The European defence industry supports all efforts aiming at improving the European military capabilities and implementing a common armaments policy, reinforcing the European Security and Defence Policy, and therefore the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP).
In this context, the European Defence Industry welcomes the last draft of the Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe, and specially the article III-212 dealing with the creation of a European Armaments, Research and Military Capabilities Agency and supports the Presidency Conclusions of the Thessaloniki European Council and the work carried out under the Italian Presidency of the EU.
It is essential for a successful achievement of this Agency, to emphasize the “key principles” on which it is necessary for the Agency’s Members to build the new structure:
a) This Agency, chaired by a Senior Authority having had defence ministerial status, should be empowered with the proper authority, and should be directly under the authority of the EU Council [High Representative/Foreign Minister of the Union].
b) The necessary achievement of a common defence equipment market will only be possible through a consolidation process based on two ways of progress:
-- an intensified and effective promotion of common military requirements among Member States, facilitating the launch of common programmes and,
-- a common armament policy allowing restructuring and strengthening of the European Defence and Technological Industrial Base (DTIB).
c) The future health of the European defence industry requires the involvement of the governments in defining harmonised procedures and rules for defence related activities, based on cost-effectiveness grounds in an enlarged European context and guarantying an effective reciprocity with the others defence actors.
For that purpose, the first objectives of the Letter of Intent process should be used as a renewed basis to facilitate companies to form alliances and consolidate their production capacity in accordance with their best interest for assuring a globally competitive industrial concern. (The Letter of Intent was signed in 1998 by France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Sweden and United Kingdom and the Framework agreement was signed in 2000.)
d) A European research and technology policy is required to secure the future of the European DTIB and its competitiveness. To implement this policy, the Agency should use a list of strategic technologies defined by all stakeholders and should support the concept of “centres of excellence” implemented in line with potential production objectives. The Agency should also liase with others European Defence and Security R&T policy makers specially to follow broad advanced studies.
e) The convergence of export licensing procedures contributing to the implementation of the CFSP and facilitating the Intra-EU transfers is required in the short term.
According to Industry and other proposals recently made, Agency’s characteristics should be:
a) MISSIONS: In line with the Convention’s proposal, the Agency should cover all the domains essential for the improvement of European security and military capabilities and the implementation of a common armaments and security policy. That means to:
-- Contribute to identifying the Member States’ military capability objectives and evaluating observance of the capability commitments given by the Member States.
-- Promote harmonisation of operational needs and adoption of effective, compatible procurement methods as well as administrative rules,
-- Propose multilateral projects to fulfil the objectives in terms of military capabilities (in line with on going processes such as ECAP), ensure coordination of the programmes implemented by the Member States and management of specific cooperative programmes,
-- Support defence technology research, and coordinate and plan joint research activities and study of technical solutions meeting future operational needs,
-- Contribute to identifying and implementing any useful measure for strengthening the defence technological and industrial base.
-- Support measures to obtain a level playing field on a reciprocity basis for equitable transatlantic defence co-operation and trade.
b) WORKING PROGRAMME: The Agency should accomplish mandatory activities and optional programmes. The mandatory activities will be those relative to Security or other commonly agreed activities such as R&T management.
The optional programmes should cover all security and military capabilities identified for the ESDP operations but also for other security and military activities of the Member States or the European Union.
c) FUNCTIONING: Integrating the most fruitful results of existing initiatives (OCCAr, LoI and the WEAO Research Cell). The setting up of the Agency should be as soon as possible in 2004.
d) The Agency should have a legal personality. The statute of “associated partner” must be precisely defined.
e) FINANCING: In order to reinforce the cohesion among the nations, it should be proposed that each Member State contributes to the administrative and mandatory activities. Unless it has formally declared it self not interested in participating therein, each Member State will contribute to the costs of each optional programme.
In order to achieve the above in the most satisfactory ways, a strong commitment should be requested from the nations involved in the programmes. Consideration should be given to providing special tax provisions to the Agency and making available funds from the EU budget for external military operations.
Industry is looking for a structure able to provide added value to the whole EU Community through more efficiently managed research, development and acquisition programmes. The above position represents the minimum requirements for an efficient agency.
There are voices in industry requesting a wider remit as well as a stronger commitment towards joint financing. This ambitious approach would facilitate the acquisition of current and future ESDP requirements, it would foster and sustain the creation of a single European Defence Equipment Market and strengthen the European Defence Technological and Industrial Base. (ends)