Having recognised the need to step up its efforts, the EU has launched the European Defence Fund (EDF), which includes the Preparatory Action for Defence Research (PADR). The PADR is to demonstrate the added value of EU-supported defence R&T in the 2017 to 2019 period. If successful, the programme could be extended into a fully-fledged European Defence Research Programme (EDRP) in the next EU Multiannual Financial Framework which begins in 2021. In 2019 and 2020, the PADR will be complemented by the European Defence Industrial Development Programme (EDIDP) to foster the joint development of defence capabilities between EU Member States.
Airbus and the European aerospace and defence industry fully support these initiatives. It is essential that Member States and EU institutions harness the current political momentum to enhance cooperation in defence research. This requires a willingness to cooperate as well as the allocation of adequate resources to this strategic area.
As the European Commission stated in its recent reflection paper on the future of European defence, “enhancing European security is a must”. We wholeheartedly agree. It is now up to the Member States to put their words into action to make the first EU-wide defence projects a reality.