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European Defence Fund

07 June 2017
by eub2 -- last modified 07 June 2017

The European Commission launched on 7 June a European Defence Fund to help EU Member States spend taxpayer money more efficiently, reduce duplications in spending, and get better value for money. The Fund will coordinate, supplement and amplify national investments in defence research, in the development of prototypes and in the acquisition of defence equipment and technology.


The European Defence Fund has two strands:

  • Research: The research aspect of the Fund is already delivering. Starting in 2017, the EU will for the first time offer grants for collaborative research in innovative defence technologies and products, fully and directly funded from the EU budget. Projects eligible for EU funding will focus on priority areas previously agreed by Member States, and could typically include electronics, metamaterials, encrypted software or robotics. This will be financed with:
    • €90 million until the end of 2019, with €25 million allocated for 2017. A call for proposals is being launched today for projects in the areas of unmanned systems in a naval environment and soldiers systems. The signature of the first grant agreements is expected by the end of this year.
    • €500 million per year after 2020. In 2018, the Commission will propose a dedicated EU defence research programme with an estimated annual budget of €500 million making the EU one of the biggest defence research investors in Europe.
  • Development and acquisition: The Fund will create incentives for Member States to cooperate on joint development and the acquisition of defence equipment and technology through co-financing from the EU budget and practical support from the Commission. Member States may for example jointly invest in developing drone technology or satellite communication, or bulk buy helicopters to reduce costs. Only collaborative projects will be eligible, and a proportion of the overall budget will be earmarked for projects involving cross-border participation of SMEs. The EU will offer co-financing with:
    • €500 million in total for 2019 and 2020, under a dedicated defence and industrial development programme proposed today.
    • €1 billion per year after 2020. A more substantial programme will be prepared for post-2020, with an estimated annual budget of €1 billion. The programme will leverage national financing with an expected multiplying effect of 5. It could therefore generate a total investment in defence capability development of €5 billion per year after 2020.

Factsheet on the European Defence Fund

The European Defence Fund – Frequently Asked Questions

Communication Launching the European Defence Fund