Although most of its legal provisions are agreed, the European Defence Fund (EDF) cannot be approved - at the earliest - before late 2019, according to EU officials. At play are two big issues: what its ultimate budget will be, and how exactly the EDF will enable third country companies to participate in its EU-funded defence research and capability projects.
"We're a bit at the mercy of events beyond our control for the moment," an EU diplomat told Jane's on 8 May. "It's wait and see."
Along with approval by the Council of the EU, the EDF's budget requires the final blessing of members of the European Parliament.