Belgium defence boosts collaboration with security industry

Belgium wants to strengthen its industrial base. The Ministry of Defence - together with the FPS Economy and the industry - is currently putting the finishing touches to the "Defense Industry Research Strategy" or DIRS. The aim is to establish a structure, responsibilities and mechanisms for the role of the security industry.

With a turnover of EUR 4.3 billion, the security industry is an important sector in the Belgian economy. The sector focuses on the development of state-of-the-art technology for defence and security on land and at sea, in the air, in and from space, and cyber security. The new strategy focuses on stronger cooperation. "We cannot say, 'we want that company and that programme', but there is an exchange of information and there are meetings. It will come down to defence, the security industry and the FPS Economy agreeing on the domains where we want industry to invest, or where we think Belgian industry can win a place, perhaps not for Belgian defence but for European defence," says Admiral Michel Hofman, the Chief of Defence (CHOD).

We have been far too naive in Belgium for far too long, and far too fearful that industry would be privileged by certain information," says the admiral. "Our neighbouring countries know where they want to go with their defence industry. They sometimes use their own defence to push their industry forward, or they support that industry so that it finds its place in all kinds of big programmes."

In the same vein, the European Commission today released €500 million for closer cooperation between the security industries of the various member states. The Commission is responding to the European Council's request to meet the most urgent and critical needs for defence products as a result of Russia's aggression against Ukraine.

Commissioner for the Internal Market, Thierry Breton, said: "Today we are taking a historic step forward in European defence integration. As war rages on at Europe's borders, we are responding to the call of EU Heads of State by presenting today a new instrument to support, at European level, the joint acquisition of weapons. In addition to helping replenish part of the stocks following the transfer of arms to Ukraine, we are creating an incentive through the EU budget for Member States to buy together. Europe's defence is making great strides."


© BELGA PHOTO KURT DESPLENTER - Rear Admiral Michel Hofman pictured during a commemoration at the Tyne Cot Commonwealth War Graves Cemetery for the centenary of Passchendaele, the third battle of Ypres on 30th and 31st July 2017 in Passendale, Zonnebeke.

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