Krstičević: Investment in European Defence Industry is Investment in Citizens’ Security

Total Croatia News

ZAGREB, March 5, 2020 – Investing in the European defence industry is an investment in the security of citizens and that requires appropriate funding, Croatian Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Damir Krstičević said on Wednesday, the second day of an inter-parliamentary conference in Zagreb.

“I would like to stress how important it is to have adequate resources for research and development in defence. Investing in the European defence industry is an investment in the security of our citizens, European cooperation, economic development and employment,” Krstičević said at a meeting on strengthening Europe’s defence cooperation and industry.

That meeting opened the second and final day of the Inter-parliamentary Conference for the Common Foreign and Security Policy and the Common Security and Defence Policy (CFSP-CSDP).

Krstičević presented the priorities and activities of Croatia’s presidency of the Council of the EU in the field of defence and security.

He underlined four priorities: further implementation, consolidation and coherence of EU defence initiatives (PESCO, CARD, military mobility, European Defence Fund), strengthening EU-NATO cooperation and trans-Atlantic relations, strengthening the industrial and research dimension in defence with emphasis on the role of small and medium-sized enterprises, and strengthening the EU’s efforts in Southeast Europe in the field of security and defence.

The aim of those initiatives is to develop capabilities through cooperation, avoid duplication and unnecessary spending of both tangible and human resources, he said.

Croatia considers that the European Defence Fund (EDF) is one of those tools that will have a positive impact on strengthening the European defence industry and will stimulate further synergy between the armed forces and the civilian industrial sector, said Krstičević.

“Hence, we consider it to be very important to secure adequate finances for the EDF within the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) for 2021 to 2027,” he added.

However, currently it seems that no more than €7 billion is planned for EDF, which is a significantly decreased amount, Krstičević said, adding the Croatia supports the original proposal of €13 billion which was also supported by the European Parliament.

Timo Pesonen, Director-General of the European Commission’s Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs directorate which his responsible for the Defence Industry and Space Department, said that it was important to develop strategic partnerships and transatlantic cooperation but also to strengthen investments in research and development with the aim of strengthening self-autonomy.

He also underlined the importance of financial support for the EDF and said that cuts negatively impact defence cooperation between members.

Pawel Herczynski, Director for the Security Policy and Conflict Prevention (SecPol) in the European External Action Service and Deputy Secretary General of CSDP, said that he hoped there would be sufficient funds for defence in the new MFF.

EU’s ambitions in the area of security and defence can be credible and efficient only if they are supported with the necessary resources, he underscored and added that that must be ensured.

More politics news can be found in the dedicated section.


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