The Aerospace and Defence Industries Association of Europe (ASD) held today its Board and General Assembly meetings in Brussels. This gathering allowed the launch of a dialogue between the industry and the new Commissioner for Innovation, Ms Mariya Gabriel, which was continued during a working lunch in the presence of MEPs and members of the main committees in the European Parliament.
The key challenges that the European Union and the industry have to face today were at the heart of the discussions: The European response to the challenge of climate change and digitalisation reside first and foremost in the reinforcement of the industry’s competitiveness and technological sovereignty, within a highly instable and competitive geopolitical context.
Aeronautics, space and defence contribute to the EU strategic autonomy and dual technologies should be treated with the highest level of priority. ASD President and Chairman and CEO of Dassault Aviation, Mr Eric Trappier, underlined the key issues at stake for the aerospace, security and defence industries, in the framework of the new European mandate:
- Environment: The European civil aircraft industry is actively committed to responding to the challenge of climate change. It will maintain and develop a constructive dialogue with the European Union in order to provide efficient and concrete contributions to the implementation of the Green Deal, first and foremost within the framework of the European research programmes whose ambition must serve the energy transition towards low-carbon aviation and new forms of mobility. A dedicated strategy, supported by an ambitious research budget for 2021-2027, must be based on all of the stakeholders’ engagement (European institutions, Member States and industry), namely through public-private partnerships such as Clean Sky and SESAR. The implementation of the first ever sectorial carbon offsetting scheme (CORSIA) will also be instrumental in decarbonising aviation, especially in view of its growth forecast.
- Innovation and digitalisation are at the heart of the European industry’s future competitiveness: The members of ASD form a competitive European ecosystem, with large companies, SME/SMI and start-ups that hold a leading role at the global level. This outcome is the result of the combination of a proactive and complementary policy, led by Member States and the European Union, and is based on:
- Major mobilising and unifying industrial projects
- Investment policies supported on a long-term basis
- Appropriate regulations, which take into account a balanced level playing field
- The boosting of industrial clusters and associated skills/jobs.
This policy must be maintained, developed and supported significantly, and even more so at a time when the acceleration of technological breaks, which are shaping tomorrow’s economic structure. In the United States and China, major investments are made in these areas.
The challenge is to maintain a European leadership in technologies which ensures Europe’s strategic autonomy. In this context, defence is more than ever an imperative. The impetus given during the previous European Union mandate is unprecedented and essential. It must be confirmed, and must now translate into the implementation of the European Defence Fund, in order to see new structuring cooperative projects emerge, which are necessary for the acceleration of the process of renewal of capacities that the European Union and the armed forces need to face new threats. This project also aims to preserve and develop European technological and industrial skills, guardian of Europe’s sovereignty. The industry is committed in this major project, but expects from the European Union to will ensure a level playing field at the global level, as the rules of the market are too distorted as of today.
Confronted with these challenges, the only option is a stronger Europe that federates its synergies at all levels of the industry, Member States and the European Union, and bases itself on a strategic agenda that the industry is calling for today: “Building together to succeed together”. In this context, ASD calls for a high level of ambition with regards to the future EU research programmes.