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Briton To Head Euro Armaments Agency (Jan. 29)

BRUSSELS ---The Secretary-General/High Representative for Common Foreign and Security Policy, Javier Solana, appointed today Mr. Nick Witney as leader of the team tasked by the Council1 to prepare for the establishment of the Agency in the field of defence capabilities development, research, acquisition and armaments.

Mr. Witney is currently Director-General for International Security Policy at the UK Ministry of Defence.

The Agency Establishment Team should submit proposals to the Council with a view to the adoption of the necessary decisions concerning the creation of the Agency and to launching the activity of the Agency in the course of 2004.


On 17 November 2003, the Council agreed to create an Agency in the field of Defence capabilities development, research, acquisition and armaments. It tasked a Team (the Agency Establishment Team) to take work forward on the financial, legal and administrative aspects of the setting up of the Agency and its internal organisation, as well as on its establishment in particular regarding its missions in the field of defence capabilities development, research, acquisition and armaments.

The Agency Establishment Team will submit proposals with a view to the adoption of the necessary decisions by the Council and to launching the activity of the Agency in the course of 2004.

Overall aim of the Agency is support Member States in their effort to improve European defence capabilities in support of European Security and Defence Policy (ESDP). More specifically:

1. Developing defence capabilities in the field of crisis management by:
-- identifying, in association with Council bodies, the EU’s future capability requirements
-- assessing the capability commitments given by Member States through the ECAP (European Capability Action Plan ) process, and using the CDM (Capability Development Mechanism);
-- promoting harmonisation of military equipments, identifying collaborative activities in the operational domain and providing appraisals on financial priorities for capabilities development and acquisition.

2. Promoting and enhancing European armaments cooperation by:
-- proposing multilateral projects to meet ESDP capabilities requirements
-- striving for coordination of programmes implemented by Member States and for the management of specific cooperation programmes.

3. The identification and implementation of policies and measures aimed at strengthening the European defence industrial and technological base; supporting the creation, in liaison with the Commission, as appropriate, of an internationally competitive European defence equipment market.

4. Promoting – in liaison with Community research activities where appropriate – research aimed at fulfilling future defence and security capabilities requirements.


-- to be subject to the Council’s authority, within the single institutional framework of the EU;Defence ministers within the Council will have responsibility for the Agency.
-- to be set up by a Council Joint Action, which will i.a. specify the decision-making procedures within the Agency.

Council decisions relating to the Agency are to be taken by the Council (GAERC) meeting in Defence ministers composition.

The EU’s Political and Security Committee is to receive reports and provide guidelines. The Agency is to draw on the competence and expertise of the EU Military Committee, as well as EU National Armaments Directors on issues of their competence

Structure of the Agency:

-- A Steering Board will be the Agency’s governing body (Defence Ministers of the participating EU Member States - or their representatives - authorised to commit their governments, and a representative of the Commission . It meets at the level of the Ministers of Defence or their representatives)

-- The Head of the Agency will be the Secretary General/High Representative, who will chair SB meetings

-- A Chief Executive will be appointed.

-- Budgetary arrangements will be worked out during the establishment phase of the Agency.


The Agency will be open to participation by all Member States. The Commission will be fully associated to the work of the Agency.

The Agency should establish working relations with the relevant elements of existing organisations, arrangements and groupings such as OCCAR, L.o.I., and WEAG/WEAO, with a view to incorporating them or to assimilating their principles and practices.

Reciprocal transparency and coherent development will be ensured between the Agency and relevant NATO bodies within their respective competencies and the established framework of cooperation and consultation.

EU High Representative for the CFSP Appoints Head of the Defence Agency Establishment Team