The European Defence Agency was established under a Joint Action of the Council of Ministers on 12 July, 2004 in order to:
improve the EU's defence capabilities especially in the field of crisis management;
promote EU armaments cooperation;
strengthen the EU defence industrial and technological base and create a competitive European defence equipment market;
promote research, with a view to strengthening Europe's industrial and technological potential in the defence field.
Consequently, the Agency's current tasks include:
to create a comprehensive and systematic approach when defining and meeting the needs of the European Security and Defence Policy; to promote defence equipment collaborations between the EU Member States;
to assist in the development and overall restructuring of the European defence industry;
to promote EU defence-related Research and Technology, while keeping in mind European policy priorities;
to work, in close cooperation with the Commission, for the development of an internationally competitive market for defence equipment in Europe.
The Agency's "comparative advantage" is its ability to deal with all these agendas, and relate them so as to realise their synergies.