomous and sovereign in the field of defence, being able to protect and defend its citizens more efficiently.

Following yesterday’s agreement, a vote will take place in the European Parliament and the Council to formally endorse the text. Since the partial agreement in 2019, the Commission has been preparing in order to start ensure its applicability as of in January 2021.

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