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European Defence Agency
European Defence Agency
Paris plan pointer b jms.svg
Seat Brussels, Belgium
Established July 2004
Director Alexander Weis
Budget €30 million (2009)[1]

The European Defence Agency (EDA) is an agency of the European Union based in Brussels. It is a Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) body set up on 12 July 2004, reporting to the Council of the European Union. All EU member states, except Denmark which has an opt-out of the CFSP, take part in the agency.[2] Norway, 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[3];

  • 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.


European Union
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This article is part of the series:
Foreign relations of the European Union


The body has a legal personality and is governed primarily by three elements[4].

  • 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 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 and led by the Head of the Agency[3].
  • Chief Executive: Head of staff and responsible for supervision and co-ordination of units. Currently Alexander Weis[5].

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


The budget and expenditure of the EDA is given in the table below[6].

Year Budget (€ millions) Expenditure (€ millions)
2004 1.9 0.4
2005 21.2 20.7
2006 22.3 18.8
2007 22.1 21.5
2008 32.0 26.2
2009 30.0 Data not yet available
2010 31.0 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. An effect of this is that some nations pay vastly different contributions towards the budgets than others. For example in 2007[7] 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.


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.


Head of EDA

Chief executives of EDA

See also

External links


  1. ^ Brussels, 10 November 2008, Press Release
  2. ^ European Defence Agency
  3. ^ a b Background
  4. ^ European Defence Agency
  5. ^ New Chief Executive of the European Defence Agency Appointed 24//05/07
  6. ^ [1]For data from EDA annual accounts


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