On 22 May, the Bulgarian presidency reached a provisional agreement with representatives of the European Parliament on a regulation establishing the European Defence Industrial Development Programme (EDIDP). The agreement will be presented to EU ambassadors for their endorsement on 29 May, after which it will be submitted to the European Parliament for a vote and then to the Council for final adoption. It is expected that the programme will finance the first capability projects in 2019.
“This agreement will allow the European Union to fund for the first time a programme on defence capabilities. This new step in our security and defence cooperation reflects the importance in today’s world of doing more as Europeans for our own security.”
Krasimir Karakachanov, Deputy Prime Minister for Public Order and Security, Minister for Defence of Bulgaria, which currently holds the Presidency of the Council.
The purpose of the regulation, which is an integral part of the European Defence Fund, is to establish a programme which aims to support the competitiveness and innovation capacity of the Union’s defence industry with a budget of € 500 million for 2019-2020. In addition, the programme will act as an enabler for cooperation, incentivising potential collaborative development programmes. Actions in the context of Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO) will be eligible for increased funding.
The Presidency of the Council and the European Parliament reached an agreement on the regulation as proposed by the European Commission, agreeing on its core objectives of making the Union’s defence industry more competitive and innovative. There was agreement on a number of amendments to improve the proposed regulation. These relate to the regional and international priorities that should inform the programme, its sources of financing, the eligible entities and eligible actions, and the implementation of the work programme. The agreement also provides for stronger ways to incentivise cross-border participation of small and medium-sized enterprises(SMEs) as well as middle-capitalisation companies (mid-caps) ), including through bonuses, in the proposed programme.