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European defence fund

European defence fund

The 2017 European defence fund (EDF) will provide a key contribution to Europe’s strategic autonomy, protecting and defending its citizens. It will promote defence cooperation among companies and between EU countries to foster innovation and develop state-of-the-art defence technology and products. This, in turn, will lead to cost-savings for EU countries. The fund will coordinate, supplement and amplify national investments in defence.

The European defence fund supports the cross-border cooperation between EU countries and between enterprises, research centres, national administrations, international organisations and universities. This applies to the research phase and in the development phase of defence products and technologies. It has 2 strands. Under the research strand, the EU budget will provide funding for collaborative defence research projects. Under the capability strand, the EU will create incentives for companies and EU countries to collaborate on the joint development of defence products and technologies through co-financing from the EU budget. The European Commission will also offer practical support and advice on

  • cost-saving financial arrangements
  • providing terms and framework agreements
  • ownership structures for joint acquisition of defence capabilities by EU countries

The European defence fund in the 2014-2020 multiannual financial framework

As a first step, the European defence fund supports collaborative defence research and development through 2 pilot programmes with limited duration and budget.

The preparatory action on defence research (PADR)

The preparatory action on defence research provides grants for collaborative defence research with a budget of €90 million for 2017-2019. The first PADR grant agreement was signed in December 2017. By the beginning of 2019, 8 grant agreements were signed and projects have started.

The European defence industrial development programme (EDIDP)


The Commission has published the 2020 EDIDP calls for proposals. The deadline for submission is 1 December. Information concerning the organisation of an info day will follow.


The European defence industrial development programme offers co-financing for collaborative defence development projects with a budget of €500 million for 2019-2020.

The European defence fund under the 2021-2027 multiannual financial framework

In June 2018, the Commission proposed to allocate €13 billion to the fund for 2021-2027. It’s aimed at supporting competitive collaborative defence projects throughout the entire cycle of research and development. The Council of the European Union and the European Parliament should adopt the proposal by early 2019.

The financial toolbox

The EDF financial toolbox aims to address financing challenges for collaborative development and procurement. It does so by providing a set of voluntary reference acquisition models and identifying ways in which financial instruments can support the EDTIB. The first deliverables of the expert group on the financial toolbox are the basis for further policy considerations as part of relevant processes. These include PESCO and creating future financial products under the investEU programme.