Flight International online news 15:00GMT: European Union defence ministers have agreed that spending on defence-related research and technology needs to increase and be made more effective through greater international collaboration.

At a meeting of the steering board of the European Defence Agency at RAF Lyneham in the UK yesterday, the ministers reviewed the agency’s plans for 2006. The ministers agreed that the agency should move into launching ad-hoc projects as soon as possible.

The ministers also witnessed a demonstration of UK air-to-air refuelling capabilities and 10 countries issued a statement announcing that they have agreed to create an ad hoc group, supported by the EDA, to consider possible new approaches to solving the EU’s refuelling shortfall.

“I very much welcome this step. It is a good example of the way forward,” says Javier Solana, head of the EDA. “We need more projects like this to address the military shortfalls which are still there in many areas, six years after the start of the European Security and Defence Policy.
"We need commitments to allocate resources. We need multinational initiatives in smaller or larger groups,” he adds.

Source: Flight International