NewsFeed n°19

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In this week’s NewsFeed, please find our now regular sections : Industries, Operations, and International Relations, jointly with a report from the European Parliament on the 2009 Defence Package and a planned investment from the Commission on security and new technologies.

The EU Parliament publishes an implementation report on Defence Procurement and Transfer Directives

The aim of this report was to assess the implementation of the two directives as well as their effects on the establishment of a European Defence Equipment Market (EDEM) and the consolidation of the European defence and technological industrial base (EDTIB) in the EU member states.

As a result, a need for a better implementation and enforcement has been identified in a context of COVID-19, Brexit and reduction of Defense Budget. The level of cooperation between member states and alignment to EU Strategy is low. Nevertheless, the number of contracts notice and publication rate has increased for a better transparency.

Regarding the European Defence Equipment Market (EDEM), its establishment is depending on a multitude of aspects outside of the directive spectrum. However, the directives contribute to the construct of an EDEM, thanks to aspects fostering competition and transparency and non-discrimination across Member States.

Finally the goal of increasing SME participation in the European defence procurement market, thanks, among others, to the directives, was assessed as “partially achieved”. Indeed, after dealing with cultural barriers, geographic distance and lack of cross-border market knowledge, the SME have to face administrative issues such as complex defence procurement documentation or high costs of certification.

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Horizon Europe: 400 million for security politics in the EU

The European Commission unveiled an investment programme for 2021-2022, worth 400 million, for 71 security politics projects. It includes cybersecurity developments as well as disaster-risk reduction and resilience. This investment is part of the wider Horizon Europe programme dedicated to research and innovation (R&I) and constitutes a specific theme cluster.

It is built around 6 “destinations” covering counter-terrorism, external borders management, resilient infrastructures, increased cybersecurity, a disaster-resilient society and a strengthened security R&I.

On cybersecurity, many projects aim to improve the security of connected objects, to better understand artificial intelligence to better detect and counter cyber-attacks, or work on new cryptography technology for personal data protection in concrete applications. The commission also wants to find solutions for law forces to legally access encrypted communications for investigations.

External borders management, the main axis is surveillance. New capacities are sought to enhance visual and acoustic surveillance, using drones, or illegal substance detection, to detect drug traffics. 

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News on industry

SAMP/T : new OCCAR modernisation contract for France and Italy

OCCAR has notified, on behalf of the French Procurement Agency (DGA) and the Italian SEGREDIFESA, a new development contract for SAMP/T NG to Eurosam, composed of Thales and MBDA.

The SAMP/T system is a Ground-To-Air Defence System, composed of a firing control radar Arabel and Aster 30 missiles. This contract aims to add the new active antenna multi-function radar Ground 300, with enhanced detection and tracking performance, to deal with new threats. The French MoD also points out the need to maintain industrial know-how for the “only entirely European middle range Ground-To-Air Defence System”.

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A330 MRTT : first visit to Belgium

On Monday last week, Airbus A330 MRTT (Multi Role Tanker Transport) landed at Brussels Military airport, Melsbroek. This visit follows Belgian decision on February 14 to join European/NATO Multinational Multi-Role Tanker Transport Fleet (MFF) programme along with the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Norway, Germany, Belgium and the Czech Republic.

MFF programme has been launched in July 2012 as a cooperation among NATO and EU Agencies and nations to operate aircrafts in a pooling arrangement. Since Belgium has joined the coalition, an 8th A330 MRTT has been added to the contract with Airbus, originally consisting of 7 orders.

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FCAS: agreement reached between aircraft manufacturers

The aircraft manufacturers involved in the FCAS programme, Airbus and Dassault, have delivered to the States their proposal for the development of a NGF demonstrator by 2026. First step of this significant project, whom NGF is the cornerstone, it has recently faced many difficulties to establish a workshare satisfying every stakeholder. Some of them still remain for the next steps, but this unhoped agreement opens the way for a vote in the Bundestag after the validation by the States The vote has to occur before next summer and the German federal elections to allow the 2026 target.

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European Union military engagement and external operations

IRINI – Support to arm embargo on Libya

The UN mandate for IRINI, which was running until 31st March 2021 has been renewed on Mach 26th for two years by the EU Council.

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TF Takuba: Operational capability confirmed

Last Thursday, Florence Parly accompanied with Estonian and Czech Defence Ministers Lubomír Metnar and Kalle Laanet visited Mali to “confirm the full operational capability of the Takuba force”.

Launched on March 27, 2020 at the initiative of France, Task Force Takuba is part of Operation Barkhane. It is composed of European special forces accompanying Malian units in Liptako where Barkhane forces are conducting operations against armed terrorist groups. According to a statement from the French Ministry of the Armed Forces, this visit is a testimony to the success of an unprecedented European initiative to support the Malian armed forces in combat.

The visit has been the object of wide criticisms from Malian. It happened only two days after the UN mission in Mali MINUSMA released a report stating that January, 3 French air strike killed 19 civilians. While visiting Malian President Bah N’Daw in Bamako, French Minister Parly addressed the media and rejected the findings.

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eFP Battle Group: French group joins

In the frame of the Lynx mission, a French group will participate to the operational condition maintenance of the eFP Battle Group Estonia, a multinational NATO battalion based in Tapa, composed of British and Islandic forces as well.

German support to Portugal against Covid-19

Portugal faced in February a particularly fierce epidemic wave, with a heavy weight on its infrastructures. Solidary, the German Bundeswehr sent a military medical team. Now that the situation improved, the team went back home with special in-person thanks from Portuguese Minister of Defence.

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The EU announced a 3.7 billion support increase for Syrian crisis

On March, 30, the European Union hosted Brussels V, the 5th Conference on “Supporting the future of Syria and the Region” co-chaired by the UN. It has been an occasion to renew the support of the international community to Syria and its neighboring countries to address challenges due to the long-lasting conflict.

The High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Josep Borrell, announced an additional €5.3 billion contribution to the fund for Syria. With a total of €24.9 billion mobilised for humanitarian, stabilisation and resilience, the EU remains the largest donor.

In its discourse about the Syrian crisis, the EU addresses the issue of security by linking it with development challenges. It appears that the discourse on EU security policies in the Middle East puts special emphasis on safety, freedom, women and children situation or even international and humanitarian laws.

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