Italy, France and Germany agreed to develop a European drone programme for reconnaissance and surveillance, seeking to inject momentum into a proposal first considered in 2013 to reduce reliance on U.S. and Israeli technology.
In a joint signing ceremony, the defence ministers of the three countries pledged a two-year study to lay the basis for a European drone to be operating by 2025 and said Spain and Poland had expressed interest in joining the plan.
The scheme for a pilotless aircraft built by the three EU powers could be worth up to a billion eurosif it gets airborne, officials said after the deal was signed in Brussels.
“It’s a very important step for European cooperation, a critical cooperation which we must have at our disposal in many theatres of operation,” French Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said, alongside his German and Italian counterparts.
“The goal of the Euro-drone is that we can decide by ourselves in Europe on what we use it, where we deploy the Euro-drone and how we use it,” German Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen said.
“This makes us, the Europeans, independent.”