26 Jul 2013

European Commission launches defence and security plan

Summary: The European Commission has launched its ‘Communication on the European Defence and Security Sector’ in order to enhance the efficiency and competitiveness of Europe’s defence and security sector.

The communication is entitled ‘Towards a more competitive and efficient defence and security sector’ and is an attempt to tackle security challenges in an ever-more stretched defence marketplace.

The repeated cuts in defence budgets and the persisting fragmentation of defence markets in Europe have threatened Europe’s capacity to sustain effective defence capabilities and a competitive defence industry. As a result, developing and maintaining the technologies and capabilities required has been identified as being beyond the capacity of Member States to achieve individually.

The latest EC communication is an attempt to introduce measures to strengthen the internal market for defence, to promote a more competitive defence industry and to foster a relationship between civil and military research.

Commissioner for Internal Market and Services Michel Barnier said: “Europe needs a credible Common Security and Defence Policy to guarantee its own security and to assume its responsibilities in the world. To make this CSDP effective, we must also strengthen our defence industries and markets. In particular in times of budget constraints, this necessitates more cooperation and integration in order to become more efficient. Defence is still a domain of national sovereignty, and Member States are naturally in lead on this endeavour.

As a result of the new communication, EU Member States will save time and money through European standards and certification, supporting clusters, role specialisation, joint research and procurement, more energy-efficient armies and efficient use of spatial infrastructures.

European defence-related companies, including SMEs, will gain from better access to other markets, either within or outside of the EU, and certification and improved access to EU funding.

In addition, European taxpayers will benefit from more efficient defence spending, less duplication between R&D civil and military efforts, a more efficient use of space infrastructure.

The next step for the communication is to develop a detailed roadmap with concrete actions and timelines to tackle the areas defined in the report.

Click here to read the full Communication on the European Defence and Security Sector