The Chief Executive of the European Defence Agency (EDA), Jorge Domecq, today addressed Spanish security and defence stakeholders at a seminar in Seville on European Union funding opportunities.
The event was jointly organised by the EDA, the Spanish Ministry of Defence and the Agency of Innovation and Development of Andalusia (IDEA).
Around 130 representatives from the Spanish Ministry of Defence, defence industry and business associations, defence-related research and technology organisations and universities participated in the seminar, which included awareness raising and in-depth know-how building sessions.
The seminar showed in concrete terms how to access funding and other instruments available within two major European Union funding programmes running until 2020, i.e. COSME (EU Programme for COmpetitiveness of SMEs) and the Structural Funds.
Rear Adm. Jesús Manrique Braojos, Deputy NAD of the Ministry of Defence of the Kingdom of Spain, welcomed the audience followed by introductory remarks by the Andalusian regional minister for Employment, Enterprise and Commerce, José Sanchez Maldonado.
In his opening speech, EDA Chief Executive Jorge Domecq said: "A 'window of opportunities' was opened by both the June 2016 EU Global Strategy of the High Representative of the Union, Federica Mogherini, and the State of the Union speech by Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker in September. The Global Strategy clearly stated that Union funds - to support defence research and technologies and multinational cooperation - are essential prerequisites for European security and defence efforts, underpinned by a strong European defence industry. EDA’s work has already provided a positive answer to the question whether Structural Funds may co-fund dual-use research and technology projects, which clearly have a favourable impact on both the civilian and the defence fields. EDA has also recently clarified the conditions legitimizing access - for both defence and dual-use related SMEs and clusters - to the opportunities of the EU COSME Programme 2014-2020. Altogether, considering EDA encouraging results on Structural Funds and COSME so far, one can say that the time for action is now”.
Both the European Commission and the Spanish Ministry of Enterprises and Public Administrations’ Directorate in charge for the coordination of the national deployment of Structural Funds made presentations about currently available EU funding for the defence sector.
A particular focus was put on dual-use R&T funding and on the Enterprise Europe Network’s local free services in native languages.
Additionally, more than 40 Spanish project managers were trained to apply for the European Regional Development Fund during a dedicated coaching session.
Finally, around 60 business-to-business meetings were arranged during a conclusive matchmaking session.
The seminar raised interest across all attending stakeholders, who have established promising contacts in view of an effective follow-up aimed at accessing EU funding opportunities.
Taking into account the increasingly blurred lines between internal and external security on the one hand and civil and defence technology on the other hand, different stakeholders exchanged views with Mr Domecq on how to take advantage of EDA’s work, through close cooperation with the Ministry of Defence of the Kingdom of Spain, in order to promote civil/military synergies wherever appropriate.