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Strengthening Europe's defence industry
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Published on 24-07-13

Proposals to help strengthen Europe's defence industry and markets were outlined today by the Commission. Defence and security remain a matter of national competence, but the Commission believes in times of budget constraints more cooperation and integration is needed at an EU level to support the sector, cut red tape and save time and money.

    Strengthening Europe's defence industry

    The following are some of the proposed initiatives included in the Communication:

    - accomplish the internal market for defence and security.  The Commission will also tackle market distortions and contribute to improving security of supply between member states.

    - strengthen the competitiveness of European industry.  This includes the development of 'hybrid standards' to benefit security and defence markets and examine ways to develop a European certification system for military airworthiness.  Also, support for SMEs with the development of a European Strategic Cluster Partnership to provide links with other clusters and support defence-related SMEs in global competition.

    - exploit civilian military partnership to ensure the most efficient use of European tax payers' money. In particular by concentrating efforts on possible cross-fertilisation between civil and military research and the dual-use potential of space and helping armed forces reduce their energy consumption.

    Who will benefit?

    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, economies of scale through more standardisation and certification and improved access to EU funding.

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

    The environment will benefit from the reduced energy footprint by Europe’s armed forces.

    The Communication is the Commission's contribution to the European Council debate, involving heads of state and government, on the future security and defence in Europe scheduled for December 2013.


    EU Member States have committed themselves to a Common Foreign Security Policy (CFSP) for the European Union. The CFSP strengthens the EU's external ability to act through civilian and military capabilities in conflict prevention and crisis management. A major element of the CFSP is the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) and is the domain of EU policy covering defence and military aspects, as well as civilian crisis management.

    The European External Action Service plays a central role in co-ordinating activities in both policies. Although both policies are the responsibility of member states, the Commission plays an important role especially in civilian crisis management and development.

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