The European Union has announced its 27 nations will set up the first ever fund to support the bloc’s defense research and development programs and enhance efficiency and innovation in the military sphere.
The 7.95 billion euro ($9.67 billion) European Defence Fund (EDF) is being established for the 2021-2027 period, and around a third of the money will be used on research projects. The rest of the funds will be allocated to develop defense technologies, according to a statement by the European Council.
The German presidency of the council said on Monday it had reached a provisional political agreement with the European Parliament’s representatives on a regulation establishing the EDF in the context of the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) for 2021-2027.
“I am pleased to announce that we agreed on a solid, forward-looking instrument that will step up the research and development of joint capabilities in the area of security and defense,” said Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, German defense minister and president of the council. “The new European Defence Fund will enhance the EU’s ability to protect its citizens and make the EU a stronger global actor.”
The fund will give the EU better financial and legislative instruments to promote “the competitiveness, efficiency and innovation capacity of its defense, technological and industrial base.”
Initially, around 13 billion euros were earmarked for the fund, but the EU had to change its entire budget to help fund the recovery of member states’ economies due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The EDF will support cross-border cooperation at each stage of the industrial cycle relating to defense products and technologies and set out “a clear framework for the participation of third states and entities.” The agreement must be approved by EU member states and the European Parliament.