European Defence Agency Steering Committee: extracts from the joint press conference by Alexander Weis, Chief Executive of the European Defence Agency, and Anne-Grete Strøm-Erichsen, Norwegian Minister for Defence
European governments agreed on 26 May 2008 to establish a new Joint Investment Programme (JIP) for research into emerging technologies which might have a disruptive effect on the battlefield, using an innovative structure devised by the European Defence Agency to boost collaborative European efforts on defence Research & Technology.
The ministerial meeting of the European Defence Agency's Steering Board approved the new two-year programme, building on the experience from the first JIP launched in 2006 which focuses on the protection of armed forces. Eleven European countries will contribute to the new initiative, which will be funded by a common budget of 15.5 million Euros.
European Ministers for Defence also issued a declaration of their determination to improve the operational availability of helicopters, noting that shortfalls in helicopter availability constrained EU and other international crisis management operations. The Steering Board of the European Defence Agency noted that important work was underway in the Agency to mitigate the problem of helicopter availability through initiatives such as enhanced crew training, fleet technical upgrades and logistic improvements, but that more needed to be done. SHOTLISTLINK