Defence ministers from seven European countries — Germany, France, Spain, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands and Poland — decided, on November 19, to launch a common programme for the manufacture and use of use of drones to begin in 2020, reports Les Echos.

The agreement provides for cooperation on “training, certification, logistics, maintenance and development of unmanned aircraft,” explains the daily, which adds that —

… European countries are currently using American or Israeli military drones, but without the possibility of obtaining certification to allow them to fly in European airspace.

Three major industrial groups, which had already presented a drone project — EADS, France’s Dassault Aviation and Italy’s Finmeccanica — are exepected to collaborate in the venture, explains Les Echos

The launch of these programmes should be validated by European heads of state and government in the course of a summit in December, which will be partly devoted to defence issues.

At the same time, notes the newspaper —

The European Defence Agency has been tasked with a common research programme to develop the dual usage drones for military and civilian purposes. These aircraft can be very useful for the surveillance of borders and seas like the Mediterranean.