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9 novembre 2015 1 09 /11 /novembre /2015 12:50
VAT Exemption: New Incentive for Defence Cooperation

 

Brussels - 04 November, 2015 European Defence Agency

 

Member States can as of now profit from VAT exemption for projects run by the European Defence Agency (EDA). The recently adopted revised Council Decision defining the statute, seat and operational rules of the EDA includes the clause that cooperative defence projects and programmes are exempt from VAT as long as the Agency adds value to the initiative. 

 

The VAT exemption is a strong incentive to European defence cooperation: it generates an attractive business case for cooperative projects and programmes in the framework of the EDA. We will soon propose roadmaps for potential future cooperative programmes for which Member States will be able to benefit from the VAT exemption and thus achieve considerable savings”, comments Jorge Domecq, Chief Executive of the European Defence Agency.

With the entering into force of the revised Council Decision on 13 October, the new provision can be applied immediately for any new EDA initiative meeting the Decision’s conditions. VAT exemption is not linked to the nature of the activity. It can thus be applied to any project and programme where the Agency adds value ranging from technical expertise, pooling demand, building a multinational capability or synergies with EU wider policies, promoting interoperability to full administrative and contractual management of a cooperative initiative. Member States are and remain the end-users of the capability. 

 

Concrete savings

While the VAT exemption should not be the driver for defence cooperation, tight defence budgets limit investment in research, innovation and capabilities. Any breathing space is appreciated. By incentivising defence cooperation financially, we will be able to do more and better together”, says Jorge Domecq.

One of the projects the VAT exemption will be immediately applied to is the EU SatCom Market, an EDA project where the Agency provides for satellite communication services for currently eleven Member States and the Athena mechanism. The EDA is responsible for procurement and contract tasks, manages orders as well as payments and provides technical advice as needed and thus adds clear technical and administrative value to the project. As a consequence, each order – which comes from Member States individually or by groups – benefits from VAT exemption. 

One Member State has for example recently submitted an order of about 1.3 million Euros for one year of services. Due to the VAT exemption, this Member State will not have to pay VAT for a corresponding value of 273 thousand Euros which represents about three months of free services.

 

Legal basis

The Council Decision defining the statute, seat and operational rules of the EDA (Council Decision (CFSP) 2015/1835) was adopted by the Foreign Affairs Council on 12 October 2015. It foresees that VAT exemption applies to activities where the role of the Agency in administering projects or programmes in support of Member States brings an added value. 

The legal basis for VAT exemption are Protocol No 7 of the EU Treaties on the privileges and immunities of the European Union and Council Directive 2006/112/EC of 28 November 2006 on the common system of value added tax.

The VAT exemption is compliant with EU law; and is not market distorting.

 

Background

The European Defence Agency was set-up in 2004 to support the Council and the Member States in their effort to improve the European Union’s defence capabilities for the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP). This means running and supporting cooperative European defence projects; supporting research and technology development; boosting the European defence technological and industrial base; and working on wider EU policies.

 

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16 octobre 2015 5 16 /10 /octobre /2015 11:50
New Council decision adopted  on the statute, seat and operational rules of the European Defence Agency.
 

Brussels - 16 October, 2015 Euroepan Defence Agency

 

The Foreign Affairs Council in Luxembourg has adopted the revised decision on the statute, seat and operational rules of the European Defence Agency.

 

The text is available here in all EU languages.

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30 avril 2015 4 30 /04 /avril /2015 16:50
The European Union's External Action CFSP basics

 

27 April 2015 EUISS

 

Produced for the occasion of the EUISS conference with HR/VP Mogherini in April 2015, the leaflet goes back to basics on the EU’s external action.

Infographics and illustrations, as well as a glossary of terms and relevant actors, present facts and figures about the European Union’s Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP), as well as its broader external action activities – in an easily accessible manner.

 

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9 mars 2015 1 09 /03 /mars /2015 12:50
Commission Chief Juncker Calls for EU Army

 

March 8, 2015 Defense News (AFP)

 

BERLIN — European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker on Sunday called for the creation of an EU army in the wake of rising tensions with Russia.

 

Juncker said the force could help counter new threats beyond the bloc's borders and defend European "values," in an interview with Germany's Welt am Sonntag newspaper.

 

"You would not create a European army to use it immediately," he was quoted as saying.

 

"But a common army among the Europeans would convey to Russia that we are serious about defending the values of the European Union."

 

He said a joint EU force would also lead to more efficient spending on military equipment and drive further integration of the bloc's 28 member states.

 

"Such an army would help us design a common foreign and security policy," the former Luxembourg prime minister said, but added that the force should not challenge NATO's defense role.

 

"Europe's image has suffered dramatically and also in terms of foreign policy, we don't seem to be taken entirely seriously."

 

The proposal was likely to rile opponents of deeper EU integration such as Britain but has won some support from Germany.

