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Frequently asked questions


Despite the Small Business Act (SBA) which was adopted in June 2008, the Commission launched a study on the competitiveness of European SMEs in the defence sector. Why isn't the SBA sufficient?

The SBA is a general instrument which concerns all industrial sectors and focuses on entrepreneurship. The European defence market is fragmented making it less transparent and competitive than other sectors. Hence, for SMEs, it is more difficult to get information on (sub-) contract opportunities. The European Commission's DG Enterprise & Industry therefore launched a study to get a better economic overview of European SMEs acting in the defence sector and recommendations for better policies and measures to support them.

What do you think about a Small Business Act for defence SMEs?

The European Commission is working on measures and instruments in order to help SMEs in the defence sector. With the new procurement directive we will have more transparency and (cross-border) competition within Europe. This should have a positive impact on the supply chain as well and so be of benefit to SMEs. The new directive on intra-community transfers of defence goods will facilitate transfers of defence goods within Europe and reduce unnecessary administrative costs and burdens. If we consider all the initiatives started by the European Commission and the European Defence Agency we already have many instruments to improve the situation of SMEs in the defence sector.

What is the 'Defence Package'?

The Defence Package was launched on 5 December 2007 by the European Commission to tackle the weaknesses caused by the fragmentation of the European defence market which is heavily regulated on a national basis. The package consists of three elements:

  1. A Communication on A Strategy for a Stronger and More Competitive European defence Industry. This sets out the Commission's industrial policy towards the defence sector and makes recommendations for improving its competitiveness.
  2. A proposal for a Directive on Intra-EU Transfers of Defence-related Goods. This is designed to alleviate the obstacles to intra-community trade of defence-related goods caused by national licensing systems and polices.
  3. A proposal for a Directive on Defence and Security Procurement. This is designed to enhance openness and intra-European competition in Member State's defence markets by facilitating the application of European public procurement law to the defence sector in a flexible way to ensure security of supply and information while respecting the principles behind the Treaty.

For further information see: European Defence Industrial Policy

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