While defense policy and decisions on military capabilities are matters for national governments in the European Union, the EU still plays a significant role in the defense and security sector through the development of civilian and military capabilities for conflict prevention and crisis management.
In July 2013, the EU launched a new action plan to take advantage of European level efficiencies and capacity to promote a more effective and cohesive European defense and security sector.
“In times of scarce resources, cooperation is key, and we need to match ambitions and resources to avoid duplication of programs. It’s time to do more together and it’s time to commit and engage more for defense cooperation,” according to European Commission President José Manuel Barroso.
The plan is designed to tackle market distortions and improve supply security in the EU defense market; strengthen Europe’s technological and industrial base; and exploit synergies between civil and defense research by developing more dual-use products and capabilities.
“The EU has the ambition to act as a security provider, in its neighborhood and globally, both to protect its own interests and contribute to international peace and security. To be able to do so, we need capabilities. And to have capabilities, a sound industrial base is vital,” says Catherine Ashton, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy.
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