Summary: The EDA conducted a Long Term Review (LTR) in 2016-17. This established the EDA as the preferred point of cooperation for EU member states over procurement, as the core element to further Defence integration, and instructed member states to make “full use of its potential is an essential prerequisite for European security and defence efforts”. Further LTRs can be expected every few years that consecutively reinforce this mandate while supplying increased practical effect.
At stake: This demonstrates the self- renewing and rolling mandate for the EDA, inevitably pushing ever-closer Defence Union over time. It also underlines the EDA’s inescapable relationship with other EU actors; the EDA is stated to be the key implementing tool “as regards the development of defence capabilities in cooperation with EEAS (incl. EUMS) and EUMC.”
What they say: “Instead of allowing itself to be dragged down by the opponents of European integration, who convinced British voters to make the regrettable decision of leaving the bloc, the EU kept moving forward” – Javier Solana
Exposure: Currently uncertain. UK affiliation to the EDA beyond marginal liaison activity leaves it tangled in inherent and unending political tension.
Action: The UK needs to create a clear firewall with EDA ambitions and direction. This can best be achieved by remaining outside it. A key first step would be for MPs to review the practicalities arising from the types of association deal the EDA has with other states, and the format for cooperation member states otherwise run in joint North American projects.