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The European Union touts a “paradigm shift” in the defense sector when setting up a new fund –

The European Commission officially launched an 8 billion euro European Defense Fund (EDF), a new tool designed to jointly fund the entire group’s cooperative defense research and development projects.

Internal Market Commissioner Thierry Breton stated at the launch on Wednesday (June 30) that the new financing tools will make European cooperation in the field of defense “the norm”.

“Public authorities will spend better together, and companies from all member states-large and small-will benefit, thereby forming a more integrated European defense industry value chain,” Breton added, adding that his portfolio also includes Defense industry and aerospace.

According to Brittany, with new funding tools, European defense cooperation “will become the norm.”

The fund is “an absolutely necessary contribution to the expansion of European sovereignty,” the commissioner added, stating that the EU must be committed to “gradually becoming a world-class security participant.”

The fund was originally proposed by former European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker. It was initially set at 13 billion euros, but was subsequently reduced by 5 billion euros in last year’s EU budget negotiations. As a victim of a pandemic.

In what was considered a difficult birth process, EU legislators approved a 7.9 billion euro fund, clearing the way for the EU’s first dedicated military research program. However, some ethical issues, including parliamentary control and semi-autonomous weapon systems, still exist.

The European Parliament supports the European Union’s 7.9 billion euro defense fund

EU legislators approved the controversial 7.9 billion Euro European Defense Fund (EDF) on Thursday (April 29), clearing the way for the EU’s first specialized military research program aimed at strengthening military cooperation among EU member states .

An unresolved question is whether the fund can also be used to fund projects involving non-European companies-this is a point of contention, especially in the United States Put pressure on Brussels.

However, Breton stated that this will only happen under “very strict conditions, aimed at ensuring that Europe’s security and interests are properly protected.”

The plan will also cover the development of weapon prototypes, provided that the relevant member states commit to the final product.

The idea is to provide funding for defense cooperation projects that lead to technological innovation and a “native” European system, including large companies, small businesses and start-ups.

Fund disruptive technologies

The first solicitation for 23 projects was launched earlier this year, with a total amount of 1.2 billion euros, of which700 million will be used for large-scale projects such as the development of future combat aircraft, ground vehicle fleets, digital and modular ships, and ballistic missile defense.

The rest will be used to fund quantum technology and additive manufacturing-3D printing-and specific public appeals to SMEs and startups.

Among them, 100 million euros will be reserved for the “Key Technology” Such as artificial intelligence and military operations cloud, infrared and radio frequency components of semiconductors.

Civil space technology will receive 50 million euros, of which 70 million euros will be used for medical response and 100 million euros will be used for network capacity development.

Under the European Defense Industry Development Program (EDIDP), the predecessor of EDF, the European Commission had previously selected 26 projects and allocated more than 158 million euros in funding.

Fifteen of the 26 funded projects are also military projects under the framework of the EU’s Permanent Structural Cooperation (PESCO).

The PESCO framework was formally established in December 2017. It aims to deepen defense cooperation among the 25 participating EU member states, help co-finance, develop and deploy the military, and make the EU’s defense sector more flexible and independent of the United States.

Since then, in the escalating geopolitical confrontation between Brexit and China and the United States, PESCO has been the center of the EU’s promotion of “strategic autonomy”.

Two major capacity development projects received an additional direct grant of 137 million euros, of which 100 euros were used for future Eurodrone projects developed by Germany, France, Italy, and Spain, and 37 million euros were used to develop secure communications programs.

[Edited by Josie Le Blond]

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