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EU-wide co-operation on #defence is key to citizens’ security




The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) encourages increased co-operation on defence between the EU member states and supports the launch of the European Defence Industrial Development Programme (EDIDP) and the European Defence Fund (EDF) with the aim of boosting both Europe’s economy and security, the EU’s body representing civil society said at its 530th plenary session in Brussels.

In the two opinions on Europe’s defence policy adopted at the plenary, the EESC argued that member states should strive for a more co-ordinated and responsible form of EU defence, although Europe’s defence policy should remain embedded in the NATO framework.

“It is appropriate to support a European defence industry. In times of increasing instability, Europe needs to re-evaluate and adapt its capabilities for its own defence industry and develop a widespread European culture of defence and security to give full meaning to European citizenship”, said Antonello Pezzini, rapporteur of the opinion on the Европска програма за одбранбен индустриски развој (Ко-известувач Ерик Бруне).

“The defence sector is a high-technology and important economic sector. We need to encourage research and development in the defence industry as it will also have positive impact on other key industries,” added Mihai Ivaşcu, rapporteur on Отворање на Европскиот фонд за одбрана (Ко-известувач Фабиен Кудерк).

“Permanent structured co-operation (PESCO) as envisaged in the Lisbon Treaty can serve as both a political incubator for building a ‘Europe of defence’ and as a catalyst for member states’ willingness and commitments, in line with Articles 42(6) and 46 TEU and Protocol 10 to the Treaty,” said Pezzini.

The EESC supports the launch of the EDIDP, but maintains that it needs to be framed by a common strategic vision for the defence industry. In the EESC’s view European manufacturers – including SMEs – and users, involving at least three member states, need to be effectively integrated when it comes to the financing of projects and the procurement of goods and services.


Секое евро инвестирано во одбранбената индустрија генерира принос од 1.6. Затоа, силно се препорачува земјите-членки и Европската комисија да го користат Европскиот одбранбен фонд (ЕДФ) за да ги задржат клучните индустриски капацитети на европско тло и да обезбедат европските пари да се трошат за европско истражување и развој и за купување европски системи за оружје.

ЕЕСК смета дека е важно што е можно поскоро да се воспостави рамка за управување за ЕДФ и таа да ги вклучи ЕУ, Европската агенција за одбрана, земјите-членки, како и индустријата.

“Europe needs to build up strong key capabilities that support European interests and apply high social and environmental standards. It needs to take greater responsibility for its defence and must be ready and able to deter any external threat to its citizens and way of life,” concluded the rapporteurs.


Europe’s defence industry comprises the whole industry that develops, produces and provides goods and services to the armed forces, police and security services in the EU member states. It is one of Europe’s leading industries with a turnover of €100 billion. Europe’s defence market traditionally remained outside of the process of establishing the European single market. This jeopardiszes not only the competitiveness of Europe’s defence industry but also Europe’s ability to tackle current and future security challenges. The defence industry employs 1.4 million highly skilled employees. Collectively, the 28 member states represent the second largest military spender worldwide. However, defence budgets in the EU have decreased by €2bn per year over the past decade. On average the EU-27 invest 1.32% of GDP in defence, despite a 2% NATO goal. The lack of coordination in the area of defence investment costs Europe between €25bn and €100bn per year.

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