More than 100 people from technology clusters, wider industry, research centres and regional and national authorities, together with the European institutions attended the European Defence Agency - European Commission workshop on Regional Smart Specialisation for Europe’s defence sector on 28 January 2013.
A joint initiative of EDA and European Commission, supported by the Conference of Peripheral Maritime Regions, the workshop was launched with the objective of increasing awareness of the potential for policies on smart specialisation and regional policy funding to support European companies and research centres working in the field of defence. In parallel it provided regional decision makers with practical knowledge on the potential of the defence sector to support regional economic development.
Europe’s defence industry, formed by many world class companies large and small, has long been a driving force for technical innovation, wealth generation and business growth across Europe but with constrained defence spending there is a need for new approaches. In this context the workshop addressed three key themes;
- increasing the cross-fertilisation between the military and civil sectors;
- promoting best practice for defence related industry centres of excellence/clusters contributing to regional development;
- investigating the support that regional policy can offer to defence-related SME supply chain.
The workshop is a practical example of how European Commission instruments and EDA expertise can be fused to help support Europe retaining an innovative and competitive industrial base, one better able to meet the defence capability requirements of Member States.
Over the coming weeks EDA and European Commission will be analysing the workshop proceedings to see what lessons can be learnt and what concrete measures can be undertaken – to support the defence industry. This input is also very timely as the European Commission is preparing a Communication in support of the competitiveness of the defence industry and the internal market, which is expected to be finalised by June 2013.