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Defence industries

Defence-related SMEs

Dual Use Guide for Regions and SMEs presented by Commissioner Nelli Feroci on 10 October 2014 in La Spezia

The guidebook clarifies the eligibility rules for dual-use projects funded by EU instruments, such as COSME, Horizon 2020 and the European Structural and Investment Funds. It also provides guidance, ideas, and tips on how companies, in particular SMEs, and public administrations could develop new dual-use strategies.

Photo © Finmeccanica SpADefence-related SMEs are key enablers of innovation and growth. They also play a key role in the complex defence supply chains in Europe.

Clustering can help SMEs to diversify into new markets, and exploit synergies between the defence and civil sectors - by developing new civilian products based on technologies and materials originating from the defence sector, or vice versa.

The Commission set out in the Defence Communication pdf български (bg) czech (cs) dansk (da) Deutsch (de) eesti (et) ελληνικά (el) español (es) Français (fr) Gaeilge (ga) hrvatski (hr) italiano (it) latviešu (lv) lietuvių (lt) magyar (hu) Malti (mt) Nederlands (nl) polski (pl) português (pt) română (ro) slovenčina (sk) slovenščina (sl) suomi (fi) svenska (sv) a number of actions for defence related SMEs, including the use of existing EU programmes and tools designed to support the process of (regional) clustering.

COSME, the EU programme for the competitiveness of SMEs, with a budget of €2.3 billion, will be instrumental to support these actions. For example, under COSME there will be funding opportunities for European Strategic Cluster Partnerships. These Partnerships offer great dual-use potential for defence-clusters to link up with other economic clusters and better support SMEs in their global position. Under Horizon 2020 there are also many opportunities for clusters, such as Cluster facilitated projects for new industrial chains.

SMEs can also tap into the potential of the Enterprise Europe Network (EEN). The Network can guide SMEs engaged in dual-use activities towards networking and partnerships, internationalisation of their activities, technology transfers and finding business opportunities.

Besides COSME and Horizon 2020, the European Structural and Investment Funds also offer a considerable potential to fund dual-use projects. The European Commission has released a guidance document for SMEs and regional authorities which aims to clarify the opportunities and eligibility rules for such projects. Different language versions of this guidance will be available shortly.

The European Commission also organises workshops which provide more information on how defence-related companies, in particular SMEs, can provide an important contribution to regional economic development:

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