The European Commission has adopted plans to co-finance €500 million in joint defence industrial projects and €25 million in joint defence research between 2019 and 2020.
The funding, to be allocated under the European Defence Industrial Development Programme (EDIDP), is a precursor to the full implementation of the European Defence Fund, set for 2021. The associated 2019 Work Programme has pledged €25 million for research into Electromagnetic Spectrum Dominance and Future Disruptive Defence Technologies, both of which have been identified as areas in need of further development to maintain the EU’s “technological lead” worldwide.
Vice-President Jyrki Katainen, responsible for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness, said: “Cooperation in defence is the only way to protect and defend Europeans in an increasingly instable world. We are doing our part. Joint projects are materialising. European Defence is happening. On the basis of this successful experience we will scale up funding to have a fully-fledged European Defence Fund in place in 2021.”
Over the next week the Commission will put out calls for research proposals under the Preparatory Action on Defence Research; distribution of research funding will fall into the following fields:
- Military mobility, protection and operations;
- Situational awareness and defence in the cyber and space sectors;
- Maritime surveillance;
- Upgrades to existing systems including precision strike capabilities, air and ground combat capabilities and naval systems;
- Defence innovation and development of artificial intelligence, virtual reality and online technologies, particularly with reference to supporting small and medium enterprises (SMEs); and
- Development of the Eurodrone, a proprietary European drone technology; and ESSOR, a secure military communications programme.
Commissioner Elżbieta Bieńkowska, responsible for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs, said: “To ensure Europe can protect its citizens, we need cutting-edge defence technology and equipment in areas like artificial intelligence, drone technology, satellite communication and intelligence systems. With the EU investments we are launching today, we are going from ideas to concrete projects, we are strengthening the competitiveness of our defence industries.”