Manufacturer urges governments to commit to defence projects to ease launch process

EADS is urging European governments to include a legally binding commitment to new defence programmes within the framework for the new European Defence Agency (EDA), which is now being finalised. This, it hopes, will avoid a repeat of the difficulties experienced in completing the launch process for Airbus Military's A400M transport.

The European manufacturer is lobbying an 11-nation agency establishment team to retain the "firm commitment principle" in the final proposal, which will be formally presented to defence ministers in May.

EADS's European affairs manager Julien Feugier says the company wants the agency to sit within the Council of Ministers, making any programme management element legally binding. "Building on OCCAR [the Franco-Anglo-German-Italian armaments management agency], we want a firm political commitment to avoid countries backing out once committed to a programme," he says.

The EDA is to be an optional European Union institution, with decisions taken by national defence ministries. The agency is expected to identify future European defence capability requirements, promote multinational armament projects and harmonise European armaments policy, in addition to managing pan-European projects.

Javier Solana, the EU's high representative for common foreign and security policy, met defence ministers this month to urge them to work with the agency establishment team to meet the late May deadline to publish headline responsibilities. A detailed, formal proposal is expected a month later and the creation of the agency could take place by July, Solana's office says.

EADS is working with the European Defence Industries Group to ensure research and development funding is co-ordinated. A European Commission study estimates that creating a single defence market could save European governments around €5 billion ($6 billion) a year in procurement costs.


Source: Flight International