Opinion Factsheet  

Proposal for a European Defence Fund

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Opinion Number: CDR 4309/2017
Rapporteur: TURLAIS Dainis
Commission: ECON
Status: Adopted
Date: 23/03/2018
 
The Opinion will give the support of the European Committee of the Regions to the European Defence Fund, the first initiative of its kind aiming at reinforcing EU defence capability and enhancing its efficiency.

The Opinion will also make recommendations to make sure all territories and companies - large, medium, small size, as well as active in the military sector or not - can benefit from the European Defence Fund.

The need for the European Defence Fund to benefit only EU industry, with a restricted definition of EU beneficiaries, including sub-contractors, will be reaffirmed. The opinion will stress the importance of integrated European defence supply chain for the EU strategic autonomy and the development of its territories.

The Opinion will highlight the role of regions and clusters in mobilising their industry, in particular SMEs, to participate in the calls fo the European Defence Fund, as well as highlight the opportunity for territorial development that the fund represents.

The opinion process allowed to team up with the European Commission to promote the European Network of Defense Related Regions to local and regional stakeholders, notably through a lunchtime briefing organised on 21 November 2017 in Brussels, Belgium, and a local event organised on 7 March 2018, in Riga, Latvia.

The opinion also created an interinstitutional dialogue between the CoR and the European Commission on the need for regions and regional cluster to be seen as partners to encourage their industry and SMEs, from the military and civilian sectors, to participate in the calls for projects which will be launched by the European Commission.

Lastly, the opinion allowed the discussion on the necessity to preserve defence industry in border regions, especially on the European Eastern borders, while it was reaffirmed that evaluation of applications for financing should be based on excellence and the integration of SMEs within EU defence supply chains.
THE EUROPEAN COMMITTEE OF THE REGIONS



- supports the European Defence Fund (EDF), encompassing both the "European Defence Industrial Development Programme" and the "Preparatory Action for Defence Research";

- requests the Commission to focus on a territorial and/or place-based approach and in so doing keep SMEs, regional clusters and regions in all the Member States informed about the possibilities of benefiting from the programme and about further funding opportunities for defence plans, particularly with a view to supporting regional strategies for intelligent specialisation;

- calls for the objectives of the Programme to include the build-up of defence and security capacities in EU Member States with external borders;

- requests main contractors and sub-contractors to be EU-based and undertakings be at least half-owned by EU Member States or natural or legal persons, and be effectively controlled by European capital. The management and actual control of these companies must be locatable in the European Union;

- strongly urges that additional points be given when examining project applications from consortia to which a large number of SMEs belong;

- calls for the work programme to ensure that at least 20% of the overall budget will benefit actions enabling the cross-border participation of SMEs;

- considers that the programme budget should be drawn from unallocated margins under the multiannual financial framework ceilings;

- considers that the adoption of a European Defence Fund must not be used as a pretext for reducing or affecting in any way allocations for cohesion policy, which must remain the European Union's main public investment tool with a view to improving European integration through social, economic and territorial cohesion.

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Rapporteur Turlais organises a local event to present the European Defence Fund to Latvian stakeholders

The European Committee of the Regions and Riga city council co-organise a stakeholders' dialogue "The EU investing in our security" on Wednesday 7 March 2018 in Riga, Latvia. The event will present the action of the EU to improve the EU defence capacity and to support its defence industry. The European Commission, the Latvian Defence Minister, CoR rapporteur Dainis Turlais and the European Investment Bank will be present to discuss with industry, including SMEs and companies active in the civilian sector, of the financial opportunities they could benefit from.
The event will be webstreamed and starts at 9.30am.

