S&Ds back the first step to build a European Defence Fund

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Today the industry committee in the European Parliament backed the final compromise reached with the EU Council on the European Defence Industry Development Programme (EDIDP). It is a watershed pilot programme designed to lay the foundation for the future European Defence Fund and it will run from 2019 to 2020.
 
The aim of the programme is to safeguard investments of up to 500 million euros to foster cooperation between strategic partners in the defence industry and to strengthen next-generation defence projects. By enabling the drafting of common technical specifications, facilitating feasibility studies, as well as accelerating the prototyping, testing, and certification of new and updated defence products the EDIDP will strengthen Europe’s strategic autonomy.
 
S&D shadow rapporteur, Miroslav Poche MEP, said:
 
“We are making history. European citizens are attuned to the steady degradation of the global equilibrium and to the rapidly mounting challenge of insecurity. They know that recent changes on the international stage mean the EU must learn to rely on its own capabilities for self-preservation and have been clamouring for decisive and responsible answers.
 
“The S&D Group has pushed for a balanced and a true European programme. While the European Commission suggested a minimum involvement of two member states per qualifying project, our group raised the bar to three, thereby turning our backs on the failed bilateral model and demanding fair, genuinely European collaboration in exchange for European funds.
 
“It is no secret that defence companies are reluctant to cooperate and are ill-acquainted with one another. The S&D Group has achieved a significant victory on behalf of SMEs by ensuring that further incentives have been set aside for consortia involving them actively and meaningfully. Here too, considerable emphasis has been put on cross-border partnerships, in order to foster new cooperation schemes across the European Union.
 
Ioan Mircea Pașcu MEP, who is the S&D coordinator for Security and Defence as well as the author of the opinion by the Foreign Affairs committee, said:
 
“The EDIDP marks an important moment for our Union, being part of the crucial decision to invest common EU funds in capability development. By supporting European defence firms - especially SMEs and mid-caps - in the development phase of military capabilities and technologies, EDIDP is designed to bridge the gap between research and procurement of military capabilities.
 
“In synergy with other initiatives such as Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO), EDIDP will make cooperation the norm in European security and defence by assisting and supporting Member States in spending wisely together, reducing duplication and making greater use of existing resources.
 
“Equally, it will help achieve the Union’s strategic autonomy by consolidating the European defence industry and increasing its competitiveness. While EDIDP is a two-year pilot project, it has already become the spark for the more ambitious European Defence Fund recently proposed by the European Commission.”