“Increased EU cooperation in the defence industry will strengthen the competitiveness of the EU defence industry on a global scale. It will also strengthen our capability to defend our countries and citizens, improve our strategic autonomy, foster innovation and create jobs in Europe”, said Françoise Grossetête MEP, Chairwoman of the EPP Group Working Group on Economy and Environment, commenting on today’s vote on the European Defence Industrial Development Programme.

"€500 million will be allocated in 2019 and 2020 for the programme which is a completely new programme aimed at cross-EU country development of EU defence capabilities, for instance drones for military use or a European cyber defence mechanism. The amount should increase to one billion Euros per year from 2021 and, in the future, increased pan-EU cooperation in the big weapons systems - aircraft, battle tanks, and navy ships - could and should be foreseen.

“This is a ground-breaking way of thinking in the development of our defence capabilities and it is an important step towards a European Defence Union”, Françoise Grossetête said.

To foster pan-EU development of defence systems, the requirement should be that a minimum of three companies from three EU countries participate.

“We need to have fewer weapons systems in order to maximise our defence collaboration in the field and get the most out of the public money we spend on defence and this is a way to achieve it. The all-European defence technological and industrial base, in particular our SMEs and mid-caps, will benefit from this programme. Excellence and innovation will be the main drivers.”

NOTE TO EDITORS

The EPP Group is the largest political group in the European Parliament with 217 Members from 27 Member States

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