The European Defence Agency was established under a Joint Action of the Council of Ministers on 12 July, 2004, "to support the Member States and the Council in their effort to improve European defence capabilities in the field of crisis management and to sustain the European Security and Defence Policy as it stands now and develops in the future”.
On 12 July 2011, the Council adopted a Decision defining the statute, seat and operational rules of the European Defence Agency. This Council decision replaced the Council Joint Action.
The European Defence Agency, within the overall mission set out in the Joint Action, is ascribed four functions:
- developing defence capabilities;
- promoting defence Research and Technology;
- promoting armaments cooperation;
- creating a competitive European Defence Equipment Market and strengthening the European Defence Technological and Industrial Base.
EDA acts as a catalyst, promotes collaborations, launches new initiatives and introduces solutions to improve defence capabilities. It is the place where Member States willing to develop capabilities in cooperation do so. It is also a key facilitator in developing the capabilities necessary to underpin the Common Security and Defence Policy of the Union.
EDA role in EASCG :
With more than 11,000 aircraft currently stationed in Europe, the military are Europe’s biggest airline. Europe’s armed forces operate more than 150,000 flights per year. The Single European Sky initiative and its technological pillar, the Single European Sky Air Traffic Management Research (SESAR) programme, thus have considerable implications for the military.
The military approach is to be “as civil as possible” while remaining “as military as necessary” for its aviation and ATM operations. As an example, a large portion of operations at airports, in TMA and en-route are directly comparable. However, the purposes of military flight operations are substantially different, sharing the same airspace, at the same time, is therefore not always possible. EDA supports its Member States in the identification of the military operational and financial risks expected with the implementation of SESAR. The Agency facilitates also the coordination of military views by gathering input and requirements from Ministries of Defence.
The EDA was originally given responsibility at its Steering Board in November 2010 to evaluate the operational risks and financial implications of the Single European Sky for military aviation. This role was further extended in May 2013 with the adoption of an implementing regulation that set the ground for EDA work at the policy level of SESAR. The regulation provided EDA with the task of facilitating the coordination of military views from and in support of Member States and relevant military organisations and to inform military planning mechanisms of the requirements stemming from SESAR deployment.
The military community must strike a delicate balance between the challenges of complying with SES requirements and the military’s responsibilities for security and defence. The bottom line is to ensure that military aircraft, helicopters, radar systems and aerodromes can operate safely and effectively in the SES framework.