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Virtual information workshop on the European Defence Action Plan: EDIDP-EDF

Virtual information workshop on the European Defence Action Plan: EDIDP-EDF

On Friday, 19 June, the Ministry of Defence’s General Directorate of Armament and Materiel (DGAM) organised a virtual workshop from Isdefe’s headquarters to report on the result of the call for the 2019 European Defence Industrial Development Programme (EDIDP), and provided its vision and key guidelines for EDIDP 2020, as well as a general outline from the Ministry to support national initiatives in the future European Defence Fund.

The welcome address was given by Mr Jesús Alonso Martín, Isdefe’s Director of Development, Major General José Luis Murga Martínez, Deputy Director General of Planning, Technology and Innovation at the DGAM, and Brigadier General Pedro Méndez de Vigo Montojo, Deputy Director General of International Relations at the DGAM, who agreed on the value proposition of this workshop as a unique opportunity to incentivise industry’s participation, revitalise the economy and continue providing the support needed to leverage the opportunities offered by the European Union.

During the workshop, Colonel Javier Boixareu Torres, from the Multilateral Relations Department of the Sub-Directorate General for International Relations at the DGAM, and Captain José Luis Nieto Fernández, from the Planning and Programmes Department of the Sub-Directorate General for Planning, Technology and Innovation, reported on the results of the call for the 2019 European Defence Industrial Development Programme, on the progress of the call for EDIDP 2020 and on the Ministry’s actions in anticipation of the European Defence Fund.

The DGAM, as the governing body of the Ministry of Defence that is responsible for planning and scheduling the policies of Armament and Materiel, as well as of Research, Development and Innovation, as well as for overseeing and implementing their execution, steers its policies to ensure that our Armed Forces have the military capabilities they require. To this end, it guides R&D efforts to guarantee that Spain’s industrial and technology companies have the resources needed to develop these military capabilities.

Until a few years ago, the priority for developing and acquiring these capabilities was the domestic market or through bilateral agreements.

The implementation of the European Defence Action Plan (EDAP) has resulted in a paradigm shift that makes available to EU member states a mechanism that, for the first time, considers the collaborative development of military technology and capabilities, supported by the financial resources allocated through the budgets of the EU and its member states.

Since the plan was published in 2016, Spain has been an active participant in the two initiatives resulting from the Plan: the Preparatory Action on Defence Research (PADR) and the European Defence Industrial Development Programme (EDIDP).

The call for 2019 involved 354 entities from 26 member states, including 35 companies from Spain taking part in 40% of the projects presented. Spain was third, behind France (63) and Italy (43) in the “country ranking by company participation”.

The final result of the nine calls for proposals issued by the European Commission for 2019 was the selection of 16 proposals valued at €200.5M, plus the direct awards. Spain is leading four of the proposals and participating in nine proposals led by other countries. This leaves five proposals on the reserve list, with Spain taking part in three proposals led by other countries.

The conclusions of the DGAM, although satisfactory from the point of view of the success of the 2019 call, mark a clear intention to continue working on the call for 2020, especially since this year will see the launch of the European Defence Fund (EDF), which will span the period from 2021 to 2027. The Ministry of Defence has been working for months on defining the projects it will present for the EDF, projects that will be used to develop the capabilities of our Armed Forces and that will also provide for the development of Spain’s industry.

It should be noted that the workshop was held at a unique time, given the health emergency brought about by Covid-19, which has resulted in an unprecedented situation worldwide. The victims of this pandemic were remembered during the pandemic with a message of support for their relatives and friends.

The efforts made by Spain’s Armed Forces to fight the pandemic were also acknowledged. Through Operation Balmis, our military played a decisive role in combatting the worst of the pandemic. In concert with healthcare workers, law enforcement agencies and many others, they all provided a source of inspiration for all society.

The workshop was broadcast from Isdefe’s headquarters, which observed the health measures and recommendations issued by the Health Ministry and in the applicable law enacted to deal with this healthcare emergency.

There were 16 people present at Isdefe’s headquarters for the workshop, including representatives from the TEDAE and AESMIDE associations, along with 400 virtual attendees.