 

Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen said last month that she was confident that "perhaps not my children but my grandchildren will have a United States of Europe" with its own military, news agency DPA reported.

 

Welt am Sonntag quoted the head of the German parliament's foreign policy committee, Norbert Roettgen, as saying that an EU army "is a European vision whose time has come".

 

The newspaper said that former NATO Secretary General Javier Solana would present a report on Monday in Brussels entitled "More Union in European Defence" calling for a new European security strategy including military capability to intervene beyond EU borders.

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9 mars 2015 1 09 /03 /mars /2015 11:50
photo European Parliament

photo European Parliament

 

Défense "L'image de l'Europe a souffert de façon dramatique. En termes de politique étrangère, il semble que nous ne soyons pas vraiment pris au sérieux", regrette Jean-Claude Juncker.

 

08/03/2015 latribune.fr (AFP)

 

Pour le président de la Commission européenne, cela permettrait de renforcer la légitimité de l'UE notamment vis-à-vis de la Russie au sujet de l'Ukraine.

 

L'Europe doit se donner les moyens d'être prise au sérieux. C'est dans cette perspective que le président de la Commission européenne, Jean-Claude Juncker, a appelé dimanche à la création d'une armée de l'UE, au vu notamment des relations de plus en plus tendues avec la Russie sur le sujet de l'Ukraine.

Une telle force permettrait non seulement de faire face aux nouvelles menaces aux frontières de l'Union européenne, mais aussi de défendre les "valeurs" de l'UE, a-t-il déclaré dans une interview publiée dimanche par le journal allemand Welt am Sonntag.

"On ne créerait pas une armée européenne pour l'utiliser immédiatement. Mais une armée commune à tous les Européens ferait comprendre à la Russie que nous sommes sérieux quand il s'agit de défendre les valeurs de l'Union européenne", a-t-il expliqué.

 

Crise de légitimité

"L'image de l'Europe a souffert de façon dramatique. En termes de politique étrangère, il semble que nous ne soyons pas vraiment pris au sérieux", regrette le président de la Commission.

"Une telle armée nous aiderait à mettre au point une politique étrangère et de sécurité commune", estime-t-il, tout en soulignant qu'il ne s'agirait de remettre en cause le rôle de l'Otan. Une force commune aux 28 pays de l'UE permettrait aussi selon lui de rationaliser les dépenses militaires et de favoriser l'intégration militaire de ces pays.

 

La ministre allemande de la Défense favorable à l'idée

La proposition a déjà trouvé un certain soutien en Allemagne. La ministre allemande de la Défense, Ursula von der Leyen,  a réagi en affirmant dans un communiqué:

"Notre avenir, en tant qu'Européens, passera un jour par une armée européenne".

Elle a néanmoins précisé que ce ne serait "pas à court terme".

Le mois dernier déjà, la ministre avait déclaré qu'elle était sûre que "peut-être pas (ses) enfants, mais en tout cas (ses) petits-enfants connaîtr(aient) des Etats-Unis d'Europe", avec leur propre armée, selon l'agence allemande DPA.

 

La Grande-Bretagne opposée à une plus grande intégration européenne

Le Welt am Sonntag citait également dimanche le chef de la commission parlementaire allemande de politique étrangère, Norbert Roettgen, pour qui l'idée d'une armée de l'UE serait "une vision européenne dont le temps est venu". Toujours selon le journal, l'ancien secrétaire général de l'Otan Javier Solana devait présenter lundi à Bruxelles un rapport sur une nouvelle stratégie de défense européenne appelant à une plus grande capacité militaire à intervenir au-delà des frontières de l'UE.

L'idée risque en revanche de ne pas être du goût de ceux qui sont opposés à une plus grande intégration européenne, à commencer par la Grande-Bretagne.

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9 mars 2015 1 09 /03 /mars /2015 11:50
Create an EU army to keep back the Russians, Jean-Claude Juncker suggests

 

08 Mar 2015 By Ben Riley-Smith, Political Correspondent - The Telegraph

 

European Commission president says pooling Europe's defence resources could help send a message to Vladimir Putin

 

A European Union army should be created to help defend the continent from Russian aggression, the European Commission president has suggested. Jean-Claude Juncker said pooling the defence resources of the 28 EU nations could help send a message to Vladimir Putin that its borders would be protected. However the move was panned by the UK Independence Party who warned the move would be a "tragedy for the UK". The comments came during an interview Mr Juncker gave with Welt am Sonntag, a German news magazine. "Such an army would help us to build a common foreign and national security policy, and to collectively take on Europe's responsibilities in the world,” Mr Junker said.

 

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10 février 2015 2 10 /02 /février /2015 08:50
Factsheet on EU Intelligence Analyses Center (INTCEN)


5/2/2015 Ref: EU15-064EN
 

Summary: 5 February 2015, Brussels - The EU Intelligence Analysis Centre (EU INTCEN) is the exclusive civilian intelligence function of the European Union, providing indepth analysis for EU decision makers. Its analytical products are based on intelligence from the EU Member States' intelligence and security services.

