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#EuropeanDefenceFund - €205 million to boost the EU's strategic autonomy and industrial competitiveness

EU Reporter Correspondent

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The Commission has announced 16 pan-European defence industrial projects and three disruptive technology projects that will benefit from €205 million financing through the two precursor programmes of a fully-fledged European Defence Fund: the Preparatory Action on Defence Research (PADR) and the European Defence Industrial Development Programme (EDIDP).

Europe Fit for the Digital Age Executive Vice-President Margrethe Vestager said: “The European Defence Fund will enable spending better by spending together, thereby reducing fragmentation and inefficiencies. The successful results of its precursor programmes, announced today, show the great potential that exists in cooperation between defence industries large and small, and from across the EU.”

Internal Market Commissioner Thierry Breton said: “These promising projects demonstrate the EU's ability to promote and support cooperation between European defence industries and Member States. By developing high-end technologies and defence capabilities, we are strengthening the EU's resilience and strategic autonomy. All participants in the defence value chain, regardless of their size and their origin within the EU, can benefit. The European Defence Fund, with the right level of financing, will enable to significantly scale up these first successes.”

The results announced are a very positive outcome and confirm the fit for purpose model of the European Defence Fund. The main elements to note are:

  • A highly attractive programme: in total, 441 entities applied to EDIDP calls, contributing to 40 proposals. 223 entities from 16 proposals will be supported by EDIDP;
  • Wide geographical coverage: the EDIDP projects cover participants from 24 Member States;
  • Large SMEs participation: SMEs represent 37% of the total number of entities receiving funding (83 SMEs) from EDIDP, confirming the importance of specific SMEs calls and dedicated SMEs bonuses;
  • Positive effect on co-operation: the EDIDP selected proposals entail on average 14 entities from seven Member States;
  • Full coherence with other EU defence initiatives, notably the Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO):nine proposals financed under EDIDP are PESCO projects;
  • Contribution to the EU's strategic autonomy: the EDIDP proposals are consistent with the key capability priorities agreed by Member States at European level through the Capability Development Plan;
  • Open to third country-controlled subsidiaries: the EDIDP results demonstrate the possibility to involve EU-based subsidiaries controlled by third countries or third country entities provided they fulfil appropriate security-based guarantees approved by Member States. This is namely the case with four participants controlled by entities from Canada, Japan and the United States;
  • Support to disruptive technologies: the PADR for the first time is supporting three projects dedicated to disruptive technologies through dedicated calls, designed to prepare the future EDF, which allocates up to 8% of its budget to disruptive actions. These are important to make sure Europe remains at the forefront of technological development.

The projects announced will support the development of European defence capabilities such as drones and related technologies (low-observable and tactical drones, detect and avoid system for military drones, edge computing platforms for drones), space technologies (Galileo military-grade encrypted receivers, military grade optical payload for small satellites, big data system for satellite surveillance), unmanned ground vehicles, high precision missile systems (BLOS – anti-tank missiles), future naval platforms, airborne electronic attack capability, tactical and highly secured networks, cyber situational awareness platforms, or next generation of active stealth technologies.

These projects come on top of the 15 others research projects already financed since 2017 through the PADR and the upcoming direct support to two large-scale projects (MALE drone and ESSOR).

Background

The European Defence Industrial Development Programme (EDIDP), worth €500 million for 2019-2020, and the Preparatory Action on Defence Research (PADR), which has a budget of €90m for 2017-2019, are pilot programmes of the upcoming European Defence Fund, which will foster an innovative and competitive defence industrial base and contribute to the EU's strategic autonomy.The PADR covers the research phase of defence products, including disruptive technologies, while EDIDP supports collaborative projects related to development, from design up to prototypes.

With a total budget of more than €160m, another 12 calls for proposals under the EDIDP reflecting critical capability needs were published in April 2020. Proposals for this 2020 edition have to be submitted by the 1st of December 2020. More information on the 2020 EDIDP calls is available on the Funding & Tender Portal.

Launched in 2017 for three years, PADR will allocate funding to a total of 18 collaborative research projects. The overall response rate to the PADR calls was high and showed a large interest of industry, smaller companies and the European research community to get involved in European collaborative research projects. SMEs participation in the PADR calls was significant, representing 22% of the proposals. Around 900 entities established in 27 member states applied for PADR funding over the period 2017-2019, and 202 were financed.

EU defence industry represents 440.000 employees highly qualified, had many positive spill-over effects on civilian application and is increasingly a dual-use industry that benefits the economy at large. It will be severely impacted by the coronavirus crisis. The unlocking of more than €200m will contribute to support its competitiveness and innovation potential, including in incentivizing member states investment in R&D through a more than €113m leverage effect.

More information

Press release on European Defence Fund launch, June 2017

Press release on first defence research grants, February 2018

Press release on the Proposal for a European Defence Fund 2021-2027, June 2018

Press release on the provisional agreement on the future European Defence Fund, February 2019

Press release on paving the way for first joint industrial projects under EU budget, February 2019

More information on PADR Work Programme and calls for proposals

More information on EDIDP Work Programme and calls for proposals

Factsheet on April EDIDP call

Factsheet on April PADR projects

 

Defence

Biden to join eastern European NATO states summit, focus seen on Ukraine

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US President Joe Biden (pictured) joined a virtual summit of eastern European NATO states held in the Romanian capital Bucharest on Monday (10 May), Romanian President Klaus Iohannis said, with a focus on security in the Black Sea region and Ukraine.

