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Defence Industry and Space
The EU Defence industry

We are responsible for strengthening the competitiveness of the defence industry, including SMEs, and stimulating the defence internal market

We need further bold steps in the next five years towards a genuine European Defence Union…I intend to strengthen the European Defence Fund to support research and capability development. In doing so we will open up major new opportunities for our high-tech industries and other parts of our economy

Ursula von der Leyen President of the European Commission

What is the Commission’s role?

Defence Policy is the competence of the Member States. However, the security of European citizens is first and foremost a European responsibility. This requires the development of a competitive and innovative European Defence Technological Base (EDTIB) able to deliver on key technologies in critical areas and strategic capabilities that Europe and the Member States need for the protection of EU citizens.

The Commission is developing policies in support of innovation, competitiveness and resilience of the EU defence industry and to build a more open defence equipment market. The Commission aims in particular at incentivising cross-border European industrial cooperation in the defence sector and at increasing the resilience of the EU value chains underpinning defence industry, in particular by reducing technological and industrial dependencies.

DG DEFIS’ role

DG DEFIS is the European Commission's department that has responsibility for enhancing the competitiveness and innovation of the European Defence industry by ensuring the evolution of a stronger and more robust European defence technological and industrial base.

We implement the European Defence Fund (EDF). The Fund encourages collaborative projects that focus on the research and development of key products and technologies for the security and defence of Europe and its citizens.

Fostering investments in defence supply chains is also a key field of action. The Commission in particular is launching actions to support defence SMEs  and help them effectively engage in cross-border partnerships.

The European Network of Defence-related Regions (ENDR), brings together regional authorities and cluster organisations sharing experience and best practices in fields such as integrating defence into smart specialisation strategies (RIS3), accessing EU funding and supporting defence SMEs.

The European Commission supports strategic cooperation between key defence stakeholders and encourages the use of existing EU programmes and tools designed to address skills gaps and to foster new skills, retraining, and reskilling in the defence industry.

Furthermore, we contribute to building an open and competitive European defence equipment market through enforcing EU procurement rules on defence as well as enforcing the rules for the transfer of defence related products in the EU internal market.

We are also responsible for the implementation of the Action Plan on Military Mobility and also for coordinating and developing policy initiatives on countering Hybrid threats within the remit of the Commission’s competences.

Finally, we are responsible for the competitiveness of civil aeronautics. We have launched the Alliance for Zero-Emission Aviation to enable the successful market-entry of green and electric aircraft.

In the frame of the wider EU policy context, DG DEFIS will further ensure the coherence of the EDF with other EU defence initiatives, including CARD and PESCO.  We will continue our close cooperation with the relevant EU institutions and agencies, notably the EDA, international organisations such as NATO and with MS.