Written by: Francesco Baronio
Edited by: Chiara Nasonte
Supervised by: Ginevra Bertamini
On October 9, the Council of the EU adopted a regulation establishing an instrument that further paves the way for the entry into force of the European Defence Industry Reinforcement through Common Procurement Act (EDIRPA) (Council of the EU, 2023). This new instrument involves a €300 million budget that provides partial reimbursement to Member States jointly purchasing capabilities through consortia of at least three Members (Council of the EU, 2023). Further conditions are set out for EDIRPA. Contractors and subcontractors must be established and must have their executive management structure in the EU or in an associated country (Council of the EU, 2023). Moreover, at least 65 percent of the end products’ components must originate from the EU or an associated country (Council of the EU, 2023).
After the European Council expressed the need, among other things, to encourage the joint procurement of defence capabilities in an informal meeting in March 2022, the Commission adopted a proposal for a regulation establishing the EDIRPA in July (Briane, 2022). In December 2022, the Council adopted a general approach on how to boost common procurement and strengthen the competitiveness of the European Defence Technological and Industrial Base (EDTIB) (Bosica, 2023). This general approach set up the backbone for the June 2023 agreement between the Council and the Parliament on EDIRPA (Bosica, 2023).
Fragmentation constitutes a critical issue for the European defence landscape and primarily stems from underinvestment and lack of cooperation in capability development and procurement (Barbieux, 2023). The Capability Development Plan (CDP), the Coordinated Annual Review on Defence (CARD), the Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO) and the European Defence Fund (EDF) have been implemented to incentivise the joint planning, research and development of defence capabilities (European Defence Agency, 2018). Likewise, EDIRPA constitutes the EU’s attempt to boost the joint procurement of capabilities.
Challenges to collaborative defence acquisition include the lack of a political will to invest in common capabilities, the purely national nature of defence planning, divergent strategic cultures among states and the inclination to protect their own defence industries (Barbieux, 2023). Given its budget, it is unlikely that EDIRPA will be a game changer for European joint procurement. Nevertheless, financial support from the EU might contribute to progressively bringing Member States closer in the common acquisition of defence capabilities. Overall, the success or failure of EDIRPA will be decisive for future, possibly more ambitious, initiatives in this regard (Barbieux, 2023).
Barbieux, F. (2023, October 5). The Imperative of Joint Procurement in Europe: Defragmenting our Defence Industry. Finabel – European Army Interoperability Centre. https://finabel.org/the-imperative-of-joint-procurement-in-europe-defragmenting-our-defence-industry/
Bosica, J. M. (2023, July 18). Laying the Groundwork for Interoperability through Weapons Procurement: EU Institutions Provisionally Agree on Reinforcing the European Defence Industry. Finabel – European Army Interoperability Centre. https://finabel.org/laying-the-groundwork-for-interoperability-through-weapons-procurement-eu-institutions-provisionally-agree-on-reinforcing-the-european-defence-industry/
Briane, M. (2022, August 5). Latest EU Commission Proposal to Reinforce EU Defence Industry: A new Regulation Establishing the European Defence Industry Reinforcement Through Common Procurement Act (EDIRPA) for 2022-2024. Finabel – European Army Interoperability Centre. https://finabel.org/latest-eu-commission-proposal-to-reinforce-eu-defence-industry-a-new-regulation-establishing-the-european-defence-industry-reinforcement-through-common-procurement-act-edirpa-for-202/
Council of the EU (2023, October 9). EDIRPA: Council greenlights the new rules to boost common procurement in the EU defence industry [Press Release]. Council of the EU. https://www.consilium.europa.eu/en/press/press-releases/2023/10/09/edirpa-council-greenlights-the-new-rules-to-boost-common-procurement-in-the-eu-defence-industry/
European Defence Agency (2018, June 28). 2018 CDP Revision: The EU Capability Development Priorities. European Defence Agency. https://op.europa.eu/en/publication-detail/-/publication/099d0a3f-01e0-11ea-8c1f-01aa75ed71a1#:~:text=The%20overall%20objective%20is%20to,common%20EU%20Capability%20Development%20Priorities.