Defence Industry: the Commission kick-starts the European Defence Fund with €1.2 billion and awards 26 new industrial cooperation projects for more than €158 million

The Commission adopted yesterday a package of decisions supporting the competitiveness and innovation capacity of the EU defence industry. The adoption of the first European Defence Fund (EDF) annual work programme paves the way to the immediate launch of 23 calls for proposals for a total of €1.2 billion of EU funding in support of collaborative defence research and development projects. Furthermore, under the EDF’s precursor programme, the European Defence Industry Development Programme (EDIDP), 26 new projects with a budget of more than €158 million were selected for funding. In addition, two major capability development projects received a directly awarded grant of €137 million under the EDIDP, ESSOR, the European Secure Software-defined Radio, and MALE RPAS, also known as Eurodrone. Margrethe Vestager, Executive Vice-President for a Europe Fit for the Digital Age, said: “The European Defence Fund now plays a key role in making defence industrial cooperation in Europe a permanent reality. This will foster the EU’s competitiveness and contribute to achieving our technological ambitions. With significant participation of companies of all sizes and from across the EU, the Fund provides great opportunities to foster innovation and cutting edge capabilities. 30% of funding going to small and medium sized enterprises is a very promising start.” Thierry Breton, Commissioner for Internal Market, said: “In 2021, the European Defence Fund is coming to life. With the EU’s first-ever dedicated defence programme, European cooperation in defence will become the norm. Public authorities will spend better together, and companies – big or small – from all Member States will benefit, resulting in more integrated European defence industrial value chains. In 2021 alone, the EDF will finance up to €1.2bn in high-end defence capability projects such as the next generation of aircraft fighters, tanks or ships, as well as critical defence technologies such as military cloud, AI, semiconductors, space, cyber or medical counter measures.” During the first year, the EDF will co-finance large-scale and complex projects for a total amount of €1.2 billion. To finance this ambitious roll-out, the 2021 EDF budget of €930 million has been complemented with a ‘top-up’ of €290 million from the 2022 EDF budget. This will allow to kick-start large-scale and ambitious capability development projects while ensuring broad thematic coverage of other promising topics

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