Today the Commission issued a recommendation on cross-border market access for sub-suppliers and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the defence sector. It outlines actions national authorities can take to support SMEs and make it easier for them to take part in defence procurement contracts.
Commissioner Elżbieta Bieńkowska, responsible for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs, said: “Innovative SMEs are a vital part of the EU defence industry. But they face too many barriers to participating in defence procurement, particularly across borders. Today’s recommendation should foster a more dynamic defence market, creating opportunities for SMEs and providing better value for public money.” This recommendation also includes actions to be taken on the EU and national level, such as using national and European funding for defence-oriented SMEs and intermediate companies and addressing skills needs in the defence sector. The recommendation was announced in the 2016 European Defence Action Plan (EDAP), where the Commission envisaged work to strengthen an open and competitive defence market in Europe in order to help companies operate across borders and encourage Member States to get the best value for money when procuring in the defence area. As part of the Action Plan, the Commission has already launched last year the European Defence Fund.