Claude-France Arnould is the Chief Executive of the European Defence, having assumed the role on 17 January 2011. In October 2013,Member States unanimously extended hermandate by an additional year until 15 January 2015. Previously, Ms. Arnould worked on defence matters in other EU positions. She led the Crisis Management and Planning Directorate (CMPD) at the General Secretariat of the Council of the European Union, between 2009 and 2010, and as Director for Defence Issues at the General Secretariat of the Council ofthe European Union from 2001 to 2009 (incharge of operations, military capabilities, partnerships and chair of the EU SatelliteCentre Board).

Earlier in her career (1998-2001), Ms. Arnould worked as Director of International and Strategic Affairs at the French National Defence General Secretariat /Prime Minister (preparation of national “Council of Defence”, CIEMG / interagency process for weapons exports control, armaments and space issues).

Claude-France Arnould started her career at the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, as Desk Officer at the North America Directorate (1981-1983). Afterwards, she became Desk Officer at the Economic and Financial Affairs Directorate, at the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs (1983-1986), responsible for EC trade policy and external relations. After serving at the Private Office of the Minister for European Affairs (dealing with Community issues), in 1987, she became Secretary-General of the French National School for Public Administration (ENA), until 1989. In 1989, she was appointed Deputy Director of European Community Affairs, at the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs (in charge of external relations, trade, budget, institutions, CAP and development). She was then posted in Germany, as First Counsellor of the French Embassy (1994-1998).

Ms. Arnould has been “Ministre plénipotentiaire” (French Ministry of Foreign Affairs) since June 2001. She is a former student of the Ecole normale supérieure, and holds an agrégation in Classics and a degree in art and archaeology. Ms. Arnould is a former student of the Ecole Nationale d’Administration (ENA). Claude-France Arnould has been awarded the distinctions of Chevalier de la Légion d’honneur, Officier de l’Ordre National du Mérite and Bundesverdienstkreuz Erster Klasse.

Claude-France Arnould’s 10 from 10

  • 2013 was a special year for European defence in many aspects. Not only did we celebrate a decade of EU operational missions, but we also witnessed a meeting of the European Council that put defense in the spotlight for the first time in five years.
  • Ten years ago, the European Defence Agency was also created to support efficient cooperation between European countries. Since 2004, EDA has assisted member states in the development of concrete and operational projects that are critical for current and future missions.
  • Last December,  Heads of State and Government gave their support to the Agency to develop programmes in four areas: Drones, Air-to-Air Refuelling, Governmental Satellite Communication, and Cyber Defence, capabilities that have proven essential in military operations over the last decade.
  • EDA’s à la carte offer has proved a successful way to push forward European defence cooperation. This flexible approach, with projects ranging from just two participating Member States upwards, ensures cooperation advances in a pragmatic way, reflecting the realities and ambitions of our members.
  • Over the years, the Agency has demonstrated its ability to successfully deliver tools to the battlefield through cooperative projects. As a concrete example, our Counter-IED laboratory has been deployed in Afghanistan helping tackle what had been the deadliest threat to coalition forces.
  • The helicopter training course supported by EDA has also demonstrated its value by training more than 250 flying crews, providing them with common procedures and tactics for deployment in theatres of operation.
  • To ensure their freedom of action, Member States need to be able to rely on a strong defence industrial base. EDA aims to strengthen this industrial base through consolidation of demand, harmonisation and simplification of certification procedures, helping governments and companies, in particular SMEs, to adapt to the EU regulatory environment.
  • There will be no long-lasting European defence industrial base without innovation. In these times of budgetary pressure, it is therefore necessary for EU Member States to maintain their investment in research & technology. EDA promotes and manages cooperative projects in several key areas through joint investment initiatives and multinational projects.
  • In 1939, striving to persuade the French parliament to increase the defence budget, Paul Reynaud said: “Have the army of your politics, or the politics of your army”. He got his funding, but far too late. The argument remains valid today, if we say we are a global player and that we want to stand up for our values and our interests then we must have the capabilities that allow us to do so.
  • Let’s not look for excuses for not taking action now: the political will is here. It was clearly expressed by Heads of State and Government in December, on the basis of concrete preparations by Defence Ministers. Now is the time for implementation and that will require the full commitment of Chiefs of Defence, Armament Directors and all their staff.