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28 mars 2014 5 28 /03 /mars /2014 13:50
European Defence Matters: Free Debate on Role of EDA

 

Brussels - 28 March, 2014 European Defence Agency

 

Can the EDA make a difference and if so, how to convince European leaders to use it to the full? - was the subject of the third round-table discussion. Graham Muir, Head of Strategy and Policy at the EDA, reflected on some of the successes in the Agency’s ten year history, such as AAR, helicopter crew training and maritime surveillance, reminding the audience also of the achievements made in support for industry – particularly SMEs – and security of supply.  “But there is scope to do so much more,” he said, introducing the first panel of the afternoon.

 

General Vincenzo Camporini, former Chief of Defence in Italy and now Vice President of the Istituto Affari Internazionali, addressed the question as to how better to use EDA from the perspective of a marketplace that is crowded with initiatives and said that the EDA has the luxury, perhaps, of choosing the role it can play. He underlined the need to involve EDA from the outset of preparing future projects.

 

Professor Sven Biscop from the Belgian Royal Institute for International Relations drew the analogy of European defence as an apartment building, in which the Member States could each afford their own apartment, but the question then became – who should be the architect? Proposing EDA’s role be considered as the architect in this case, he went on to say that “after completion and when we all move in – then the EDA becomes the building manager.”

 

Professor Anand Menon from King’s College Department of War Studies in the UK felt that the answer to the question how to generate additional success “is to engage the Member States, not Europe. We have not yet arrived at a Single European Market moment in defence.” Before we get to that point, he felt, we would have to achieve three things. Member States first needed to see defence as an element of socio-economic policy rather than the preservation of wider interests. Secondly, national defence is not enough and that no nation can ‘go on its own.’ Finally there is a need to persuade everybody involved that the EU is the best available institution for [the management of] collective defence. With the EDA to play a central role.

 

Graham Muir concluded that EDA was not a procurement agency but had the flexibility to bring together Member States with similar requirements in an à la carte approach. He recalled that there was provision in the Treaties for the European Commission to participate in and financially contribute to EDA activities. 

 

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