The European Commission has staked a claim to play a larger role in European defense industrial policy.
European Defence Agency
So many countries, with so many aerospace companies! Visitors shouldn’t be fooled by the panoply of European companies displaying at the Paris Air Show next week. The harsh truth is that there’s not enough money to sustain them all, especially with respect to defense technology. The European Defence Agency (EDA) commissioned a study of the problem–and reached some alarming conclusions.
A plan for the industrial and technological base of future European military aerospace moved forward with the signing of a contract for a one-year study to be conducted by Sweden’s Saab group. Alexander Weis, chief executive of the European Defence Agency, and Mats Palmberg, vice president and head of business development and marketing for Saab Aeronautics, signed the agreement, valued at approximately $512,000, here at the Farnborough show.
A new measure to open up defense procurement by European countries to greater competition will become law within the next 18 months. The European Parliament approved the European Directive on Defence and Security Procurement on January 14. This should greatly increase the percentage of defense contract opportunities that EU governments offer to bidders from other European countries.
Will Europe ever get its defense procurement and research act together? The European Defence Agency (EDA), formed in Brussels last year to help create an open, competitive and transparent market, is a top-level initiative of the European Union, with a steering board comprised of 24 EU defense ministers. But, acknowledged EDA chief executive Nick Whitney: “There’s too much duplication.”