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EDIRPA: No game-changer

Last week, the European Parliament adopted the so-called “European Defence Industry Reinforcement through Common Procurement Act” (EDIRPA). This instrument aims to help member states meet their most urgent and critical defence needs. After all, since the beginning of the war, the supply of defense equipment to Ukraine has exacerbated already existing gaps in many member states.

I voted for EDIRPA because I hope it is a small step in the right direction to provide Ukraine with more military equipment, which it desperately needs. As Greens/EFA, we support the overall approach towards a more united and cooperative European defence sector. However, we were disappointed that other political groups did not join us in our call for ensuring our right to parliamentary oversight over this instrument. Currently, defense questions are often “resolved” with secretive deals in the Council. But European defense needs European debate and scrutiny, and the place for this is Parliament!

Key Points of EDIRPA:

  • Budget: EDIRPA will provide €300 million until the end of 2025 to enhance defence capabilities within the European Union.
  • Collaborative Approach: EDIRPA fosters collaboration among EU member states by requiring at least three of them to form a consortium to access EU funds. This will help to promote unity and joint efforts to strengthen European defence.
  • Support for SMEs and midcap companies: EDIRPA allows funding of up to 20 percent from the EU budget for procurements when small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) or so-called midcap companies (companies with a medium market capitalization) are involved. This recognizes the importance that this business sector plays in the defense industry.

Unfortunately, EDIRPA will not be a game changer when it comes to improving the safety of European citizens and our allies. A key challenge remains: the lack of commitment among European member states to cooperate more effectively in defence matters. What would be needed is a shift away from protectionist, nationalistic policies toward comprehensive and effective cooperation – including joint defense procurement. A recent study of the European Parliamentary Research Service shows: We would save between 24.5 and 75.5 billion euros per year if we were to cooperate closer on defense. A German excerpt from the study is available here.

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