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Defence Industry and Space

The Defence Transfers Directive Handbook for SMEs

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The European defence industry plays a considerable role in guaranteeing the security and defence of Europe. With a turnover of €108 billion in 2018, it is also a major provider of growth and jobs.

The approximately 2,500 small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) operating in the European defence sector are a critically important part of supply chains. SMEs active in the defence industry are key enablers of innovation and growth, able to conduct essential research, technology and innovation activities.

A substantial part of the European Defence Technological and Industrial Base is made of SMEs. However, the European defence industry is exposed to multiple challenges. One of them is the fragmentation of the European internal market for defence equipment. That fragmentation and divergent national approaches have caused many issues for the European defence industry in general, and for SMEs in particular.

In this context, Directive 2009/43/EC (the Defence Transfers Directive or the Transfers Directive) aims to simplify the rules for transfers of defence equipment between European countries to ensure the proper functioning of the internal market and make procedures less burdensome for the industry, especially for SMEs. The Defence Transfers Directive 2009/43/EC Handbook for SMEs. The aim of this Handbook is to provide SMEs active in the defence sector with a simple presentation of the Transfers Directive and useful advice on how to make the most of it.