Panel I is a unique body, which takes care of promoting cost-effective programmes which fulfil WEAG nations operational requirements, while improving European defence industrial capability and competitiveness.
The Panel, mainly, makes its work following a bottom-up system, trying to identify coincidences in national capabilities requirements. In the future, it may very well be accomplished in a different way, if it is required to do so. This means that the work of the Panel might be accommodated to any European Defence Plan.
To accomplish the annual Equipment Review Cycle, nations send every year to the Panel I Database Co-ordinator a list of the programmes for which they are open to collaboration and with timeframes of three years and beyond. He sends all those programmes to the relevant Area Chairmen (Joint, Land, Air, and Maritime). Within each Area, all entries from nations are evaluated, and whenever a coincidence in requirements and in the in-service dates (ISD) is identified, the nations involved are invited to continue the investigation within a Subgroup (SG).
This is the way to prepare the future project collaborations, by means of a very well detailed process, included in our Manual (D-106). The system should allow the SG to produce a European Staff Target (EST) to create a Project Group (PG), with the purpose to drive it to a Developmental Project or to a Joint Procurement off the Shelf. The third possibility is that no EST is possible. However, the ability to embark on a collaborative programme ultimately depends on the willingness of the individual nations to participate.
European nations very well know the existence of PG in Panel recent history (the Mine-hunter, the A400M, M483/864 155 mm. Artillery ammo., TRIGAT AC3G –third generation of anti-tank weapons- STINGER missile, TIGER light attack helicopter) and Users Group (UG) (MISTRAL missile)
At their 21st Meeting, at Maastricht in October 2003, the WEAG NADs decided to offer our most appreciated strengths to the future European Defence Agency. The three main elements to be offered to the Agency, at the earliest opportunity, should be the ERS Database, the Manual (D-106), and the extant Subgroups. This is the reason why I request all nations to collaborate to maintain those assets as up to date as possible before the eventual transfer takes place.
Thank you very much.