Blog AnalysisDefense industry

European Defense Agency. Too small a budget according to some delegations

(B2 – archives) Defense ministers are expected to adopt on November 19 the budget of the European Defense Agency which will amount to 32 million euros for 2008. This enrages supporters of Defense Europe such as France and Belgium.

Franco-Belgian anger

The European Defense Agency, which was to be " the daughter of St Malo (the agreement between the French and the British in 1998 to relaunch Defense Europe) and the witness of exemplary cooperation between the United Kingdom and France will not have the necessary means of operation explains a French diplomat. " The Agency is barely maintained at waterline level. It is deprived of real capacity and ambition, especially in terms of operational budgets ».

British and Dutch opposition

The United Kingdom in particular, but also the Netherlands, were in fact opposed to providing more resources to the Agency, considering that " the agency has not demonstrated its usefulness and that the projects submitted [are not] worthy of interest ". Deeply prejudicial to the interests of St Malo. " What the British, and to a lesser extent the Dutch, agree to is a barely functional budget. » There is a " very dogmatic side of the British position and strange compared to Milliband's speech in Bruges, which was more open and enterprising on [European] defense and cooperation against armaments. "" For the third consecutive year, the agency cannot be provided with a multi-year budget to initiate operational work and program more consistently. »

No multi-year budget

According to the draft decision, the budget would have been defined on a multiannual basis: 32 million euros in 2008, 37 million in 2009, 42 million in 2010. Of this budget, 20 million are allocated to operations in 2008, 6 million for the of which 1 million is "frozen" and 6 million for specific projects (in particular drones). In 2009, these amounts are respectively 22 million, 7 million and 8 million. In 2010, they respectively reached 24 million, 9 million and still 8 million for projects.

A strategy for the EDTIB

In addition to the adoption of this budget, the Ministers will also take note of the Agency's activity report. They should therefore welcome the progress in the development of a capacity development plan, the establishment of a strategy to develop the industrial and technological base for Defense Europe (BITDE), the agreement to strengthen cooperation to support the armaments strategy which must be developed in 2008. They should also welcome the effective functioning of the defense public procurement system, through the establishment of the electronic bulletin, the adoption of a code of conduct aimed at improving cooperation between Member States and reducing overcapacity, the success of the establishment of the first joint research and technology program.

(Nicolas Gros-Verheyde)

article published in a first version in Europolitique on 19 November 2007 and supplemented.

Nicolas Gros Verheyde

Chief editor of the B2 site. Graduated in European law from the University of Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne and listener to the 65th session of the IHEDN (Institut des Hautes Etudes de la Défense Nationale. Journalist since 1989, founded B2 - Bruxelles2 in 2008. EU/NATO correspondent in Brussels for Sud-Ouest (previously West-France and France-Soir).