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Towards a European aerospace policy

The European Association of Aerospace Industries (AECMA) presented its policy paper "Towards a European Aerospace Policy" at a symposium on the future of the European aerospace industry, organized by the European Commission and the European Parliament, held in Brussels on 5 No...
The European Association of Aerospace Industries (AECMA) presented its policy paper "Towards a European Aerospace Policy" at a symposium on the future of the European aerospace industry, organized by the European Commission and the European Parliament, held in Brussels on 5 November 1996.

"Towards a European Aerospace Policy" presents the industry's strategies for actions to improve Europe's aerospace sector. Arguing that the aerospace industry is one of the major employers in Europe, with some 80,000 companies in all Member States of the EU involved, and that the high technologies developed by the industry provide major spin-off benefits for other industries, AECMA calls for action by the industry itself, and by Member States and the EC, to support the development of the European aerospace industry.

The paper calls on the European Community to acknowledge the importance of aerospace as a strategic industrial base in Europe. Among actions called for at European level are regulatory, legal and financial measures to facilitate transnational cooperation and restructuring in the industry. In addition, ensuring fair competition for European industry in world markets, and ensuring adequate environmental protection, were other areas identified as requiring action at European level.

In the area of research and development, AECMA calls on the Community to increase funding for aerospace RTD, both in the remainder of the Fourth Framework Programme and in the Fifth Framework Programme. The approach of the aeronautics task force should be reinforced, with a focus on industrial requirements, including demonstration projects. Collaborative research programmes using both national and Community funds should be promoted, and best use should be made of the research efforts of national research establishments through increased cooperation, both between establishments and between establishments and the industry. Finally, European regulations should allow state aid for RTD at levels which match the industries of competitors.

At the symposium, Mr. Jacques Santer, President of the European Commission, and Mr. Martin Bangemann, Commissioner responsible for industry, both stated that the Community would support the European aerospace industry, including in the defence sector. In particular, the Commission was concerned that Europe remains competitive relative to the US aerospace industry. The Commission is also concerned that Europe has a strong presence in the space sector.

The Community's support for RTD activities in the aerospace sector were presented by senior Commission officials, including Mr. Arturo Garcia Arroyo, responsible for the specific programme in the field of Industrial Materials and Technologies (BRITE/EURAM), one of the RTD programmes with major interest for aerospace. Mr. Arroyo noted that between 1989 and today, some 450 aerospace projects had been supported under the RTD Framework Programmes, with a total of ECU 625 million of Community funding. In the four years of the current Fourth Framework Programme (1995-1998), Community funding for the aerospace sector was likely to total over ECU 500 million.

Mr. Magnus Lemmel, Deputy Director General of DG III, and Director of the Aeronautics Task Force, gave a presentation of the Task Force's work. The Task Force was established to coordinate the various Community specific RTD programmes with an aerospace element, as well as relevant national initiatives, so as to improve the effectiveness of research and identify European priorities. As a result of the Task Force's work, three priorities have been identified:

- The more efficient aircraft (MEFA);
- The European aeronautics network for distributed concurrent engineering (ENHANCE);
- The environmentally friendly aircraft (TEFA).

The Task Force is now aiming to concentrate European research efforts in these three areas, as well as coordinating inputs for future research policy in the sector.

Concluding the symposium, Sir Richard Evans, President of AECMA, suggested that Europe would have to match the RTD investments of its competitors if it was to remain competitive in the aerospace sector. In this context, he noted that the US government spends four times as much as the EU on aerospace RTD. He further stressed that the future of the industry depended on a strong partnership between industry and public authorities.

Source: AECMA
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