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France, Germany, and Spain may agree on fighter jet agreement next week

Disagreements over intellectual property rights mean that the three EU nations, Germany, France, and Spain have still to agree on the next steps for a joint fighter jet project, the defence ministry in Berlin said on Saturday after a deadline to find a solution ran out. 

Last week, the defence ministers of Germany and France set an end-April deadline to broker a deal over the Future Combat Air System (FCAS), Europe’s largest defence project.  

“No agreement over the use of the intellectual property rights has been found yet. For Germany, unrestricted access to the results of the jointly financed research is of utmost importance. The countries are aiming for an agreement next week,” a ministry spokeswoman said. 

The development of the fighter jet is costing more than 100 billion euros ($120 billion) to Germany, France, and Spain. Berlin’s defence ministry spokeswoman said there needed to be an adequate arrangement for the use of intellectual property rights in the jet which respected the interests of all participants in the project. She said negotiations were continuing and it remained Germany’s goal to present a proposal to the parliament’s budget committee in June.  

The next step of the jet’s development is conditional on the German parliament’s approval, and time is running out to find a solution to present a proposal in time for the parliament’s budget committee to vote upon it before a general election in September. 

Earlier this week, MTU Aero, Safran, and ITP Aero solved their row about the development and production of the jet’s engines, agreeing to share the workload evenly between the three companies.

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