A framework for a joint Strategy on Defence Research & Technology. 4 benchmarks

(B2 – archives) European Union governments adopted, on 19 november, the framework for a joint Strategy on Defence Research & Technology. He is describing why and how they intend to invest collectively on technologies that are crucial for future military capabilities and industrial capacities in Europe.

The framework lays out both the “Ends” for the strategy – for example, preparing a list of key technologies to invest in – as well as the “Means” to deliver them, such as different forms of collaboration, technology watch and coordination with other European R&T organisations. The Agency was tasked to report on progress, including the list of technologies in spring 2008.

Four benchmarks

Ministers approved four benchmarks to increase investment for future needs and to encourage collaborative spending :

  • Equipment procurement (incl. R&D/R&T): 20% of defence spending (currently 19.4%)
  • European collaborative equipment procurement: 35% of equipment procurement expenditure (currently 21%)
  • Defence R&T: 2% of defence spending (currently 1.2%)
  • European collaborative defence R&T: 20% of defence R&T expenditure (currently 10%)

Budget approved

The Steering Board approved also the Agency’s work programme and budget for 2008. The budget of €32 million (€22 in 2007), includes €6 million earmarked for work on Unmanned Air Vehicles which can be spent only after a further decision by the Steering Board. Budget resulting from a compromise between Member States (read: European Defence Agency. A budget that is too small according to some delegations).

And also the work programme

The work programme adds a long-term strategy to boost the number of cooperative programmes on Armaments to the existing strategies for Capabilities Development, the EDTIB and R&T. Major initiatives include looking for new Joint Investment Programmes in defence R&T, using the model pioneered this year for Force Protection, and further work on a more open and competitive European Defence Equipment Market.


Article published in Europolitique on 22 November 2007

Nicolas Gros-Verheyde

Rédacteur en chef du site B2. Diplômé en droit européen de l'université Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne et auditeur 65e session IHEDN (Institut des hautes études de la défense nationale. Journaliste depuis 1989, fonde B2 - Bruxelles2 en 2008. Correspondant UE/OTAN à Bruxelles pour Sud-Ouest (auparavant Ouest-France et France-Soir).