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SMEs in defence procurement procedures

Question écrite de M. Tom VANDENKENDELAERE - Commission européenne


Diffusée le 9 février 2024

Subject: SMEs in defence procurement procedures

The changing security situation in which the EU and its Member States find themselves since the Russian invasion of Ukraine also forces us to review our defence procurement policy. In this respect, far-reaching progress has since been made with Edirpa (2022/0219) and ASAP (2023/0140), among others. Although SMEs have a particularly important role to play within Europe for the defence industry, we fail to take full advantage of them. In response to this, the Commission has also issued a recommendation (2018/624) and the Versailles Declaration also specifically addressed this issue.

Does the Commission intend to take further measures to better support SMEs in the defence sector, following its previous recommendations (2018/624)?


Réponse - Commission européenne

Diffusée le 23 avril 2024

Joint answer given by Mr Breton on behalf of the European Commission (24 April 2024)

Access to private finance is a prerequisite for the EU defence industry’s competitiveness. It remains however a major challenge, in particular for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

It is thus a key element of the European Defence Industrial Strategy (1) of 5 March 2024, which also acknowledges that SMEs are at the core of the EU’s efforts in support of industrial defence.

For instance, it proposes to set up a Fund to Accelerate Defence Supply Chains Transformation (FAST) (2) to facilitate access to debt and/or equity both for small, medium and mid-caps enterprises active in the EU defence supply chain.

The Commission, together with the High Representative/Vice-President invited the governing bodies of the European Investment Bank Group to adapt defence-related exclusions from its lending policies, in line with the recent call by the European Parliament (3).

Recently, the Commission published a study (4) assessing the funding gap of defence SMEs and created the Defence Equity Facility (5), in cooperation with the European Investment Fund, to invest EUR 175 million into private funds supporting innovative defence technologies with dual-use potential, mobilising up to EUR 500 million in support of EU companies.

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3 ∙ ⸱ European Parliament resolution of 28 February 2024 on the financial activities of the European Investment Bank — annual report 2023 (2023/2229(INI)).

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| | ) The Commission supports active contribution of SMEs to EU defence Research & Development, through European Defence Fund (EDF) SME calls (6) and the EU Defence Innovation Scheme (7) specifically targeting for SMEs, start-ups and other non- traditional players to ensure more opportunities to access the EDF.

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