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Defence cooperation in Europe: Views on the current situation from the EDA

19th June 2024 - 12:06 GMT | by Giovanni Rasio in Paris

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A Eurosatory panel session featured leaders from the EDA, OCCAR and NSPA. (Photo: Giovanni Rasio)

The European Defence Agency (EDA) has been using its platform at Eurosatory to emphasise its role in enhancing EU defence capabilities through collaboration and outlined its future priorities.

As the European Defence Agency (EDA) commemorates its 20th anniversary in 2024, its role in enhancing EU defence capabilities through cooperation remains paramount. Speaking at Eurosatory 2024, EDA general manager Andre Denk emphasised the enduring significance of defence on the EU agenda.

“Over the past two decades, we have acted as enablers and facilitators, supporting ministries of defence in collaborative capability projects,” Denk stated.

Denk outlined the EDA’s future focus areas, which include innovation, harmonizing requirements and aggregating demand from member countries. He noted the agency’s intention to strengthen collaborations with the Organisation for Joint Armament Cooperation (OCCAR) and the NATO Support and Procurement Agency (NSPA).

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“The key to successful procurement program implementation is ensuring that all stakeholders are effectively involved," Denk added.

EDA capability, armament and planning (CAP) director Stefano Cont also addressed the forum, underscoring the importance of the Coordinated Annual Review on Defence (CARD) and the 2023 EU Capability Development Priorities document.

“In the short term, member states will focus on the most pressing needs with practical solutions,” Cont explained. “Aggregating demand is crucial to meet operational needs and support the industry.”

Cont highlighted the immediate necessity for capabilities such as loitering munitions, counter-unmanned aerial systems (C-UAS), and short-range air defence (SHORAD and V-SHORAD) systems. He stressed, however, that the EDA is primarily concentrating on mid- to long-term requirements such as seabed protection, integrated air defence, air transport and next-generation helicopters.

“Collaboration must become structural and integrated into our future,” he asserted.

Joachim Sucker, director at OCCAR, highlighted the organisation’s role in managing complex multinational projects. With more than 22 programmes, including partnerships with non-EU countries including Turkey, Japan and Brazil, OCCAR remains pivotal in European defence cooperation.

“There are significant funds and resources available,” Sucker remarked. “Efficient decision-making and robust project management are essential.”

David Colliquet from NSPA noted the expanding role of his agency in joint defence procurement.

Colliquet noted that it was “a pivotal moment for joint defence procurement and NSPA is expanding”, citing more than US$10 billion worth of contracts managed last year.

“This unprecedented business growth underscores our strong relationship with OCCAR and EDA,” he added.

As the EDA moves into its third decade, its commitment to fostering defence cooperation within the EU continues to strengthen, ensuring that Europe remains prepared to address both current and future defence challenges.

Shephard's Eurosatory 2024 coverage is sponsored by:

BAE Systems
Giovanni Rasio

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Giovanni Rasio


Giovanni Rasio is a Senior Naval Analyst at Shephard’s Defence Insight business intelligence service. Before …

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