BRUSSELS - The EU's single market commissioner said Nov. 7 that the European Commission has decided to establish a defense policy task force.
Speaking at a Security and Defence Day event in Brussels, Commissioner Michel Barnier said the task force will include all the relevant Commission directorates general and will work closely with the European Defence Agency and the European External Action Service. A separate Commission source later said that the directorate generals involved would be likely to include Internal Market, Research and Development, Industry, Transport, Energy and Legal Services.
The task force will have the following four key missions:
* Ensuring that an EU defense procurement directive and an intra-EU defense products' transfer directive are transposed into member state legislation
* Creating a debate in industry on determining the strategic areas where Europe needs to keep an industrial base and thereby retain strategic autonomy
* Exploiting synergies between the security and defense industries
* Ensuring coherence on security of supply issues
"EU cooperation is needed," Barnier said. "From the smallest to the biggest EU country, no member state can guarantee security all alone."
German MEP Christian Ehler predicted that, over time, the defense industry in Europe will move towards a security industry.
"Procurement will go from mere defense items to dual use items (technologies for civil and military use)," he said.
Ehler said he anticipated that there would be around 2 billion euro of EU funding for civil security research in the 2014-2020 budget, which has yet to be agreed upon. The previous budget (2007-13) amounted to 1.4 billion euro.