European Defence Agency (EDA) - (Agencies under Common Security and Defence Policy)

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The EDA's budget consists of a general budget, budgets associated with ad hoc projects or programmes and budgets resulting from additional revenue

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Agencies under Common Security and Defence Policy

Agencies have been set up to carry out very specific technical, scientific and management tasks within the framework of European Union’s Common Security and Defence Policy.


European Defence Agency (EDA)


  • Role: The EDA supports cooperative European defence projects and provides a forum for European ministries of defence.
  • Director: Jorge Domecq
  • Members: 26 EU Member States (Denmark is not a member)
  • Established in: 2004
  • Number of staff: 140
  • Location: Brussels (Belgium)
  • Website: EDA


The European Defence Agency (EDA) was set up in 2004. It helps its 26 Member States (all EU countries except Denmark) to develop their military resources.

It promotes collaboration, launches new initiatives and introduces solutions to improve defence capabilities. It also helps Member States that are willing to do so to develop joint defence capabilities.

The EDA is a key facilitator in developing the capabilities that underpin the EU’s Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP).


Based in Brussels with around 140 staff, the EDA is headed by Josep Borrell, the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice-President of the European Commission.


What it does

The EDA supports its 26 Member States – all EU countries except Denmark – in improving their defence capabilities through European cooperation.

It acts as an enabler and facilitator for ministries of defence that are willing to work on collaborative defence capability projects.

The agency is a European defence cooperation 'hub'. Its expertise and networks enable it to cover a broad defence spectrum, including:

  • harmonising requirements to delivering operational capabilities
  • research and innovation to developing technology demonstrators
  • training and exercises to maintenance to supporting Common Security and Defence Policy operations.


The EDA also works towards strengthening the European defence industry and acts as a facilitator and interface between Member States' military stakeholders and EU policies that impact on defence.

In May 2017, Member States agreed to reinforce the agency's mission, including by making it the central operator for EU-funded defence-related activities.



The agency has 3 operational directorates:


How it works

The agency supports defence cooperation between EU countries.

It helps its members in commonly agreed priority areas through dedicated cooperative projects.

It prides itself on its flexibility, expertise and cost-efficiency:

  • Flexibility: It offers tailor-made support, for projects involving a minimum of two countries, to match their strategic priorities, operational requirements, or interest in a specific project.
  • Expertise: Though the EDA is relatively small, its expertise is widely acknowledged. Agency staff work in expert teams and have close links to their counterparts in Member States and other EU and multinational organisations.
  • Cost-efficiency: The EDA's budget consists of a general budget, budgets associated with ad hoc projects or programmes and budgets resulting from additional revenue.

Read more about how the EDA allocates its budget.


Who benefits

EU Member States (EU-27, except Denmark) benefit from the agency's flexible approach which enables them to decide on their participation according to their national defence needs.

It helps European ministries of defence address defence capability and training shortfalls.

The EDA also has agreements with some non-EU countries (Norway, Serbia, Switzerland and the Ukraine).


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