The British government is trying to persuade the European Union to soften the rules of association to its groundbreaking European Defence Fund, according to the minister for defence procurement.
The EDF, the EU’s first full programme for funding defence R&D, is expected to distribute €13 billion (£11.5bn) between 2021 and 2027. Under its proposed rules, which require non-EU countries seeking to participate in the fund to be members of the European Economic Area, the UK would be excluded from participation.
Appearing before the House of Commons Defence Committee and the European Scrutiny Committee, defence procurement minister Stuart Andrew said the UK government was putting pressure on the EU to broaden the criteria for association. He described the proposed rules as “short-sighted” and said that they would hinder cross-border collaboration on defence R&D.