 

EU INTCEN's mission is to provide intelligence analyses, early warning and situational awareness to the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Ms Federica Mogherini and to the European External Action Service (EEAS).

The Centre does this by monitoring and assessing international events, focusing particularly on sensitive geographical areas, terrorism and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and other global threats. EU INTCEN also offers its services to the various EU decision making bodies in the fields of the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP), the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) and counterterrorism (CT), as well as to the Member States. EU INTCEN is not an operational agency and does not have any collection capability. The operational level of intelligence is the member states’ responsibility. EU INTCEN only deals with strategic analysis.

 

History

The creation of the EU INTCEN - or the EU Situation Centre (EU SITCEN) as it was called until 2012 - is intimately linked to the establishment of the European Security and Defence Policy (ESDP) and the creation of the post of High Representative in 1999. The development of the ESDP crisis management capabilities, and deployment of both civilian and military missions, made it clear that a broader intelligence analysis structure was needed. The events of 11 September 2001 and the increasing threats of global terrorism also emphasised the need of timely and accurate intelligence analysis to support EU policy making.

In 2002, EU SITCEN was established in the Council General Secretariat, directly attached to the office of the High Representative, Dr Javier Solana. The same year, staff from Member States' intelligence services were seconded to EU SITCEN. In 2005, EU SITCEN was reinforced by the arrival of a team of counter-terrorist experts seconded from Member States’ security services. This enabled EU SITCEN to provide the Council with strategic terrorism threat assessments based on intelligence from national services.

In 2007, the EU SITCEN reinforced its collaboration with the EU Military Staff (EUMS) Intelligence Directorate by concluding a functional arrangement, the so-called Single Intelligence Analysis Capacity (SIAC). All intelligence assessments issued to Member States are joint products prepared under SIAC. With the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty on 1 December 2009, EU SITCEN came under the authority of the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice-President of the Commission. On 1 January 2011, the EU SITCEN was transferred to the European External Action Service (EEAS). Following organisational changes in the EEAS in March 2012, the EU SITCEN was renamed into EU Intelligence Analysis Centre (EU INTCEN).

 

Main functions and tasks

  •  Provide exclusive information that is not available overtly or provided elsewhere to the High Representative/Vice President and the PSC, based on contributions from Member States' intelligence and security services;
  •  Provide assessments and briefings and a range of products based on intelligence and open sources to the High Representative/Vice President and to the EEAS, to the various EU decision making bodies in the fields of CSFP/CSDP and CT, as well as to the Member States;
  •  Act as a single entry point in the EU for classified information coming from Member States' civilian intelligence and security services;
  •  Support and assist the President of the European Council and the President of the European Commission in the exercise of their respective functions in the area of external relations.

 

Sources, products and services

EU INTCEN's analytical products are based on information provided by Member States’ security and intelligence services, open sources (media, websites, blogs etc.), diplomatic reporting, consular warden networks, international organisations, NGOs, CSDP missions and operations, EU Satellite Centre, visits and field trips.

EU INTCEN offers its customers the following products:

  • Intelligence assessments: Long-term strategic papers, mainly based on intelligence.
  • Intelligence reports: Follow-up of a crisis or an event, or a thematic paper focusing on a specific topic of current interest.
  • Intelligence summaries: Focusing on current important events with a short intelligence based analysis.
  • Threat assessments: Focusing on risks for EU personnel in a given country.

In addition to these products, EU INTCEN gives ad-hoc briefings, e.g. to the HR/VP, EU Special Representatives, various Council bodies and the European Parliament.

 

Structure

The EU INTCEN is a Directorate of the EEAS, reporting directly to the High Representative. It is composed of two Divisions: The Analysis Division and the General and External Relations Division.

 

Staff

The majority of EU INTCEN staff are EU officials and temporary agents. Furthermore a number of national experts from the security and intelligence services of the EU Member States are seconded to EU INTCEN.

 

Budget

The EU INTCEN does not have its own budget. All expenditure is paid from the EEAS budget. The needs for staff and budget are assessed in the same way and through the same procedures as for other EEAS departments. The EEAS budget is broken down and managed for the headquarters as a whole by nature of expenditure (e.g. staff, buildings, information and communication technologies) and not by department.

 

Legal basis

The EU INTCEN (EU Intelligence Analysis Centre) is the successor of the EU Situation Centre (EU SITCEN), which is mentioned in Article 4, paragraph 3, sub (a), third indent of the Council Decision (2010/427/EU) of 26 July 2010 on establishing the organisation and functioning of the European External Action Service. The reference to the EU SITCEN in the Council Decision serves as legal basis for EU INTCEN, which took over the intelligence and analytical tasks of EU SITCEN.

 

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