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Cooperation on Defence Systems Procurement in Europe

Cooperation on Defence Systems Procurement in Europe

Recommendation 752 on cooperation on defence systems procurement in Europe - reply to the annual report of the Council. Report (Document A/1885) submitted on behalf of the Technological and Aerospace Committee by Mr O'Hara, Rapporteur (United Kingdom, Socialist Group). Source: WEU, Paris, November 30, 2004.

      The Assembly,

  1. Noting that the acquis of the Western European Armaments Group (WEAG) and the Western European Armaments Organisation (WEAO) are soon to be transferred to the European Defence Agency (EDA), which will enable the Agency to start work more quickly and efficiently;

  2. Taking the view that the EDA should also incorporate OCCAR (Joint Armament Cooperation Organisation) and the principles set out in the Letter of Intent/Framework Agreement on restructuring the European armaments industry;

  3. Stressing that the European Commission has recently launched an albeit modest but nonetheless significant security research programme;

  4. Noting that another aspect of action taken by the Commission in this area is the organisation of a European Defence Equipment Market (EDEM) that will be based on rules governing intra-European competition and cooperation, which may also extend to transatlantic competition and cooperation;

  5. Recalling that the purpose of the Headline Goal 2010 is to identify areas in which more work is needed such as strategic lift, intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition and reconnaissance capabilities (ISTAR) and command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (C4ISR) capabilities;

  6. Considering that a distribution of R&T and R&D projects among the 25 EU member states would add to the fragmentation and dispersal of defence companies, whereas what is required is more of an emphasis on mergers and groupings;

  7. Deeming that such mergers and groupings are crucial for producing "heavyweight" European consortia able to compete effectively within the EU and tackle the problem of competition and cooperation with American companies;

  8. Observing that transatlantic relations in the field of armaments suffer from a considerable imbalance, with the United States having extensive access to the European market whereas European companies run up against what are essentially political hurdles;

  9. Considering, furthermore, that the EDA has a remit to create and develop the conditions necessary for setting up a European Defence Industrial and Technological Base (EDITB) and a competitive European Defence Equipment Market (EDEM);

  10. Stressing that in contrast to the European aerospace sector, which has a considerable lead in terms of consolidation based on key cooperative programmes, the land defence sector is suffering from a split in its industrial fabric and a lack of major European programmes, and also that there is an acute need for consolidation in the naval defence sector;

  11. Taking the view also that as far as defence equipment procurement is concerned, the EDA should be able to manage national and cooperative equipment programmes and off-the-shelf procurement;

  12. Deeming that the incorporation of OCCAR in the EDA would ensure that the latter is able to carry out its role as an agency for acquisitions and the management of procurement programmes;

  13. Strongly regretting that in its reply to Recommendation 747 the Council did not take a position on any of the Assembly's proposals and did not act upon the request to allow the President of the Assembly to address the WEAG ministerial meeting,

      RECOMMENDS that the Council

  1. Update, in the second part of its 50th annual report, the information it was unable to provide in its reply to Recommendation 747;

  2. Urge the member states to take account of the following points with a view to the European Defence Agency becoming operational:

    • the EDA should have the financial and human resources corresponding to its needs by drawing on the expertise of organisations such as WEAG and WEAO, which will be incorporated in the Agency;

    • the interests of Denmark, Norway and Turkey should be fully taken into account;

    • Article 296 of the Treaty establishing the European Community should be amended so as to promote the emergence of a competitive and open European armaments market;

    • there should be a productive dialogue between Europe and the United States with a view to establishing and maintaining a proper balance in transatlantic relations;

    • the EDA should become a driving force in the transformation of the EDITB and to that end the member states should make every effort to ensure that the Agency is able to fulfil its role;

    • the drive to transform the EDITB, which has produced positive results in the aerospace sector, should be continued in the land defence and naval defence sectors;

    • the principle of non-duplication should be applied and care taken to ensure that countries do not develop, either jointly or severally, European capability solutions already put forward by other European partners;

    • guaranteeing access to optimum capability and technology solutions is the corollary of that principle, bearing in mind that in order to avoid duplication states must have unrestricted access to such solutions;

    • national markets need to be opened up to European solutions;

    • the setting-up of cooperative programmes for remedying European armed forces' capability shortfalls is to be encouraged.

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Directeur de la publication : Joël-François Dumont
Comité de rédaction : Jacques de Lestapis, Hugues Dumont, François de Vries (Bruxelles), Hans-Ulrich Helfer (Suisse), Michael Hellerforth (Allemagne).
Comité militaire : VAE Guy Labouérie (†), GAA François Mermet (2S), CF Patrice Théry (Asie).