Commission policy and instruments
Commission policy in the field of defence procurement aims at making EU countries’ defence markets more efficient and opening them up to EU-wide competition.
The policy instruments to achieve these objectives are:
Directive 2009/81/EC on defence and sensitive security procurement
This Directive sets EU rules for the procurement of arms, munitions and war material (plus related works and services) for defence purposes, but also for the procurement of sensitive supplies, works and services for security purposes. It is tailored to the specificities of defence and security equipment and markets.
Interpretative Communication on the application of Article 296 of the Treaty (now Article 346 TFEU) in the field of defence procurement
This offers guidance on the extent to which EU countries can exempt defence contracts from the Directive, if necessary for their essential security interests. It enhances legal certainty and limits possible abuse of the exemption.
Task Force on Defence Industries and Markets
Following the High Level Conference on Defence and Security Industries and Markets of 23 May 2011 Vice-President Tajani DG Enterprise and Industry and Commissioner Barnier DG Internal Market and Services jointly established a Commission Task Force on Defence Industry and Markets. The membership of the Task Force consists of interested Commission services. The European Defence Agency and the European External Action Service are also fully associated to its work. An article describing the background to this work can be found here (document 1 ).
The aim of the Task Force is to explore different policy options available to the Commission to accomplish the European defence equipment market and further enhance the strength and competitiveness of the defence industry. It has begun its work by identifying three main priority areas: industrial policy, research & innovation and the internal market. Step by step, the work of the Task Force included other relevant EU policies such as energy, transport, maritime security, etc. This process has led to the preparation of the Communication on a more competitive and efficient defence and security sector.
On 24 July 2013 the Commission adopted a Communication entitled “Towards a more competitive and efficient defence and security sector”. This Communication will be discussed by Heads of State and Government at the European Council of December 2013.
The Communication builds on the acquis of the two Directives on defence procurement (2009/81) and transfers (2009/43) and develops it further, trying also to exploit synergies which come from the blurring of the dividing line between defence and security.
It contains an action plan with initiatives in the areas of Internal Market, Industrial policy, Research and Innovation, Capabilities, Space, Energy and International Trade. The general objective of the action plan is to enhance the efficiency and competitiveness of the defence and security sector in Europe.
With respect to defence procurement, the Communication announces the establishment of a market monitoring mechanism, additional guidance on certain exclusions from Directive 2009/81/EC, and the rapid phasing out of offsets.