The European Union (EU) has agreed to allocate €500m in 2019 and 2020 to the European Defence Industrial Development Programme (EDIDP) to enhance cooperation in the defence industry.
The EDIDP is a new programme that has been designed to focus on cross-EU country development of EU defence capabilities, such as drones for military use or a European cyber defence mechanism.
European People’s Party Group spokesperson and rapporteur Françoise Grossetête said: “We have taken a first and very important step to increase cooperation in the defence industry and strengthen the competitiveness of the EU defence industry by agreeing with the Council to allocate €500m in 2019 and 2020 to the EDIDP.”
The current €500m investment is expected to increase to €1bn every year from 2021.
Pan-European cooperation in the development of weapons systems, such as aircraft, battle tanks and navy vessels, is also expected to increase in the future.
To support and bolster the pan-EU development of defence systems, at least three companies from three different EU nations are required to participate in the programme.
Grossetête added: “The all-European defence technological and industrial base, in particular our small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and mid-caps, will benefit from this programme in order to strengthen our strategic autonomy. Excellence and innovation will be the main drivers.”
On 7 June last year, the European Commission published the proposal for a regulation on the EDIDP, as part of the implementation of the European Defence Action Plan (EDAP).
The EDAP involved the establishment of a European Defence Fund that will be used to support collaborative research in the development of latest defence technologies and defence products jointly agreed by the EU member states.