In the area of Market & Industry policy the EDA promotes the efficiency and competitiveness of the European Defence Equipment Market (EDEM), strengthening of the European Defence Technological and Industrial Base (EDTIB), and helps government and industrial stakeholders in adapting into the EU regulatory environment.
The voluntary non-binding Intergovernmental Regime, established in 2005 by the Ministers of Defence and aimed at encouraging application of competition in defence procurement where the provisions of the Article 346 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) are applicable, was the first concrete initiative in this context. Following the evolution in the European legal environment, it became apparent that the Intergovernmental Regime had to be reviewed. The EDA Steering Board tasked in March 2013 EDA to analyse the need to replace the key elements of this Regime, namely the Code of Conduct on Defence Procurement (CoC) and the Code of Best Practice in the Supply Chain (CoBPSC).
In May 2014, the EDA Steering Board abolished both of those Codes which had served their purpose of improving transparency and competition in the defence market all along the supply chain. Simultaneously the Steering Board welcomed two new initiatives:
- the EDA ToolBox which has the aim to support Member States in the practices/application of the Defence & Security Procurement Directive 2009/81/EC,
- the EDA Supply Chain Action Plan which aims to support the industry by addressing supply chain related issues in a comprehensive manner to promote the creation of a globally competitive EDEM and to strengthen the EDTIB.
EDA’s Guidelines for facilitating SMEs’ access to the defence market, approved in 2009 by the EDA Steering Board, provide non-binding recommendations for possible measures to be implemented by national authorities to support SMEs operating in the defence market. The annual reports on the implementation of the Guidelines show that a number of solutions have already been implemented by the Member States, particularly to facilitate industry’s access to information through different kinds of events, as well as providing assistance and information about procurement, IPRs and R&T projects and programmes. An Action Plan on SMEs was adopted in March 2013. This contains measures to support defence-related SMEs (e.g. increasing interaction with Commission work, improving information sharing on business opportunities, supporting innovation and enhancing defence SME market conditions).
Based on the EDA Guidelines and Action Plan on SMEs the Agency has launched a number of initiatives in support of defence-related SMEs: the Defence Procurement Gateway dedicated to defence-related business opportunities and information; targeted workshops on European defence contracting opportunities; and support to gain access to EU funding, notably European Structural and Investment Funds by raising awareness, disseminating good practice and supporting pilot projects. EDA is developing further measures and initiatives to support defence-related SMEs and clusters in close cooperation with Member States, European Commission and National Defence Industry Associations.
To stimulate the support and bring forward ideas for actions/ initiatives directed towards the members of the National Defence Industry Associations (NDIAs), EDA has developed a document on NDIAs Best Practices, basing on experiences of ASD, NDIAs, their members and governments.
An updated Framework Arrangement for Security of Supply between subscribing Member States was adopted by the EDA Steering Board in November 2013, constituting a voluntary, legally non-binding, mechanism for the Member States to enhance their mutual support and assistance on Security of Supply. The Framework Arrangement has broad applicability, covering both peacetime and times of crisis and all kinds of acquisitions. Hence, differing from its predecessor it is not limited any more to operational urgency nor to acquisitions conducted under Article 346 TFEU. The Framework Arrangement is also fully adapted to the new legal framework of the Defence and Security Procurement Directive 2009/81/EC and the Intra-Community Transfers Directive 2009/43/EC.
On 15 May 2014 the EDA Steering Board adopted also a voluntary Code of Conduct on Prioritisation between sMS and industry, associated with the Framework Arrangement, as a means to involve defence industry in the EDA Security of Supply framework, in order to demonstrate its commitment to meet Member States enhanced Security of Supply requirements in defence procurement. Industry can sign up to this voluntary code on a case-by-case basis. Whilst doing so industry will accept that for a given contract the set of principles stipulated in the Code of Conduct will apply to ensure delivery and provision of defence equipment and services to the procuring Member State.
All 27 EDA participating Member States as well as Norway have decided to subscribe to and therefore participate in the implementation of the Framework Arrangement and the Code of Conduct on Prioritisation.
The building block of EDA’s work is the European Defence Technological and Industrial Base (EDTIB) Strategy, launched by a Ministers of Defence on May 2007, completed with a set of roadmaps including the Depth and diversity roadmap. The strategy has the objective of strengthening the EDTIB by making it competent, competitive and capable of delivering and sustaining the key military capabilities demanded by the Armed Forces of the 21st century. The EDTIB Strategy stresses that the future success of the EDTIB in Europe will depend upon effective utilisation of potential and innovation wherever these are to be found in Europe – in SMEs, and in suppliers not always associated with defence, and in new Member States.