Operation of the European Defence Agency

The EDA was established in 2004. Since then, a number of amendments have been made regarding its statute, seat and operational rules. These changes have been consolidated in this decision.

An EU Decision  lays down rules on the functioning of the European Defence Agency (EDA), thus providing a legal and institutional framework to enable EU countries to cooperate in developing military capabilities in the context of the EU’s common foreign and security policy, and in particular, the common security and defence policy (CSDP).


The tasks of the EDA are to:

  • contribute to identifying EU countries’ military capability objectives and evaluate their capability commitments,
  • promote the harmonisation of operational needs (e.g. by promoting and coordinating harmonisation of military requirements or by promoting cost-effective and efficient procurement by identifying and disseminating best practice),
  • introduce projects to fulfil military capability objectives and ensure coordination programmes are implemented by EU countries,
  • support defence technology research and coordinate/plan joint research activities,
    contribute to strengthening the EU defence sector’s industrial base to improve the effectiveness of military expenditure,
  • pursue coherence with other EU policies which have defence implications,
  • foster deeper defence cooperation between EU countries,
  • provide support for CSDP operations.

Governance of the EDA:

The EDA is headquartered in Brussels and is under the political supervision and the authority of the Council of the EU, to which it reports and from which it receives guidelines.

The High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy is the Head of Agency, who leads the Steering Board and provides the link between the EDA and the Council.

The Chief Executive of the EDA, assisted by the Deputy Chief Executive, is responsible for the oversight and coordination of the EDA’s work. They are appointed by the Steering Board.

The decision-making body of the EDA is the Steering Board, which is comprised of Defence Ministers from each EU country (except for Denmark) and a European Commission representative. It meets at least twice a year to decide on matters including the annual budget, work programme and new initiatives.


The operating costs of the EDA are funded by EU countries (except for Denmark) in proportion to their gross national income (GNI).

Individual projects are funded separately by the participating EU countries.

This article is derived from European Union public sector information. EU public information is reproduced pursuant to Commission Decision of 12 December 2011 on the reuse of Commission documents (2011/833/EU) (the EU Decision).

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