EDA Chief Executive, Claude-France Arnould, welcomed today Ambassador Jacques de Watteville to sign a Framework for Cooperation between the European Defence Agency (EDA) and the Department of Defence, Civil Protection and Sports (DDPS) of the Swiss Confederation.
The conclusion of the Framework for Cooperation follows a negotiation mandate provided to the Head of the Agency, Baroness Catherine Ashton, by the EDA Steering Board. The EU Council approved the Framework for Cooperation in November 2011.
The Framework for Cooperation formalizes the relationship between EDA and Switzerland, thereby enabling Swiss participation in EDA’s projects and programmes. The Framework for Cooperation will allow for pragmatic joint activities in R&T and armaments projects and programmes. Cooperative areas remain to be further defined, but areas such as unmanned aerial systems, information acquisition and processing, cyber security, protection against improvised explosive devices and vehicle protection are examples of potential cooperative areas.
At the signature ceremony, Ambassador de Watteville said “Switzerland is a close partner of the European Union. The signing of the cooperation framework today is proof of this. The closer cooperation in the field of armament will be of benefit for both the EU and Switzerland.”
“This signature is an extremely welcome development for the Agency and European cooperation. Switzerland’s high technological know-how and long-standing cooperation with EU Member States provide an excellent foundation for our common efforts. The Framework we have signed focuses on Research & Technology and armaments cooperation. In both areas, European cooperation is a necessity to sustain and develop the capabilities our armed forces need. It is a must to ensure our global competitive edge”, said Ms. Arnould. “I congratulate our new partner, Switzerland. We are looking forward to further elaborating our joint efforts in the future, securing a mutually constructive and rewarding relationship”, she added.
The European Defence Agency was established under a Joint Action of the Council of Ministers of 12 July, 2004, “to support the Member States and the Council in their effort to improve European defence capabilities in the field of crisis management and to sustain the European Security and Defence Policy as it stands now and develops in the future”.
For the purpose of fulfilling its mission – to improve EU’s defence capabilities for the Common Security and Defence Policy - the Agency may enter into administrative arrangements with third States, organizations and entities. Such arrangements are a means to support the Agency’s work by establishing mutually beneficial and practical cooperation, including participation in EDA’s projects and programmes. All administrative arrangements are approved by the EU Council. The Head of the Agency is responsible for negotiating these arrangements in accordance with directives given by the EDA Steering Board. EDA has signed an administrative arrangement with Norway (in 2006) and with the European Space Agency (in 2011).