Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Refocusing defence: European perspective on defence cooperation in a time of financial challenge

EU Member States have acknowledged that in today’s climate of austerity, enhanced defence cooperation, particularly through the pooling & sharing of assets and capabilities, is more than ever necessary to retain effective military capabilities. Such an approach will allow our military to increase interoperability and standardization, generate savings, and share the costs of developing and procuring high-technology defence equipment.

While there will be challenges, there is no viable alternative. It will require a fundamental change in how Europeans address defence cooperation if we are to yield anything other than marginal improvements and ad hoc results.

In this context, the European Defence Agency will hold a high level conference on 31 January 2012, to generate new thinking and the political momentum necessary for refocusing defence cooperation.

The conference is expected to mark a major advance in European thinking on such issues as models for enhanced defence collaboration, the strategic priorities for the defence technological and industrial base, as well as measures to increase the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of the defence marketplace. It will be used as a sounding board for concrete proposals for more effective use of defence resources, which will be presented to the Defence Ministers when they next meet in the Agency’s Steering Board, in spring 2012.

An audience of around 250 senior decision makers from Ministries of Defence, Ministries of Foreign Affairs, the EU Member States’ Armed Forces, NATO and defence industry is expected.