A broad majority of the European Parliament today called for more joint defence research and procurement projects at EU level instead of purely national programmes. MEPs adopted a Report by the EPP Group Coordinator for security and defence issues, Michael Gahler MEP. "In times of severe budget constraints, EU Member States should work more closely together. We need to reduce costs in the defence sector through synergies rather than hold on to purely national projects", Gahler said.
Many EU countries already cooperate on large armaments projects. "But we need to move away from co-operation on individual projects, towards a comprehensive structured co-operation. This is the only way to maintain Europe's technological lead and to reduce costs. We also need to retain an industrial base of our own in order to be able to autonomously conduct the agreed CSDP missions", Gahler said.
The European Parliament is calling for a stronger coordination function of the European Defence Agency (EDA) in order to increase the efficient use of the limited resources in the field of planning and procurement of defence equipment. The overall goal is to improve the interoperability. In addition, the EP considers it necessary to develop common industrial standards and certification procedures: "The times of purely national research and employment projects are over. The European Defence Agency offers the possibility to spend less and achieve more. Member States must move away from national prestige projects and collaborate through the EDA", Gahler continued.
"I welcome the adoption of the Report on the European Defence Technological and Industrial Base which sends a strong message to the European Council before the December meeting devoted to this theme. The European Parliament is clearly expressing the importance of supporting our industries and our Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs) in the area of European defence in order to ensure us, through their expertise, true technological independence. We also point out the importance of research and innovation in the field", Jean-Pierre Audy MEP concluded.
Note to editors
The EPP Group is by far the largest political group in the European Parliament with 275 Members from 27 Member States.