ASD Statement on the EU Commission and HR/VP Joint Communication on Defence Investment Gaps Analysis and Way Forward

  • May 19, 2022

Brussels, 19  May 2022 – In response to a mandate from the European Council’s Versailles Summit, the European Commission and the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy (HR/VP) yesterday presented in a Joint Communication an analysis of defence investment gaps and proposals for measures to strengthen the European defence industrial and technological base (EDTIB).

The Joint Communication aims to ensure that the increase of defence investments decided by Member States in response to the war on Ukraine translates into coordinated and efficient expenditures. To this end, it proposes new instruments to step up joint procurement and help industry to meet increased needs, based on a consolidated and more predictable demand.

ASD welcomes the Communication as it recognises the strategic importance of the EDTIB and illustrates the Union’s capacity to respond rapidly to the deteriorating strategic environment.

We appreciate the Communication’s assessment of the investment gaps and their consequences on defence capabilities and industrial capacities. We also welcome the proposals for an enhanced defence cooperation framework to address these gaps.

We think the announced short-term instrument to reinforce defence industrial capabilities through joint procurement, including the EU incentive of EUR 500 million over two years (2022-24), would be a good first contribution to filling the most urgent and critical gaps. The proposed fast-track adoption of a Regulation establishing this instrument is key to rapidly help Member States replenish their stockpiles and equipment.

We also appreciate the Commission’s intention to foster joint procurement beyond the most urgent needs and to propose, to this end, a European Defence Investment Programme (EDIP) aimed to support European Defence Capability Consortia via VAT exemptions and flexible procurement rules.

Other measures, such as an initiative to facilitate access to Critical Raw Materials (CRM), or a possible EIB support for the short-term ramp-up of industry’s production and longer-term modernisation efforts would also contribute to strengthening the European defence industry capacity to support European armed forces.

We understand this Communication will be debated among the EU Heads of State and Government at the Special meeting of the European Council (30-31 May). The European Defence Industry stands ready with its technical and business expertise to contribute to the implementation of the actions announced in the Joint Communication.