The Future of EU Defence Research

30-03-2016

There is an increasing demand for the EU to become a ‘Security Provider’. This demand comes from Europe’s best ally, namely the U.S., but also from Member States themselves. For the first time ever the defence solidarity clause of article 42.7 of the Treaty on European Union was invoked in November 2015. Ultimately the demand to put ‘more defence in the Union’ comes from European citizens who wonder why Europe does not protect them in the current turmoil. From the answer to this question depends not only Europe’s ‘strategic autonomy’, but possibly the future of the whole European project. Several steps have already been initiated to answer the call for more defence in Europe. Since the beginning of his mandate, President Juncker has declared defence a ‘priority’, called for the implementation of the Permanent Structured Cooperation enshrined in the Lisbon Treaty and reiterated the long term vision of a ’European army’. In June 2016, a ‘global strategy’ will be issued and a Commission Defence Action Plan should follow by the end of 2016. A ‘Pilot Project’, adopted by the European Parliament in autumn 2014, has been launched and should open the path to a ‘Preparatory Action on Defence Research’ that may be voted in 2016 for the 2017-2020 budgets. A natural underpinning of those efforts should be the undertaking of a full-fledged Union programme in defence research. The size, the shape and the steps to be taken towards setting it up are the subject of the present report.

There is an increasing demand for the EU to become a ‘Security Provider’. This demand comes from Europe’s best ally, namely the U.S., but also from Member States themselves. For the first time ever the defence solidarity clause of article 42.7 of the Treaty on European Union was invoked in November 2015. Ultimately the demand to put ‘more defence in the Union’ comes from European citizens who wonder why Europe does not protect them in the current turmoil. From the answer to this question depends not only Europe’s ‘strategic autonomy’, but possibly the future of the whole European project. Several steps have already been initiated to answer the call for more defence in Europe. Since the beginning of his mandate, President Juncker has declared defence a ‘priority’, called for the implementation of the Permanent Structured Cooperation enshrined in the Lisbon Treaty and reiterated the long term vision of a ’European army’. In June 2016, a ‘global strategy’ will be issued and a Commission Defence Action Plan should follow by the end of 2016. A ‘Pilot Project’, adopted by the European Parliament in autumn 2014, has been launched and should open the path to a ‘Preparatory Action on Defence Research’ that may be voted in 2016 for the 2017-2020 budgets. A natural underpinning of those efforts should be the undertaking of a full-fledged Union programme in defence research. The size, the shape and the steps to be taken towards setting it up are the subject of the present report.