Blog AnalysisDefense industry

Defense fund. The European Commission refuses to communicate

(B2) In total contradiction with the promises made by the von der Leyen Commission, in particular the words of future Commissioner Thierry Breton in his written responses to MEPs, the European executive is today refusing to communicate the slightest information on the European defense or at least its beginnings

We asked the European executive a simple thing: is it possible to know the number of projects that have been submitted under the EDIDP (the European Defense Industrial Development Programme), and some statistical indications: the number of companies/entities that responded or number per project, the geographical origins of the requests.

All non-personal data that does not break any industrial secrets, any GDPR rules, any rules of fair competition between companies, etc. It should be noted that the deadline for submitting tenders has ended (since the end of September), that all these tenders are now recorded and organized, that these figures therefore do exist, and that their publication in no way hinders the smooth running of calls for tenders. current offers.

The answer that has just reached us is surprising: Unfortunately, application information is confidential.. This is surprising on the one hand because it is not based on any legal basis other than an administrative rule and, on the other hand, because it is in total contradiction with the words and promises of political leaders.

Speaking to the press on Tuesday (November 12), European Commission Vice-President Federica Mogherini urged member states to publish their budget sheets on the 47 PESCO projects. Projects which have been approved and which, for some, will be able to benefit from European budgets. Some have already submitted an offer to benefit from European funding (under the EDIDP). " I'm pretty sure there's no legal impediment to them publishing the budget implications [...] There will be European money too. [....] For us, transparency is essential. It's a key word. » (1)

In his answers to MEPs, the future Commissioner for Industry and Defence, Thierry Breton declares: “For people to believe in the Union again, our institutions must be open and beyond reproach on issues of transparency. » He also promises to inform “ regularly the European Parliament of the EDF's annual priorities and long-term strategic planning " (read : Defense priorities of Thierry Breton. His commitment to probity. His responses to parliamentarians).

Comments : For political declarations not to remain empty words, but to find a concrete translation, the state of mind must change. Yes, defense secrecy must be respected, in all its dimensions. And there is no question of questioning it. No, it should not be used to not respond to basic points, which relate to good administration, and European funding, or to hide certain negligence. It is a question of credibility, of trust, of the relevance of European policy. If the von der Leyen Commission is to last, it will have to change course quickly.

(Nicolas Gros-Verheyde)

  1. Fed's response. Mogherini is targeting projects approved for PESCO, but not under European funding (EDIDP), with individualized and quantified budget sheets. What we ask for is less since it is only about global statistics.

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).