EU space strategy for security and defence - Related Opinions
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EU Heads of State or Government, meeting in Versailles on 11 March, committed to “bolster European defence capabilities” in light of the Russian military aggression against Ukraine. They agreed to: 1) increase defence expenditures; 2) step up cooperation through joint projects; 3) close shortfalls and meet capability objectives; 4) boost innovation including through civil/military synergies; and 5) strengthen and develop our defence industry, including SMEs. Moreover, they invited “the Commission, in coordination with the European Defence Agency, to put forward an analysis of the defence investment gaps by mid-May and to propose any further initiative necessary to strengthen the European defence industrial and technological base.” The tasking was also integrated in the Strategic Compass on Security and Defence adopted by the Council and endorsed by the European Council in March 2022.
On 19 July, the Commission has adopted a proposal for a Regulation by the European Parliament and the Council establishing the European Defence Industry Reinforcement through common Procurement Act (EDIRPA) for 2022-2024.
Semiconductor chips are the essential building blocks of digital and digitised products. From smartphones and cars, through critical applications and infrastructures for healthcare, energy, mobility, communications and industrial automation, chips are central to the modern digital economy. They determine performance characteristics of digital systems, among them security and energy-efficiency – essential to the EU’s digital and green transitions. They are also crucial to key digital technologies of the future, including artificial intelligence (AI), 5G and edge computing, as set out in the EU’s 2030 Digital Decade. Put simply, there is no “digital” without chips.
On 22 February 2021, the European Commission (EC) presented an Action Plan on Synergies between civil, defence and space industries (COM(2021) 70 final) to further enhance Europe's technological edge and support its industrial base.
The EESC welcomes the determination of the new European Commission to enhance the Union's technological sovereignty, and stress the importance of the security sector in this respect. There is no security without technology, and Europe must master the technologies that are crucial for its security.
The EU’s geopolitical context has changed dramatically in the last decade. The situation in its neighbouring regions is unstable and it faces a complex and challenging environment in which new threats, such as hybrid and cyber-attacks, are emerging, and more conventional challenges are returning.
EU citizens and their political leaders agree that the EU should collectively take more responsibility for its security. In the joint declaration of 25 March 2017 in Rome, leaders of 27 Member States and the European Council, the European Parliament and the European Commission stated the Union will strengthen its common security and defence and foster a more competitive and integrated defence industry.
The European defence policy was identified as a key political priority in President Juncker's political guidelines of July 2014. This should be also viewed in connection with the fact that after decades of peace and stability, the Union is facing increased instability and new emerging security threats. This changing security environment demonstrated in a clear way that only through joint efforts in investing in security development and cooperation at all levels can we deliver on the expectations of Union citizens and our partners. For Europe to take over more responsibility for its defence, it is crucial to improve competitiveness and enhance innovation across the Union defence industry.
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