The Agency falls under the authority of the Council of the EU, to which it reports and from which it receives guidelines. EDA is the only EU Agency whose Steering Board meets at ministerial level. At the meetings of this governing body, Defence Ministers decide on the annual budget, the three year work programme and the annual work plan as well as on projects, programmes and new initiatives. The Head of Agency, who is the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, is also Vice-President of the European Commission. The EDA Chief Executive is appointed by decision of the Steering Board. In addition to ministerial meetings at least twice a year, the Steering Board also meets at the level of National Armaments Directors, R&T Directors and Capability Directors. Networks of national Points of Contacts (POCs) have an important role in the coordination of the Agency’s work with the Member States: Central POCs (for the preparation of the ministerial Steering Board as well as organisational, institutional and budgetary matters), Capability POCs, Research & Technology POCs and National Armaments Directors' POCs.
The European Defence Agency (EDA) is an intergovernmental Agency of the European Council. Currently, 27 countries – all EU Member States except Denmark – participate in EDA. Following the mission of the Agency, “to support the Member States and the Council in their effort to improve European defence capabilities (…)” cooperation with the Member States is very close; be it on the top-level through the Steering Board which sets EDA’s priorities or at the working level in expert teams. Indeed, EDA currently connects around 4,000 national based-experts in cooperative defence projects. On a monthly basis, the Agency receives around 1,000 visitors in its premises in Brussels ensuring that projects are tightly knit to Member States’ needs. Member States contribute to the Agency’s annual budget according to a GNP-based formula and approve its work plan. Through the Agency’s “à la carte” approach, Member States can decide whether or not to participate in Agency projects according to national needs. Likewise, the results achieved by the Agency are for the benefit of its Member States. The Agency signed Administrative Arrangements with Norway (2006), Switzerland (2012), the Republic of Serbia (2013) and the Ukraine (2015) enabling them to participate in EDA’s projects and programmes. All Administrative Arrangements are approved by the European Council. The Head of the Agency is responsible for negotiating these arrangements in accordance with directives given by the EDA Steering Board. The Agency only employs some 130 staff. But through various networks of national experts the Agency currently involves around 4,000 defence specialists. These networks of experts are crucial for EDA’s work as they ensure coherence with national priorities. National experts are organised in Integrated Development Teams (IDTs), Project Teams (PTs) as well as CapTechs in the research & technology domain. Additionally, Adhoc Working Groups comprised of national experts can be formed for any given subject.