Several key priorities are currently standing out of the European Defence Agency’s comprehensive and wide-ranging work agenda (see also ‘Our activities’):
- Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO). PESCO was established in December 2017 by 25 EU Member States whose declared ambition is to make it the “most important instrument to foster common security and defence” and a tool intended to provide Europe with “a coherent full spectrum force package, in complementarity with NATO”. In March 2018, a first list of 17 PESCO projects were approved. On 19 November 2018, a second list of 17 additional projects was approved by the Council. Together with EEAS (including EUMS), the EDA acts as the PESCO Secretariat.
- Coordinated Annual Review on Defence (CARD). Launched by Member States in May 2017, its objective is to foster a gradual synchronisation and mutual adaptation of national defence planning cycles and capability development practices. A trial run was conducted from 2017-2018 to allow Member States to test and adapt the CARD methodology; it was concluded by a report presented by EDA to Member States. On 20 November 2018, Ministers agreed to establish CARD as a standing activity with the first full cycle to be launched in autumn 2019. Together with the EUMS, the EDA acts as the CARD Secretariat.
- Capability Development Plan (CDP). The CDP provides a full capability picture that supports decision-making at EU and national levels regarding defence capability development. It looks at future security threats, identifies capability needs and defines EU Capability Development Priorities commonly agreed by Member States. Periodic CDP revisions are produced by the EDA in close cooperation with Member States and with the active contributions of the EUMC and the EUMS. The last CDP revision was completed in June 2018 with the approval, by Member States, of 11 new EU Capability Development Priorities.
- Ensuring coherence among EU defence tools. With the EU Global Strategy published in 2016, the EU raised its level of ambition - aiming at a more coherent European defence landscape with a more capable, deployable, interoperable and sustainable set of military capabilities and forces. To that end, Member States set up several new EU defence cooperation tools: the Coordinated Annual Review on Defence (CARD), the Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO), the European Defence Fund (EDF), and a revised Capability Development Plan (CDP). The European Defence Agency (EDA) plays a central role in all four tools, and ensures coherence among them and with NATO.
- Preparatory Action on Defence Research (PADR). Launched by the Commission in June 2017 for a 3-year period, the PADR is set to demonstrate the added-value of EU supported defence research and prepare a future European Defence Research Programme (EDRP) as part of the EU’s next Multiannual Financial Framework 2021-2027. It is run by the EDA through a Delegation Agreement signed in May 2017 by which the Commission entrusts the Agency with the management and implementation of the research projects.
- Key Capability Programmes. Among the many capability projects run by the EDA, a particular focus is being placed on the four key defence capability programmes identified by EU Heads of State and Government back in 2013: - Air-to-Air Refuelling (AAR); - Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS); - Governmental Satellite Communications (GovSatcom); - Cyber Defence.
- Implementation of the Agency’s Long Term Review. The review was carried out between November 2016 and April 2017 and its findings were endorsed by Ministers in May 2017. The main conclusion was that the Agency has to become the central operator for EU funded defence activities and the main coordinator for intergovernmental defence capability planning, prioritization and development. EDA’s role of Member States’ interface and gateway towards EU institutions and stakeholders is also being reinforced.
The above-mentioned current priorities represent only a small part of EDA’s activities. For a full and detailed overview of the Agency’s projects and programmes, please go to Our activities and pick the domain, topic or project you are interested in!