In December 2007 the Commission adopted the Defence Package which consists of a Communication and two legislative proposals. The whole Defence Package aims to strengthen the European defence industry and encourages a more European approach to business cooperation in the currently segmented national defence markets. It also contains numerous proposals for the support of SMEs.
Nevertheless, SMEs acting in the defence sector still face significant problems. They lack information on business and clustering/partnering opportunities and they experience difficulties to make primary defence companies and customers aware of their products and services.
In follow-up to the Defence Package, it was agreed to explore concrete ways to support these SMEs through an ongoing study and a series of seven conferences. The conferences shall make SMEs better aware of new opportunities in defence procurement as a result of the Defence Package and to discuss recommendations developed in the above study.
Conferences will take place in Berlin (October 2009), Stockholm (November 2009), Budapest (February 2010), Warsaw (March 2010), Madrid (April 2010) and Athens (May 2010) with participation from industry and particularly SMEs, from Ministries of Defence, Ministries of Economics, European and national industrial associations and from EDA.
The final conference in Brussels in June 2010 will summarize the results and conclusions on the measures to be undertaken.