A long overdue strengthening of European defence capabilities is underway with the establishment of the European Defence Fund.
“The EPP Group has always been a strong supporter of and has pioneered the idea of a dedicated fund for European defence. And it is imperative that we improve European defence cooperation to avoid duplication of projects and develop strong flagship programmes", said Françoise Grossetête MEP, Chairwoman of the EPP Group’s Working Group on Economy and Environment, commenting on today’s approval of the Report on the European Defence Fund.
Too often, defence projects in Europe have been done on an isolated country-by-country basis, leading to, for example, a multitude of weapon systems compared to the United States, for instance.
“We want to encourage pan-European cooperation in defence projects and we want to make sure that eligibility criteria for companies are very strict to improve our strategic autonomy”, said Françoise Grossetête.
The proposed €13 billion European Defence Fund for 2021-2027 will have as a rule that at least three undertakings established in at least three Member States will have to cooperate to receive project funding.
“Competitiveness, innovation and excellence are the keys to selecting the projects”, concluded Grossetête.
Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs) and mid-cap participation are favoured by providing higher financing rates, favouring projects by consortia that include SMEs, and mid-caps.
In addition, a flexibility clause and earmarking of at least 5 per cent of the budget for disruptive technologies was added - technologies that are more risky than normal projects, but could have a huge impact if they are successful.
The EPP Group is the largest political group in the European Parliament with 219 Members from 28 Member States