At the EDA ministerial Steering Board which met this Tuesday morning (15 November) under the chairmanship of HR/VP Federica Mogherini in her capacity as Head of the Agency, Defence Ministers tasked EDA to review the Capability Development Plan (CDP), approved the 2017 general budget and agreed to set up a working group to study the potential creation of a Cooperative Financial Mechanism.
Ministers agreed to the review of the Capability Development Plan (CDP), to improve the capability development process by taking into account R&T and industrial aspects, and tasked the EDA to present a new set of EU priorities for military capability development for Steering Board adoption by spring 2018.
The CDP review is a key element of the new EU Global Strategy (EUGS) which states that, in order to match the level of ambition set out in the strategy, Member States will need high-end military capabilities, i.e. full-spectrum land, air, space and maritime capabilities, including strategic enablers. The CDP serves as a reference for national capability planning by informing Member States about capability requirements over time, identifying areas for capability improvements and translating capability priorities into concrete collaborative programmes.
EDA 2017 budget: first increase since 2010
Ministers approved EDA’s general budget for 2017: €31 million compared to €30.5 million in 2016.
Cooperative Financial Mechanism (CFM)
Ministers were presented with EDA proposals for the potential establishment of a ‘Cooperative Financial Mechanism’ (CFM) the objective of which would be to overcome the lack of budgetary synchronisation between Member States and the problems that this causes for the launch of cooperative defence cooperation projects.
They agreed to set up a working group within EDA in view of submitting a legal and financial package and associated recommendations in spring 2017.
Experience has shown that one of the key factors that block or hinder cooperation is budget asymmetry or lack of synchronisation of budget availability. A potential Cooperative Financial Mechanism could alleviate this challenge by supporting the launch of projects (R&T, capability development). It would potentially incentivise cooperation by tackling the problem of absence of budgetary synchronisation, but also increasing the availability of common resources/ring-fencing budgets allocated to cooperation.
The CFM will have to respect the budgetary specialty principle as expressed in the national budgetary laws and ensure that Member States keep full control of their resources and on the use of the mechanism. These aspects will be dealt with in the EDA working group.
Implementation of EDA key taskings
Ministers welcomed the progress made on the implementation of the Agency’s ‘key taskings’ in the various capability programmes and the work carried out in relation to the Preparatory Action, and were briefed on the planned next steps, notably in the context of the taskings that emerge from the Council conclusions adopted yesterday (14 November) on implementing the EUGS in the area of Security and Defence.
The EDA was invited to develop a structured dialogue with industry, including not only prime companies but also national defence industry associations (NDIAs) and SMEs from Member States, in support of Key Strategic Activities (KSA) the first five test cases for which have also been welcomed.