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What are the key actions presented by the European Commission in its Defence Package?

On 15 February, the European Commission presented its Defence Package.

The European Commission’s action in this field stems from the observation that the EU needs to boost innovation and address strategic dependencies in its security and defence sectors. The new initiatives presented therefore aim at moving towards a more integrated and competitive European defence market. This will, however, require a more efficient use of resources, mastering of costs and enhancing operational effectiveness.

The Communication outlined several measures in a number of critical areas to reach the above-mentioned objectives, including:

  • Stepping up investments for defence research and capabilities developed in EU cooperative frameworks;

  • Incentivising the joint procurement of defence capabilities developed in a collaborative way within the EU;

  • Strengthening the security and defence dimension of space at EU level;

  • Stepping up cybersecurity and countering cyber and any other hybrid threats, enhancing military mobility and addressing climate change challenges for defence.

Closely linked to the latter, a roadmap on critical technologies for security and defence complements the Communication. It sets out concrete key actions, mainly:

1) The Mapping of critical technologies and strategic dependencies for security and defence.

This will imply identifying, monitoring and assessing critical technologies for the space, defence and related civil sectors, their potential application and related value and supply chains. The Observatory of critical technologies, currently being set up by the European Commission, will contribute to this mapping.

2) The setting-up of a toolbox of different instruments

The EU has several policy tools beyond its RTD&I programmes that can contribute to reducing its strategic dependencies in critical technologies and value chains in the security and defence sectors. Industrial alliances, Important Projects of Common European Interest (IPCEI), EU funding programmes, setting standards in the defence requirements, Foreign Direct Investment screening will be among policy instruments to achieve the objectives stated in the Defence Package. Further action will also be carried out on smart and circular use of materials.

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