In addition to the new funding that the Defense sector will receive from the European Union, Portuguese companies in this area will have a new organization, following the "paradigm" of the post-EMPORDEF era. According to a source from the Ministry of National Defense, "the new 'paradigm' for the management of state owned companies in the defense industries is still being worked out, but will be implemented soon, once the process of extinguishing the holding company of the State in the companies of the sector ". It will be this summer, according to the Economic Journal.
National Defense Minister João Gomes Cravinho has publicly mentioned that there are new opportunities for strategic partnerships in defense industries with French and Spanish groups specialized in the technologies used by the three branches of the Armed Forces.
More: opportunities have been identified in industrial segments as diverse as the textiles and naval and aeronautical high-tech maintenance areas for companies outside the European Union.
This is the case of the Indian textile units and the Egyptian shipbuilding maintenance companies, whose technical and technological profile would allow for the maintenance of the Alpenite Arsenal and possibly some tasks related to the maintenance of Portuguese submarines (the Egyptian Navy uses submarines from same class as those operating in the Portuguese Navy).
Egyptian companies also expressed interest in the Portuguese military communications sector. India was interested in the aeronautical sector and in the maintenance activity carried out in OGMA.
In this sense, the Economic Journal is aware that in September, meetings of a Portugal-Egypt technical commission will be held to define a joint program of cooperation in the field of defense industries. Also, those responsible for the Defense of India should come to Portugal by the end of the year to evaluate joint programs, but also to formalize the help of the Portuguese Navy in the creation of a museum unit in Lothal dedicated to the Sea – the admiration he feels for the Portuguese Navy Museum in Belém.
All these manifestations of interest in the opportunities identified in the Defense sector emerge in a framework of new (predictable) investment support, which will be made available by the European Defense Agency, the Permanent Structured Defense Cooperation – the so-called "PESCO" – and by the future European Defense Fund.
At the European level, in addition to being close to operations with the Spanish Armed Forces, Portugal has maintained a high level of operational cooperation with France – the two countries fight terrorism side by side in Afghanistan and Mali, striving for peace and stability of the Central African Republic. Portugal participates in the "MINUSCA" Rapid Reaction Force and France provides air support with the responsibility of being a permanent member of the Security Council. Portugal and France also carry out missions and joint exercises in the Gulf of Guinea and in the Mediterranean, where recently the frigate "Corte Real" carried out maneuvers with the "Charles de Gaulle" aircraft carrier. And they participate together in the "European Intervention Initiative". That is why industrial cooperation between the two countries has been the subject of regular conversations between Gomes Cravinho's team and that of the French counterpart, Florence Parly.
The Economic Journal is aware that a working meeting will take place in September between the Directorate General of National Defense and the French team of DG Armement to identify concrete joint projects.
Portugal approved the new Military Programming Law that creates conditions to boost the industrial and technological sector of Defense. In addition, European Defense will have access to EUR 500 million through the European Defense Agency by 2021. There is also a EUR 13 billion proposal for the European Defense Fund for the 2021-2027 funding cycle. A further EUR 6.5 billion was also requested for the Connecting Europe instrument to improve strategic transport infrastructure in Europe. A proposal of € 100 billion for the future Horizonte Europa program is still being considered. For this reason, the creation of a European Defense market seems to be a reality in the medium term.
Portugal maintains a level of industrial activity linked to the production of components of military equipment and dual use, as in the scope of the existing agreement with Embraer. Also the Portuguese shipbuilding and repair sector has shipyards with competitive capacity and internationally recognized quality. That is why, according to the minister, "the Portuguese Government wants to proceed with the construction, in Portugal, of the new naval means provided for in the Military Programming Law". The integration of Portugal into the program funded by the European Commission Space Survaillance and Tracking (SST), where France also participates, has enabled the development of national capacities. And the installation of the NATO Communications and Information Academy in Oeiras, starting in September, will strengthen national capacity to develop training and training.
Article published in the edition nº1990, of May 24 of the Jornal Econômico