This article was published under the 2015-2020 European Committee of the Regions mandate.
Supporting European security from the bottom up
The European Defence Fund (EDF) should promote and stimulate joint cooperation activities between Member States in the field of defence products and technologies, says Dainis Turlais. “It’s important to develop defence everywhere, also in member states such as my own country of Latvia at the external border of the EU so that all citizens feel secure”.
The defence industry & technology is an important part of many regions’ economies. Dainis Turlais (LV) will initiate a discussion on the EU defence policy after 2025 to strengthen the role of the EU in defence while focusing on research as well as on development and acquisition to ensure cooperation in defence equipment and technology.
The opinion notes that the security of each country and of the EU as a whole is essentially based on two pillars: economic potential and a society hallmarked by unity and cohesion.
“Security and EU-Russian affairs” is the topic of our external group seminar in Riga, Latvia. Our members, experts and representatives of the Latvian Ministry of Defence debated about security and cyber security, following up on Dainis Turlais’ report.
“European local leaders support the European Defence Fund”, as published on the website of the European Committee of the Regions.
23 March Yahoo Spain covers Turlais’ opinion and includes Marian Elorza’s comments.
Rapporteur Turlais organized a stakeholders’ dialogue: “The EU investing in our Security” in Riga, Latvia, co-organised by Riga city council and the European Committee of the Regions. It welcomed defense stakeholders from Latvia: companies, universities, the cluster of security and defence in Latvia, local journalists as well as local and regional authorities. A first session informed stakeholders on EU security and defense issues and on the EU added value of the EDF. A second session focused on EU business opportunities for Latvian companies in the security and dual-use sectors.
Latvian media focused on Turlais’ report.
On 19 February, rapporteur Dainis Turlais participated in a lunch debate on “the European Defence Industrial Development Programme – strengthening Europe’s defence industrial and technological base” at the European Parliament. The event was organised by the Long-term investment and Reindustrialisation Intergroup and featured speakers such as Dominique Riquet MEP, Lowri Evans, Director General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs at the European Commission, Burkard Schmitt, Director for Security and Defence, AeroSpace and Defence Industries Association of Europe, and Gergana Karadjova, Minister Plenipotentiary, Representative of the Republic of Bulgaria to the Political and Security Committee.
Report adopted in the ECON Commission of the European Committee of the Regions.
Rapporteur Dainis Turlais participated in the European Defence Industry Summit held in Brussels. European Commissioner Bienkowska, as well as Member states representatives from Sweden, Poland, Bulgaria and Lithuania, SMEs, the EIB, NATO and the European Defence Agency officials debated on opportunities created by the European Defence Fund, impact on the EU-NATO partnership, development of equipment and technologies and how to foster investments and strengthen the single market for defence.
Rapporteur Dainis Turlais met with Mr Dirk Tielbuerger, Deputy Director and Head of Unit for the Preparatory Action for Defence Research. He also met with Mr Jean-Yuri Marty, Deputy Director and Head of the EDA Task Force on the European Defence Industrial Development Programme.
“Briefing: European Defence Fund – new opportunities for SMEs, clusters and regions” in the European Committee of the Regions: this briefing examined current and forthcoming regional funding opportunities for SMEs and regional clusters. Rapporteur Turlais presented the current state of his opinion and engaged in a Q&A with the audience afterwards.
This lunchtime briefing was co-organised by the European Committee of the Regions and the European Commission.
It presented the European Defence Fund and tried to answer some key questions:
• What are the key elements of the European Defence Fund, in particular in the area of research and development?
•What other funding opportunities exist in the area of defence, for example in the context of the ESIF?
•Which instruments and tools are available to guide SMEs, clusters and regions to these new opportunities?
The discussions fed into the ongoing work of the CoR Opinion.
Rapporteur Turlais also discussed his report with European Parliament shadow rapporteur Dominique Riquet MEP (ALDE) and with the head of unit from DG RTD of the European Commission.
Rapporteur Dainis Turlais met Anne Fort, Policy Officer, Directorate-General of Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs (DG GROW), European Commission. Mrs Fort presented in details the Communication on the European Defence Fund and the Legislative Proposal for the European Defence Industrial Development Programme. She elaborated on key issues and rationale for these initiatives as well as provided an update on the state of play and negotiations with the Council.
The rapporteur also met with Mr Paul Anciaux, Policy Officer in the same unit on defence, aeronautic and maritime industries. They discussed the importance to integrate SMEs within the European defence supply chains, the role of regions, clusters and the CoR. They further discussed in detail the support of the European Commission to encourage regions and SMEs participation, notably through the European Network of Defence-related Regions.
Rapporteur Dainis Turlais had a videoconference with Gunnar Muent, director of the innovation and competitiveness at the European Investment Bank, and met with Oliver Cusworth, in the EIB Brussels office. Together they spoke about the work of the EIB to support investment in defence, more specifically on dual use and civilian applications of military technologies as well as support to SMEs and mid-cap companies. The EIB explained that it does not finance military infrastructure projects.