Commission paves the way for joint defence industrial projects under EU budget and adopts Brexit contingency measure on railway safety and connectivity
Joint industrial projects in the field of defence
The European Commission formally initiated work with Member States to finance joint industrial projects in the field of defence. In a few weeks, following the views of Member States, the Commission will adopt the work programme and launch calls for proposals for the European Defence Industrial Development Programme under the EU budget for 2019-2020. This will help pave the way for the future European Defence Fund for the period 2021-2027.
In a world of increasing instability and cross-border threats to our security, no country can succeed alone. That is why the Juncker Commission is making an unprecedented effort to protect and defend Europeans. Defence cooperation helps Member States spend taxpayer money more efficiently, promotes a strong and innovative defence industry and raises the EU's autonomy and technological leadership in defence.
The European Commission, under the steer of President Juncker and with the support of Member States, is taking the following steps:
For the 2017-2020 EU budget period:
For the first time in European history, the EU is incentivising European defence cooperation with a budget envelope of €590 million (€90 million for research over 2017-2019 and €500 million for developing equipment and technology during 2019-2020).
Defence research cooperation is already materialising. First EU grant agreements under the 2017 budget included the research project Ocean2020, which brings together 42 partners from 15 EU countries and supports maritime surveillance missions at sea and to that end will integrate drones and unmanned submarines into fleet operations. In the coming weeks the Commission will announce further collaborative defence research projects under the 2018 budget and present the work programme and final call for proposals under the remaining budget tranche for 2019.
Following the views of Member States, in a few weeks, the Commission will adopt the first ever Work Programme to co-finance joint industrial projects in the field of defence under the EU budget for 2019-2020. The projects for which calls for proposals under the European Defence Industrial Development Programme will be launched will be consistent with the priorities identified in the context of the Permanent Structured Cooperation, the Capability Development Plan and NATO.
For the 2021-2027 EU budget period:
On the basis of these two “pilot” programmes, the Commission proposed in June 2018 a fully-fledged European Defence Fund worth €13 billion under the next EU long-term budget to cover both the research and capability strands. Following positive votes in the European Parliament and Council, the proposal is now being discussed by the co-legislators in the final so-called trilogue negotiations.
Given the increasing risk that the United Kingdom may leave the European Union on 30 March this year without a deal (a “no-deal” scenario), the European Commission has today adopted a proposal to help mitigate the significant impact that such a scenario would have on rail transport and connectivity between the EU and the UK.
Today's proposal will ensure the validity of safety authorisations for certain parts of rail infrastructure for a strictly limited period of three months to allow long-term solutions in line with EU law to be put in place. This is, in particular, related to the Channel Tunnel and will be conditional on the United Kingdom maintaining safety standards identical to EU requirements. This will ensure the protection of rail-passengers, the safety of citizens and will avoid major disruptions of cross-border rail operations and shuttle services after the UK's withdrawal.
European Citizens' Initiative
The European Commission has today decided to register a European Citizens' Initiative entitled ‘Let's demand smarter vaping regulation!'.
The objective of the initiative is to: "create bespoke legislation which clearly sets vaping products apart from tobacco and pharmaceutical products". The organisers call on the Commission to "ensure new legislation [for vaping products] based on mandatory compliance with robust product quality, safety and manufacturing standards, together with responsible marketing practices that ensure youth protection".
The European Commission's decision to register the Initiative concerns only the legal admissibility of the proposal. The Commission has not analysed the substance at this stage.
The registration of this Initiative will take place on 20 February 2019, starting a one-year process of collection of signatures of support by its organisers. Should the initiative receive one million statements of support within one year, from at least seven different Member States, the Commission will have to react within three months. The Commission can decide either to follow the request or not, and in both instances would be required to explain its reasoning.
Questions and Answers on the Commission's “Contingency Action Plan” of 19 December 2019
12 February 2019