European Defence Fund


In September 2016, the President of the European Commission announced the establishment of a European Defence Fund (EDF) to foster European defence cooperation in research and capability development, thus contributing to strengthen the competitiveness of the European Defence and Technological Industrial Base.

As preparatory steps, the European Commission launched two initiatives under the 2014-2020 Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) with limited duration and budget to support collaborative defence research and development projects: The Preparatory Action on Defence Research (PADR) and the European Defence Industrial Development Programme (EDIDP).

On the basis of the experience with these two pilot programmes, the European Commission proposed in June 2018 a fully-fledged European Defence Fund for the MFF 2021-2027, covering both defence research and capability development.

Following the formal adoption of EDF Regulation by the Council in March 2021 and the adoption by the European Parliament in April, the EDF entered into force in May 2021.


€8 billion for 2021-2027 is dedicated to the European Defence Fund. €2.7 billion to fund collaborative defence research and €5.3 billion euros to fund collaborative capability development projects complementing national contributions. This is the first time the EU budget is used to support European industrial defence cooperation.<picture><source srcset="/sites/default/files/styles/original_ratio_xxxxl/public/2022-08/EDF%20illustration.webp?itok=7VAJ3vSq 1x" media="(min-width: 4000px)" type="image/webp"></picture>


The EDF is implemented through annual work programmes structured along 17 thematic and horizontal categories of actions, which have been shaped to remain stable during the Multiannual Financial Framework 2021-2027. Calls for proposals will be launched on an annual basis following the adoption of the corresponding annual work programme. With a total budget of €1.2 billion, the first 23 EDF calls for proposals have been published on 30 June 2021.  

Industry’s view

ASD welcomes the EDF and contributes to its implementation via its members’ technical and business expertise. The initiative shows that the European Commission has instruments at its disposal that can make an important contribution to strengthening European defence.  

ASD is convinced that the EDF can help develop Europe’s defence capabilities and its industrial and technological base. In combination with other initiatives, namely PESCO and CARD, and in coordination with NATO, the EDF can lead to a real step-change in European defence cooperation.

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