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Draft report lobbies for “DG-Defence” at European Commission

By BROOKS TIGNER , BRUSSELS – The European Commission should create a directorate-general for defence (DG Defence), says a new draft text from the European Parliament. Claiming that the EU needs “to take its destiny into its own hands” with a common defence policy for its member states, the report also advocates setting aside money for “a fully-fledged defence [sub] budget” from the EU’s next multi-year general budget, starting in 2021. The report will be debated with Federica Mogherini, the EU’s defence and security policy chief, during the parliament’s plenary session in early December – just prior to a gathering of EU leaders where they are expected to review their collective defence initiatives to date. Put together in late July, the draft report by…

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Impact of EU’s forthcoming defence fund riddled with unknowns

By BROOKS TIGNER , BRUSSELS – The rhetoric of EU and national leaders kow-tows incessantly to the vitality and importance of SMEs – small and medium sized enterprises – for Europe’s economic innovation and job-creating potential. Yet successful innovative SMEs in the EU that soar to become giants on the world stage are few and far between. There are a couple of Skype-type exceptions, but too many of Europe’s “garage” inventors who have a good idea, particularly in the digital field, head for the greener pastures of the USA where bureaucratic obstacles are lower, returns higher and venture capitalists more willing to take risks than their European counterparts. This points directly to the EU’s forthcoming European Defence Fund (EDF) and how it will generate high-tech results within the framework of PESCO, the permanent structured cooperation in defence that 23 EU member states (and counting) will set in motion in 2018. Such projects will necessarily have to draw in dual-use innovations from the commercial realm. A critical acid test for the defence fund will be to what extent it enables SMEs with interesting dual-use products in one PESCO country to...