The European Commission has published guidance on cooperative defence procurement to help Member States apply the Defence Procurement Directive (Directive 2009/81/EC) consistently and make use of all the cooperation possibilities it offers. This will facilitate Member States’ participation in collaborative defence projects under the future European Defence Fund and its current precursor programmes. Commissioner Elżbieta Bieńkowska, responsible for the Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs, said: “With the European Defence Fund we are helping Member States research and develop cutting-edge technologies and equipment needed to protect Europeans. The guidance will further encourage defence cooperation across Europe by making joint defence procurement easier.” The guidance, announced in the 2016 European Defence Action Plan and in the Evaluation of the Directive, provides practical information on cooperative procurement between two or more Member States and promotes openness in defence markets, while respecting the security interests of individual Member States. In particular, the guidance clarifies the conditions for cooperative projects to be compatible with EU procurement rules applicable in the area of defence and security. The guidance complements the European Defence Fund, through which the EU provides financial support all along the lifecycle, from research to prototype development up to certification. The European Defence Fund will be fully operational in 2021. Meanwhile, EU funded defence cooperation is already materialising with precursor programmes. For the first time in European history, under the current EU budget period, the EU is incentivising European defence cooperation with a budget envelope of €590 million. Several research projects are already underway and the Commission recently issued the first calls for projects to jointly develop defence equipment and technology covering all domains (air, land, sea, cyber and space). More information in the factsheet “Towards a European Defence Union”.