Commission announces Action Plan to increase defence capabilities and space connectivity

On February 22, the European Commission announced an Action Plan to increase the EU’s defence capabilities by boosting secure space connections and exploiting disruptive potential technologies. 

In particular, some of the targeted actions on the Action Plan focus specifically on drone technologies, space-based secure connectivity and space traffic management. Space and civil technologies, including cyber, quantum and artificial intelligence also feature in the EU executive plan of boosting Europe’s capabilities.  The Commission’s Action Plan will also cover measures to increase resilience across connectivity systems in case of cyber attacks.

Synergies with EU programmes

In a challenging international environment, where the EU needs to maintain its technological edge and support its industrial base, the EU Multiannual Financial Framework 2021-2027 (MFF) significantly scales up investment in technologies for defence or related civilian use, such as security, mobility, health, information management, cyber and space.

Commissioner Margrethe Vestager and Internal Market Commissioner Thierry Breton explained during the press conference the EU’s intention to build synergies between existing EU programmes — Horizon Europe, Digital Europe, the Connecting Europe Facility, the Internal Security Fund, the European Defence Fund (EDF) and the Space programme —and instruments so that disruptive technologies can find a concrete use.

The increased size of these investments, delivered through a variety of EU programmes and instruments, presents opportunities for synergies that can avoid the risk of duplication and provide more user-friendly opportunities for financing, such as grants and public procurement, the Commission said. 

“The European Defence Fund gives a strong potential for synergies between innovation in space, defence and civil research and innovation. We need this for a number of critical technologies. This plan is a systematic and methodological approach to create synergies”, tweeted Vestager.