 
07 Mar
 

Rapporteur Turlais partipates in debate-lunch on defence in the European Parliament

On 19 February, rapporteur Dainis Turlais participated in a lunch debate on "the European Defence Industrial Development Programme - strengthening Europe’s defence industrial and technological base" at the European Parliament. The event was organised by the Long-term investment and Reindustrialisation Intergroup and featured speakers such as MEP Dominique Riquet, Lowri Evans, Director General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs at the European Commission, Burkard Schmitt, Director for Security and Defence, AeroSpace and Defence Industries Association of Europe, and Gergana Karadjova, Minister Plenipotentiary, Representative of the Republic of Bulgaria to the Political and Security Committee.

 
19 Feb
 

Rapporteur participates in the European Defence Industry Summit

On 4th December, Rapporteur Dainis Turlais participated in the European Defence Industry Summit held in Brussels. European Commissioner Bienkowska, as well as Member states representatives from Sweden, Poland, Bulgaria and Lithuania, SMEs, the EIB, NATO and the European Defence Agency officials debated on opportunities created by the European Defence Fund, impact on the EU-NATO partnership, development of equipment and technologies and how to foster investments and strengthen the single market for defence.

 
04 Dec
 

Rapporteur meets with the European Defence Agency (EDA)

Rapporteur Dainis Turlais met with Mr Dirk Tielbuerger, Deputy Director and Head of Unit for the Preparatory Action for Defence Research. He also met with Mr Jean-Yuri Marty, Deputy Director and Head of the EDA Task Force on the European Defence Industrial Development Programme.

 
30 Nov
 

Rapporteur meets Head of Unit from DG RTD, European Commission

Rapporteur Dainis Turlais met with Hélène Chraye, Head of Unit on Advanced Materials and Nanotechnologies, Directorate-General for Research and Innovation, European Commission. He also met Achilleas Stalios, Research Programme Officer in the unit.

 
21 Nov
 

Lunchtime briefing: European Defence Fund – new opportunities for SMEs, clusters and regions

This lunchtime briefing was co-organised by the European Committee of the Regions and the European Commission.
It presented the European Defence Fund and tried to answer some key questions:
• What are the key elements of the European Defence Fund, in particular in the area of research and development?
•What other funding opportunities exist in the area of defence, for example in the context of the ESIF?
•Which instruments and tools are available to guide SMEs, clusters and regions to these new opportunities?

The discussions fed into the ongoing work on the CoR Opinion drafted by rapporteur Dainis Turlais.

 
21 Nov
 

CoR rapporteur meets with European Parliament shadow rapporteur Dominique Riquet

CoR rapporteur Dainis Turlais (LV/ALDE) met with European Parliament shadow rapporteur from the same political group Dominique Riquet (FR/ALDE). Before the submission deadline for amendments to the draft report of European Parliament (rapporteur Françoise Grossetête FR/EPP), Mr Turlais and Mr Riquet discussed the key role of clusters, SMEs participation in supply chains, and investment in defence for peace.

 
21 Nov
 

Rapporteur meets with the European Commission to discuss defence and the supporting role of regions

Rapporteur Dainis Turlais met Anne Fort, Policy Officer, Directorate-General of Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs (DG GROW), European Commission. Mrs Fort presented in details the Communication on the European Defence Fund and the Legislative Proposal for the European Defence Industrial Development Programme. She elaborated on key issues and rationale for these initiatives as well as provided an update on the state of play and negotiations with the Council.
The rapporteur also met with Mr Paul Anciaux, Policy Officer in the same unit on defence, aeronautic and maritime industries. They discussed the importance to integrate SMEs within the European defence supply chains, the role of regions, clusters and the CoR. They further discussed in detail the support of the European Commission to encourage regions and SMEs participation, notably through the European Network of Defence-related Regions.

 
27 Oct
 

Rapporteur meets European Investment Bank director

Rapporteur Dainis Turlais had a videoconference with Gunnar Muent, director of the innovation and competitiveness at the European Investment Bank, and met with Oliver Cusworth, in the EIB Brussels office.
Together they spoke about the work of the EIB to support investment in defence, more specifically on dual use and civilian applications of military technologies as well as support to SMEs and mid-cap companies.
The EIB explained that it does not finance military infrastructure projects.

 
27 Oct