“It is a huge victory for the future security of our citizens and a very important step towards strengthening our defence capabilities in Europe”, said Françoise Grossetête MEP, EPP Group Spokeswoman, after a deal was struck between the Council and the European Parliament on the European Defence Fund (EDF).
It is planned that the European Defence Fund will get a budget of €13 billion in the next long-term EU-budget (MFF) for 2021-2027 to finance collaborative defence research and development projects.
“The EPP Group has pioneered the idea of a dedicated fund for European defence. It is imperative that we improve European defence cooperation to avoid duplication of projects, ensure our strategic autonomy and develop strong industrial flagship programmes. We strongly support the deal”, said Grossetête.
According to figures from the European Commission, lack of cooperation between Member States in the field of security and defence is estimated to cost between €25 billion and €100 billion per year. Moreover, the bulk of defence procurement - around 80 per cent - is done at national level, which implies costly duplication of military capabilities across the Member States.
“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. Cooperation has to be strengthened”, she continued.
"Clear rules for eligibility and intellectual property rights have been decided so that European Union security interests are preserved", she added.
As a rule, at least three undertakings established in at least three Member States will have to cooperate to receive project funding. 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.
The EPP Group is the largest political group in the European Parliament with 217 Members from 28 Member States