Today, the Commission, in close cooperation with the High Representative, is launching a comprehensive stakeholder engagement process to inform the new European Defence Industrial Strategy (EDIS), announced by President von der Leyen in her 2023 State of the Union.
The response of the EU and its Member States to the immediate challenge of the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine has been rapid and decisive. It is now time for the EU to move from emergency response to the building of the EU’s long-term ability to enhance its defence readiness.
The strategy will build on the Defence Investment Gap Analysis, the experience of the European Defence Fund and other EU defence instruments, as well as the recent initiatives to enhance joint procurement between Member States and to ramp up industrial capacity to support Ukraine. EDIS will give further impulse to developing Member States’ defence capabilities, underpinned by a modern and resilient European defence technological and industrial base, establishing a strategic framework for the coming years. This will not only allow Member States to restock and acquire new defence equipment but also strengthen the European Union as a security and defence actor in the long-term, in line with the ambition set out in the Strategic Compass.
It is therefore essential that EDIS is prepared in close consultation with the Member States, the European Parliament, defence industry, financial actors and with all other relevant stakeholders.
A comprehensive engagement process will run for the next three months. This will include written submissions and consultative workshops with stakeholders.
During the process, the Commission, together with the European External Action Service in coordination with the European Defence Agency, will propose to examine issues such as how to coordinate demand, strengthen supply chains, boost innovation, support the competitiveness of the sector and how to better account for defence objectives in EU policies.
On the basis of this comprehensive consultation, the aim is to present EDIS in early 2024. This should also be an opportunity to take stock of the first results achieved though the Act in Support of Ammunition Production (ASAP) and the European Defence Industrial Reinforcement through Procurement Act (EDIRPA), which run until mid-2025. We aim, in this framework, to consolidate the actions for the continuity of the European defence industrial base reinforcement after 2025.
The Commission’s actions to support the competitiveness of the European Defence Industrial and Technological Base (‘EDTIB’) have gradually taken shape over the past few years. With a budget of €7,2 billion for the period 2021-2027, the European Defence Fund is the EU’s key instrument to support defence R&D cooperation in Europe and will help reduce the fragmentation of investments in European defence capability development. It will also enhance industrial competitiveness and promote interoperability throughout Europe. The Commission has proposed to enhance its funding by €1,5 billion as part of the mid-term review of the Multiannual Financial Framework.
Faced with the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine, the Commission and the High Representative, building on the Defence Investment Gap Analysis, have also reacted with new initiatives and industrial policy instruments to ensure that the EDTIB adapts to the new strategic context and is able to deliver what Member States and Ukraine need the most.
- Adopted on 26 October 2023, the European Defence Industry Reinforcement through common Procurement Regulation (EDIRPA), is a €300 Million industrial policy instrument aiming at reinforcing defence industrial capabilities by supporting Member States’ cooperation on common procurement of the most urgent and critical defence products.
- The situation in Ukraine has increased the specific need for ammunition and missiles. These pressing needs have been recognised by the Council, which agreed on 20 March 2023 on a three-track ammunition initiative. According to Track 1 of this plan, Member States have been encouraged to immediately transfer ammunition from their stocks to Ukraine. Under track 2, Member States are in parallel procuring jointly ammunition from the European defence industry, through the European Defence Agency or lead-nation projects. Both Track 1 and Track 2 are financed through the European Peace Facility (EPF). To ensure that Member States will be able to get what they need to replenish their stocks and continue to support Ukraine, the European Union’s industry needs to produce more and faster, through Track 3, which is accelerated by the regulation on supporting ammunition production (ASAP). This €500 million programme was adopted in record time, on 20 July 2023, to swiftly support the ‘supply’ side of the market directly, with a focus on increasing the production of ammunition and missiles.
As announced in the context of the President’s State of the European Union 2023, it is now time to engage in a strategic reflection to return to a more structural, long-term approach.
Source : EC. Europe