European Union defence ministers have agreed a strategy for a European defence technological and industrial base (EDTIB) as they bid to end the national basis for military equipment development and procurement.

The new strategy states that there needs to be a convergence of requirements thinking by defence ministries, to align equipment needs and research and technology objectives along with a common goal of reducing dependence on non-European sources for key defence technologies.

It also describes a need to in­­crease industrial specialisation at all levels of the supply chain, with policy considerations aiding a largely market-driven process to realise centres of excellence across the continent. The EDTIB would also be closely integrated into Europe's non-defence technological base.

"We can no longer decide on the equipment we need on a purely national basis, and then pursue separate national R&D programmes and procurement," says EU common foreign and security policy high representative, secretary-general of the Council of the European Union and head of the European Defence Agency Javier Solana.

The EU meeting also saw 19 member countries and Norway sign a formal agreement for a three-year joint force protection R&T programme worth €55 million ($74.3 million).

The initiative has five capability areas: platform survivability individual protection data fusion from various sources secured urban environment tactical wireless communication systems and mission planning and training in an asymmetric environment.

EU states Bulgaria, Denmark, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta and Romania are not involved in the initiative.

Source: Flight International