Major role for SMEs in newly announced EU-funded defence projects
SMEs are among the key beneficiaries of €205 million of European Union financing for 16 newly announced pan-European defence industrial projects and three disruptive technology projects.
The funding has been made available through the two precursor programmes of a fully-fledged European Defence Fund: the Preparatory Action on Defence Research (PADR) and the European Defence Industrial Development Programme (EDIDP).
Margrethe Vestager, Executive Vice-President for a Europe Fit for the Digital Age, said: “The European Defence Fund will enable spending better by spending together, thereby reducing fragmentation and inefficiencies.
"The successful results of its precursor programmes show the great potential that exists in cooperation between defence industries large and small, and from across the EU.”
Thierry Breton, Commissioner for Internal Market, said: “These promising projects demonstrate the EU's ability to promote and support cooperation between European defence industries and Member States. By developing high-end technologies and defence capabilities, we are strengthening the EU's resilience and strategic autonomy.
"All participants in the defence value chain, regardless of their size and their origin within the EU, can benefit. The European Defence Fund, with the right level of financing, will enable to significantly scale up these first successes.”
The results are a positive outcome and confirm the fit for purpose model of the European Defence Fund. The main elements to note are:
- A highly attractive programme: in total, 441 entities applied to EDIDP calls, contributing to 40 proposals. Some 223 entities from 16 proposals will be supported by EDIDP;
- Wide geographical coverage: the EDIDP projects cover participants from 24 Member States;
- Large SMEs participation: SMEs represent 37% of the total number of entities receiving funding (83 SMEs) from EDIDP, confirming the importance of specific SMEs calls and dedicated SMEs bonuses;
- Positive effect on cooperation: the EDIDP selected proposals entail on average 14 entities from seven Member States;
- Full coherence with other EU defence initiatives, notably the Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO):nine proposals financed under EDIDP are PESCO projects;
- Contribution to the EU's strategic autonomy: the EDIDP proposals are consistent with the key capability priorities agreed by Member States at European level through the Capability Development Plan;
- Open to third country-controlled subsidiaries: the EDIDP results demonstrate the possibility to involve EU-based subsidiaries controlled by third countries or third country entities provided they fulfil appropriate security-based guarantees approved by Member States. This is namely the case with four participants controlled by entities from Canada, Japan and the United States;
- Support to disruptive technologies: the PADR for the first time is supporting three projects dedicated to disruptive technologies through dedicated calls, designed to prepare the future EDF, which allocates up to 8% of its budget to disruptive actions. These are important to make sure Europe remains at the forefront of technological development.
The projects will support the development of European defence capabilities such as drones and related technologies, space technologies, unmanned ground vehicles, high precision missile systems, future naval platforms, airborne electronic attack capability, tactical and highly secured networks, cyber situational awareness platforms, or next generation of active stealth technologies.
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