15 November 2021 -
Since its publication in February 2021, the European Commission has started to engage with stakeholders on the implementation of the Action Plan on Synergies. ASD has actively participated in this dialogue and appreciates the opportunity to contribute to a successful launch of the 11 actions.
Initial discussions have confirmed that the implementation of the Action Plan will require a great deal of perseverance. This is not surprising since the proposed actions are numerous, diverse and ambitious. They challenge well-established routines, traditional processes and boundaries, try to overcome long-standing obstacles and explore new ground. Therefore, even if some of the 11 actions come along with relatively short deadlines, we expect the implementation of the Action Plan to be a long-term effort that will bear its fruits only in the following years.
ASD fully supports the objectives of the Action Plan and calls for a rapid and forceful implementation. To ensure that the 11 actions lead to tangible results, we believe the Action Plan should be implemented through a set of stage gates, that get tested to demonstrate incremental improvements. Each action would then be divided into several phases, with a formal review or assessment at the end of each phase to decide whether to proceed to the next stage. Depending on the outcome of the review and the level of confidence to achieve the objective of the action, the Commission would decide to proceed, stop, or go back and modify the plan. We believe this approach would help reduce risks and costs and thereby ensure the effectiveness of the plan.
From a strategic point of view, the following two aspects seem particularly important to us:
1) The Action Plan should not limit itself to identifying existing opportunities for synergies. It should also point the way to moving from an ad hoc approach to a more systematic one that creates synergies by design. To achieve this, ASD encourages the Commission to introduce new forms of integrated planning across relevant programmes and to mainstream synergies into all EU funding instruments.
2) The approach of linking capabilities, technologies and value chains can achieve greater coherence and a more strategic use of EU funding. Implementing this approach will take time and calls for staying power, but it should clearly become the leitmotiv of the Union’s industrial strategy for defence and security.
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