The Defence Minister of Cyprus, Mr. Demetris Eliades called on Member States to enhance their cooperation in the field of defence in order to achieve their common goals of peace, security and growth. Mr. Eliades was speaking before a high level seminar in Brussels today, which examined innovative ways, such as pooling and consolidating demand, in which Member States can collaborate in using their declining defence budgets more efficiently. Some of the seminar’s issues are expected to be discussed during the upcoming Informal Meeting of Defence Ministers in Lefkosia (Nicosia) on September 26 and 27.
The seminar, entitled “Innovative European Defence Cooperation – Pooling and Consolidating Demand”, was organised by the Cyprus Presidency of the Council of the EU, in collaboration with the European Defence Agency (EDA) and the Egmont Royal Institute for International Relations of Belgium.
The Chief Executive of EDA, Ms Claude-France Arnould addressed the seminar, while among the distinguished speakers were the Chairman of the EU Military Committee, General Håkan Syrén and the Chief Executive Officer of Krauss-Maffei Wegmann, Mr. Frank Haun. The seminar was attended by representatives of Defence Ministries of Member States and other countries, the European Commission, other relevant EU defence institutions and the European defence industry.
“In difficult times we join forces, knowledge, experiences, ideas, initiatives and we collaborate to achieve the best possible results,” said Mr. Eliades, while stressing that the challenges faced in the defence sector due to the financial crisis could be combatted through flexible initiatives such as pooling and sharing.
The Defence Minister signalled out pooling and consolidating demand as areas where cooperation between Member States could provide successful results, and also enable smaller Member States to contribute and benefit more significantly.
Participants conducted a broad assessment on the manner by which the consolidation of demand could benefit both EU Member States governments and the EU defence industry alike, while they also focused on effective procurement methods as linked to the process of pooling demand.
Considered a basic tool of pooling demand, joint ‘off-the-shelf’ procurements offer significant financial savings by increasing order sizes and achieving economies of scale, thus improving the efficiency of military expenditure within the EU.
During the seminar, several areas of possible collaboration were identified, including capability development and requirement identification, armaments cooperation, joint research and technology.
Smaller Member States with a role to play
Since small Member States do not have a defence industry, Mr. Eliades stressed that “thanks to EDA, smaller Member States are given the opportunity to actively co-operate and contribute in areas such as Research and Technology programmes”.
“Our Common Security and Defence Policy is built with common efforts targeting at peace, security, stability and growth. We share a common vision for a better Europe and a better World. We, also, share a common belief, that a better Europe is needed for a better world,” concluded the Defence Minister.
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