European Defence Agency
The European Defence Agency (EDA) is an agency of the European Union
Agencies of the European Union
An agency of the European Union is a decentralised body of the European Union , which are distinct from the institutions. Agencies are established to accomplish specific tasks. Each agency has its own legal personality...

 based in Brussels
Brussels , officially the Brussels Region or Brussels-Capital Region , is the capital of Belgium and the de facto capital of the European Union...

. It is a Common Foreign and Security Policy
Common Foreign and Security Policy
The Common Foreign and Security Policy is the organised, agreed foreign policy of the European Union for mainly security and defence diplomacy and actions. CFSP deals only with a specific part of the EU's external relations, which domains include mainly Trade and Commercial Policy and other areas...

 (CFSP) body set up on 12 July 2004, reporting to the Council of the European Union
Council of the European Union
The Council of the European Union is the institution in the legislature of the European Union representing the executives of member states, the other legislative body being the European Parliament. The Council is composed of twenty-seven national ministers...

. All EU member states
Member State of the European Union
A member state of the European Union is a state that is party to treaties of the European Union and has thereby undertaken the privileges and obligations that EU membership entails. Unlike membership of an international organisation, being an EU member state places a country under binding laws in...

, except Denmark
Denmark is a Scandinavian country in Northern Europe. The countries of Denmark and Greenland, as well as the Faroe Islands, constitute the Kingdom of Denmark . It is the southernmost of the Nordic countries, southwest of Sweden and south of Norway, and bordered to the south by Germany. Denmark...

 which has an opt-out of the CFSP, take part in the agency. Norway
Norway , officially the Kingdom of Norway, is a Nordic unitary constitutional monarchy whose territory comprises the western portion of the Scandinavian Peninsula, Jan Mayen, and the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard and Bouvet Island. Norway has a total area of and a population of about 4.9 million...

, which is not an EU member, has been granted an opt-in to participate in the EDA programmes without voting rights.


The Council established the EDA "to support the Member States and the Council in their effort to improve European defence capabilities in the field of crisis management and to sustain the European Security and Defence Policy as it stands now and develops in the future”. Within that overall mission are four functions;
  • Development of defence capabilities in the field of crisis management.
  • Promotion and enhancement of European armaments cooperation.
  • Working to strengthen the Defence Technology and Industrial Base and for the creation of an internationally competitive European Defence Equipment Market.
  • Enhancement of the effectiveness of European Defence Research and Technology.

In October 2010, an agreement was reached on limits on offsets in defense procurement contracts.


The body has a legal personality and is governed primarily by three elements.
  • Head of the Agency: Responsible for overall organisation and functioning, ensures implementation of guidelines and decisions, chairs ministerial meetings of Steering Board. Currently, High Representative
    High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy
    The High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy is the main co-ordinator and representative of the Common Foreign and Security Policy within the European Union...

     Catherine Ashton
  • Steering Board: The agency's decision making body, composed of the defence ministers of participating Member States together with a representative of the European Commission
    European Commission
    The European Commission is the executive body of the European Union. The body is responsible for proposing legislation, implementing decisions, upholding the Union's treaties and the general day-to-day running of the Union....

     and led by the Head of the Agency.
  • Chief Executive: Head of staff and responsible for supervision and co-ordination of units. Currently Alexander Weis.

As of 2009, EDA has a staff of around 109.


The budget and expenditure of the EDA is given in the table below.
Year Budget (€ millions) Expenditure (€ millions)
2004 1.9 0.4
2005 20.7 12.8
2006 22.7 18.8
2007 22.4 21.5
2008 27.5 26.2
2009 29.2 28.1
2010 31.0 30.5
2011 Data not yet available Data not yet available

Membership and Funding Mechanism

All EU member states are eligible to join the EDA and to leave it. One EU member, Denmark, does not participate. The agency is financed by its members in proportion to their Gross National Income
Gross National Income
The GNI consists of: the personal consumption expenditures, the gross private investment, the government consumption expenditures, the net income from assets abroad , and the gross exports of goods and services, after deducting two components: the gross imports of goods and services, and the...

. An effect of this is that some nations pay vastly different contributions towards the budgets than others. For example in 2007 the biggest budgetary contributor was Germany at a cost of € 4,202,027 followed by the United Kingdom paying € 3,542,487, and France paying € 3,347,139. Malta and Luxembourg have approximately the same populations, however using this funding mechanism Luxembourg was required to pay € 47,219 whereas Malta only had to pay € 8,739. Although not an EU member Norway has an opt-in to participate in certain EDA activities subject to a case-by-case approval; it is not required to make a contribution to the funding of the agency for any services the agency may provide it.

Future Review Of The United Kingdom’s Membership Status

In 2010 it was reported that should the British Conservative party win the 2010 General Election
2010 general election
2010 general election may refer to:* Anguillan general election, 2010* Australian federal election, 2010* Bougainvillean general election, 2010* Brazilian general election, 2010* Burmese general election, 2010* Cook Islands general election, 2010...

, then they would withdraw the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 from the European Defence Agency. On 28 October 2010 the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State
Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State
A Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State is the lowest of three tiers of government minister in the government of the United Kingdom, junior to both a Minister of State and a Secretary of State....

 (Lord Astor of Hever) at the British Ministry of Defence stated in the House of Lords
House of Lords
The House of Lords is the upper house of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. Like the House of Commons, it meets in the Palace of Westminster....


"The Secretary of State for Defence has agreed that we will remain in the European Defence Agency for a period of two years, then we will review the status of our membership".


The European Defence Agency is a continuation of the work of the Western European Armaments Organization (WEAO) and the Western European Armaments Group (WEAG) - it effectively represents the transference of their functions from the WEU to the EU framework, and thus continues the decommissioning of the WEU.

Chief executives of EDA

  • Mr Nick Witney, 2004-2007
  • Herr Alexander Weis, 2007-2010.
  • Madame Claude-France Arnould, 2011-.

The post of Chief Executive was vacant from October 2010 to January 2011 when Baroness Catherine Ashton appointed Madame Claude-France Arnould in succession to Herr Alexander Weis. The publication European Voice
European Voice
European Voice is an English language newspaper owned by The Economist Group. The newspaper gives an account of the activities of the key European Union institutions – the European Commission, European Parliament and Council of Ministers...

 had reported that this nomination was being blocked by the Italian government which wished to see its own candidate take up the post.

See also

  • Franco-British Defence and Security Cooperation Treaty and Downing Street Declaration
  • Organisation for Joint Armament Cooperation (OCCAR)
  • Western European Union
    Western European Union
    The Western European Union was an international organisation tasked with implementing the Modified Treaty of Brussels , an amended version of the original 1948 Treaty of Brussels...

  • European Defence Community
    European Defence Community
    The European Defense Community was a plan proposed in 1950 by René Pleven, the French President of the Council , in response to the American call for the rearmament of West Germany...

  • European Union defence procurement
  • European Defence Initiative
  • Military of the European Union
    Military of the European Union
    The military of the European Union today comprises the several national armed forces of the Union's 27 member states, as the policy area of defence has remained primarily the domain of nation states...

  • NATO Research and Technology Organisation
    NATO Research and Technology Organisation
    The NATO Research and Technology Organisation promotes and conducts co-operative scientific research and exchange of technical information amongst 26 NATO nations and 38 NATO partners...

External links

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