On Monday 16 December the Member of the European Parliament and the German presidency of the EU council agreed on a new defence research and development programme, in order to reduce the EU’s reliance on US military technology. Sciencebusiness reported that as of next year the fund will place the EU among the top three defence research and technology investors in Europa.
Building on the previous work by the Preparatory Action on Defence Research programme launched in 2017 with a budget of €90 million for two years, and the European Defence Industrial Programme with a budget of €500 million for 2019 and 2020, the programme is the first to be financed by the European Defence Fund. The defence fund is part of a broader strategy by the EU to increase its strategic autonomy and become less dependent on the US.
The R&D programme is another step in the Merkel & Macron led efforts to advance EU military efforts to complement NATO. The expectations are that, although his approach is probably less hostile, president elect Joe Biden will continue to demand more engagement from the EU member states to increase their defence budget to 2%, just like his predecessor Donald Trump.
According to Thierry Breton, EU commissioner for the internal market, the goal is of the R&D fund is to enhance cooperation and joint investments, to “deliver state of the art and interoperable defence technologies and equipment in line with member states capability needs,” said Thierry Breton, EU commissioner for the internal market.