Meeting of EC President Ursula von der Leyen with representatives of the Czech defence industry

On 30 April 2024, the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, accompanied by MEPs Tomáš Zdechovský, Luděk Niedermayer and Environment Minister Petr Hladík, met with representatives of the Czech defence industry in Prague.

In addition to representatives of the management of the only domestic manufacturer of large-calibre ammunition STV GROUP, the meeting was also attended by representatives of Czechoslovak Group and Colt CZ Group.

The topic was not only the challenges and problems faced by companies producing military equipment, but also ways to increase production and ensure security of supply across the entire subcontracting chain. 

In the context of worsen security situation, the European Commission sees the European defence industry as an essential part of the defence capability of nation states, the European Union and the wider NATO partnership. 

In the course of the meeting, European Commission President von der Leyen highlighted that the crisis is exposing bottlenecks, for example, in the capacity to produce spare parts for military equipment, ammunition components or smokeless powder. In this context, she stressed that Europe should focus much more on closer cooperation to build self-sufficiency also in the defence industry, in particular by building resilient supply chains and closer coordination between Member States and companies.

The main points of agreement during the meeting were:

1. Recognition of the role of the defence industry as a vital interest of nation states and the EU in terms of ensuring defence capability. In the context of the changing international security situation, the defence industry is a sector of vital importance for the future of European values, freedom and democracy, both in Europe and globally. The readiness, capacity, innovation and capability of defence companies must be promoted not through competition but through cooperation. The timely production of quality and safe armaments and munitions throughout the supply chain must be encouraged and ensured at all levels, including the attitude of political representation.

2.    One of the pressing problems for the defence industry is the disproportionately harsh application of ESG policies by financial institutions on defence companies, without taking into account the importance of a capable defence industry for national defence and EU and NATO security. Defence industry companies call on the relevant EU and Member State authorities to proactively reach out to the financial sector to rethink the approach to the defence industry as an important cornerstone of the security architecture.

3.    A long-term, predictable perspective is crucial for maintaining and developing the capacity and capabilities of the defence industry. The defence industry is one of the most innovative industries, employing a significant number of R&D professionals and contributing thousands of jobs to strengthen the national and EU economy. With a rapidly growing share of investment in the development of in many cases unique production capabilities, defence companies need long-term buying signals to give them certainty of sales. Long-term procurement contracts and consideration of the importance of national manufacturers are key to decisions on further investment in the development of individual companies and the sector as a whole. 


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