April 21, 2016 – The AeroSpace and Defence Industries Association of Europe held its Board meeting in The Netherlands on April 21, 2016 and has had a constructive dialogue with Ms Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert, Dutch Minister of Defence, Mr Rob Huyser, Director for Civil Aviation at the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment and Mr Jorge Domecq, Chief Executive of the European Defence Agency.
Ron Nulkes, ASD Board Member and Director of NIDV (Dutch: Nederlandse Industrie voor Defensie en Veiligheid) stated that “it was a great honour for NIDV and NAG (Netherlands Aerospace Group) to host the ASD Board here in The Hague. Given the many challenges facing the aerospace and defence industries it was very valuable to have a direct and open dialogue with the Dutch presidency of the EU and to highlight the important contribution of the sector to Europe’s prosperity and security”.
In the field of defence, ASD’s Board members discussed with Mrs Hennis-Plasschaert the forthcoming European Commission’s Defence Action Plan and a possible European Defence White Paper, which may follow on to the Global Security Strategy that High Representative Federica Mogherini will present at the European Council of June 2016. Mrs Hennis-Plasschaert insisted in particular on the importance of maintaining a competitive Defence Industrial and Technological Base in Europe and stated that “EU can be a credible, capable and effective security provider in its immediate region and beyond”.
Furthermore, the Board members discussed the EU Preparatory Action for CSDP-related research. They expressed the hope that this initiative will pave the way for a large EU defence research program in the next Multiannual Financial Framework (2021-2027), and underlined the need to set up an appropriate mechanism for defining the future capability needs. This message was also relayed to Jorge Domecq, whose agency is involved in the development of this initiative with the European Commission. On this matter, Mrs Hennis-Plasschaert emphasised that “together with the EU institutions and member states, the AeroSpace and Defence Industries Association of Europe has a huge role to play”.
In the field of civil aviation, the Board members discussed ASD’s priorities with Mr Rob Huyser. The discussions highlighted the importance of the EU Aviation Package Proposals. The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) is of strategic importance for the competitiveness of the EU civil aeronautical manufacturing industry within the global civil aviation market. In particular, EASA needs to be equipped with efficient working methods and sufficient financial means to carry out its certification tasks and to support industry projects at the global level. The EU Commission’s proposals are a step in the right direction but could be further strengthened in particular with regard to the international role of EASA.
The discussions also addressed the importance of continued investment in Research & Development through EU flagship programmes such as Clean Sky and SESAR. “In particular, Clean Sky has an important role to play for decarbonisation of air transport as each new generation of aircraft reduces emission by 15-20%” said Jan Pie, ASD Secretary General. Furthermore, in the context of environmental standards and climate change, the importance for Europe to align with global ICAO standards was stressed. The European aviation emissions trade system (ETS) should be aligned with the ICAO Global Market Based Measure (MBM), which is expected to be adopted in the second half of 2016.