UK support for European Defence Agency finely balanced, Hammond warns

London
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This story is sourced from Flight International
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The UK is to extend its membership of the European Defence Agency (EDA) until at least late 2013, but says a decision on its longer-term involvement remains in the balance.

Continued membership in the currently 26-nation EDA organisation was considered and approved as part of the UK coalition government's Strategic Defence and Security Review of September 2010, subject to further review.

"In consultation across government, my department has reassessed the benefits of remaining in the EDA and reviewed progress made by the agency since 2010 against identified shortfalls," says defence secretary Philip Hammond.

"The EDA has made progress in some areas requiring reform, but there is more to be done to improve its operational effectiveness, and so the case for continued membership remains finely balanced," Hammond said on 13 February. "Overall, I have concluded that for now the UK should remain a member of the EDA, with our continuing membership to be reviewed again in late 2013 in light of progress made during the year."

Current initiatives being pursued by the EDA include seeking the better coordination and pooling of its member states' air-to-air refuelling assets, maritime patrol aircraft and helicopter fleets, and also in developing a set of harmonised certification guidelines for military aircraft.