The summit of the Bucharest Nine, a group of European countries on the eastern edge of NATO, will be jointly hosted by Iohannis and Poland's President Andrzej Duda and aims at coordinating the security positions of countries in the region.

"Glad to welcome Joe Biden to the Bucharest9 Summit which I host in Bucharest today," Iohannis said on his Twitter account.

"Together with President Andrzej Duda we'll also welcome ... Jens Stoltenberg in preparation of NATO Summit, focusing on Transatlantic ties, NATO 2030, defence and deterrence on the eastern flank."

Biden, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg and the presidents of Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania and Slovakia will video-conference into the gathering.

"In ... the statement that the nine will publish after the meeting there will be the issue of security in the Black Sea region and the related security issues in Ukraine," the head of Poland's National Security Bureau, Pawel Soloch, told reporters.

Earlier this month, Washington said it could increase security help for Kyiv after Russia moved troops near its border with Ukraine’s eastern Donbass region, where Ukrainian troops are in conflict with Moscow-backed separatists.

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Cyber-espionage

Commission makes €11 million available to strengthen cybersecurity capabilities and co-operation

EU Reporter Correspondent

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The European Commission will make €11 million of funding available for 22 new projects seeking to strengthen the European Union's capacity to deter and mitigate cyber-threats and incidents, by employing the latest technologies. The projects, which have been selected following a recent call for proposals under the Connecting Europe Facility programme, will support various cybersecurity organisations in 18 Member States. The beneficiaries of the funding include Computer Security Incident Response teams, operators of essential services in the health, energy, transport and other sectors, as well as bodies dealing with the cybersecurity certification and testing, as defined in the EU Cybersecurity Act. They will start working after the summer on tools and skills necessary to comply with the requirements set by the NIS Directive and the Cybersecurity Act, while at the same time they will engage in activities aimed to enhance cooperation at the EU level. So far the EU has funded almost €47.5m to reinforce EU cybersecurity between 2014 and 2020, through the Connecting Europe Facility programme. Furthermore, more than €1 billion under the Digital Europe Programme will be directed towards the areas of focus of the new EU Cybersecurity Strategy. More information is available here. More information about Europe's actions to strengthen cybersecurity capacities is available here and EU-funded cybersecurity projects can be found here.

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Defence

Military leaders address collective Arctic security issues

EU Reporter Correspondent

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Military leaders from 11 European and North American nations concluded two days of strategic discussions focused on Arctic security issues during the annual Arctic Security Forces Roundtable (ASFR) last week. While the ongoing COVID-19 global pandemic delayed plans to meet in person in Rovaniemi, Finland, the Finnish military leveraged virtual technology to host the in-depth, time-sensitive discussions focused on current and emerging High North security issues.

Established in 2010 by Norway and the United States, the ASFR promotes Arctic cooperation among military forces that operate in and around the Arctic region, while also supporting nations that promote peaceful development of the Arctic region and adhere to international-rule-based order.

“The amount of focused attention and activity – commercially, militarily, environmentally – in the Arctic, along with the region’s continued strategic importance, makes this high-level military gathering an imperative for us,” said US Army Maj. Gen. Charles Miller, US European, Command’s (USEUCOM) director of plans, policy, strategy and capabilities. “From the issues we discuss to the relationships we continue to foster and forge, this roundtable is truly an invaluable forum for our nations.”

This flag-and-general-officer level, military-to-military forum, co-chaired by Norway and the U.S., to promote regional understanding and enhance multilateral security cooperation is currently the only military forum focused on the Arctic region’s unique challenging security dynamics and architecture, and full range of military capabilities and co-operation.

"The round table serves a critical role in ensuring that each participating senior military leader representing some 11 nations gains a clearer understanding of the Arctic," said Commodore Solveig Krey, Defence Staff Norway’s Assistant Chief of Staff Operations. "This roundtable, working in concert with the full range of bilateral and multilateral exercises and operations that occur throughout the year, helps support a secure, stable Arctic region where nations work cooperatively to address security challenges of collective concern."

During this year’s ASFR, participants discussed the roles of the Arctic Council, European Union and NATO, and those organizations’ aims to foster governance and cooperation in the region. Each participating nation detailed its own national Arctic strategy, senior representatives from NATO presented the alliance’s current Arctic outlook, and the participants addressed important transportation and environmental issues.

About USEUCOM

US European Command (USEUCOM) is responsible for US military operations across Europe, portions of Asia and the Middle East, the Arctic and Atlantic Ocean. USEUCOM is comprised of more than 64,000 military and civilian personnel and works closely with NATO Allies and partners. The command is one of two U.S. forward-deployed geographic combatant commands headquartered in Stuttgart, Germany. For more information about USEUCOM, click here.

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