The EU Launches €13 billion European Defense Fund

The European Commission wants to increase the EU's strategic autonomy, bolster its ability to protect its citizens and make it a stronger global actor

Federica Mogherini (Photo: AP)

In an effort to strengthen the European Union's role as a security and defense provider, the European Commission announced the launch of a €13 billion European Defense Fund, which will provide the financial firepower for cross-border investments in advanced and interoperable technology and equipment in areas such as encrypted software and drone technology.

Wednesday’s statement also reads that the High Representative, with the support of the Commission, proposed a new €10.5 billion European Peace Facility, an instrument outside of the EU's long-term budget, which will help improve the EU's ability to prevent conflicts, build peace and guarantee international security.

“The European Union has over the past couple of years taken steps in security and defense that seemed unthinkable before,” said Federica Mogherini, High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice-President of the Commission. “We can now support research and cooperation to develop defense capabilities. We are taking measures that will facilitate the rapid movement of Member States' forces in Europe. Furthermore, with the Commission's support, I am proposing the establishment of a European Peace Facility that will improve the financing of EU military operations and improve our support for actions by our partners.”

The new €13 billion European Defense Fund will provide €4.1 billion to directly finance competitive and collaborative research projects, in particular through grants. Beyond the research phase, €8.9 billion will be available to complement Member States' investment by co-financing the costs for prototype development and the ensuing certification and testing requirements. The Fund will place the EU among the top 4 defense research and technology investors in Europe, and act as a catalyst for an innovative and competitive industrial and scientific base.

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