The cooperation in several initiatives of the European defence area is progressing, as it is the case of the PESCO (the Permanent Structured Cooperation in the area of security and defence policy) and the EDF (the European Defence Fund), EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini stated on Thursday after the informal meeting of the defence ministers of the EU member states, which was held at the Palace of Parliament in Bucharest.
As you well know, no decisions are taken within the informal ministerial meetings, but these meetings are very important in order to discuss, in an unofficial framework, about our common work, Mogherini stated. This morning, the ministers talked about the path that needs to be followed in terms of the European defence. You know that for a few years, we established a completely new cooperation framework in the defence area, she added. For me it is a reason of pride, because this is an area where the European cooperation stagnated or got postponed for decades and several years ago we managed to advance this historic matter. The minister estimated that the level of implementation of all the various decisions taken in respect to the European defence is progressing, head of the European diplomacy Mogherini told a press conference held after the informal meeting of the European defence ministers, organised by the Romanian Presidency at the EU Council.
The Vice-President of the European Commission wanted to mention that there is no contradiction between wanting a tighter and faster cooperation in the defence area among some of the member states and maintaining European unity in agreement with the Treaty of Lisbon. She said that this is precisely why the permanent structured cooperation was launched several years ago. I continue to see an extremely European approach both from France and Germany, and other countries that, for instance, were at the center of the PESCO initiative, at that time, she added. I continue to see and hear about intentions to invest in the European framework. (…) I believe that in this particular area, the more countries cooperate, whether they are capabilities, industrial projects or European-level operations, as they do now, the better for Europe, Federica Mogherini explained.
She mentioned that there are already over 30 ongoing projects within the PESCO.
On the other hand, according to the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the defence ministers insisted on Thursday on the need to integrate new EU instruments of the defence are in the national defence planning systems, making it extremely important to fully capitalise on this instruments’ potential.
Another topic of the agenda of the informal meeting of the defence ministers was the necessity to enhance and coordinate investments in key-technologies, including in the area of artificial intelligence. Mogherini said that it is an important issue for the entire world and for Europe, and she mentioned her intention to put this topic on the official agenda of the meeting of the foreign affairs ministers.
EU official calls for continuation of Operation Sophia
EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini, attending on Thursday an event in Bucharest, called on member states to reach consensus on the continuation of Operation Sophia, the EU’s Mediterranean anti-trafficking naval mission.
All defense ministers of the member states have said that Operation Sophia is fundamental, necessary, vital, and member states now must find consensus for the operation to continue, the EU top diplomat said at the press conference delivered jointly with Minister of National Defense Gabriel Les after the informal meeting of the EU Defecse Ministers.
Mogherini added that Sophia is one of EU’s most successful foreign operations.
Head of EU diplomacy Mogherini asks release of journalists arrested in Venezuela
Head of the European diplomacy Federica Mogherini requested on Thursday in Bucharest, after the informal meeting of the defence ministers of the EU, the release, as soon as possible, of the journalists arrested in Venezuela.
It is a clear call on my behalf so you colleagues in Caracas be released immediately, she mentioned. I firmly believe that all the journalists must be able to exercise their duties and responsibilities corresponding to their profession, the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy added. I personally request the journalists’ release, Mogherini told a news conference at the end of the informal meeting of the defence ministers of the EU, an event organised at the Palace of Parliament by the Romanian Presidency at the EU Council.
She mentioned that this topic will be discussed as well in the informal meeting of the foreign affairs ministers of the EU, which is scheduled to take place on Thursday and Friday in Bucharest.
Two French journalists and three colleagues of the EFE news agency – a Spanish reporter, a Columbian cameraman and a Columbian photo-reporter, as well as their Venezuelan driver were arrested in Caracas. Moreover, two Chilean journalists have already been expelled from Venezuela.
Les: Discussions in Bucharest generated a positive exchange of opinions on topical security issues
Discussions carried out by the defence ministers in the 28 EU states at the informal meeting in Bucharest were fruitful, generating a positive exchange of opinions on topical security issues and topics related to the future of EU defence, Minister of Defence Gabriel Les stated on Thursday.
“Discussions carried out by the defence ministers in the 28 EU states during the two days were fruitful, generating a positive exchange of opinions related to topical security issues and topics related to the future of EU defence. The recent developments in the regional and international space urge us to grant a special attention to these dimensions. The meeting in Bucharest was carried out in a very special moment, when we are evaluating the achievements of the past two years and a half, since EU made an important step in strengthening its role in the security and defence fields. The way I see things, the discussions carried out during these two days gave a new impulse to these efforts,” said Les, at the press conference at the end of the meeting.
He underscored that the defence minister analyzed “the impact of the current trends in technological innovation on the armed forces and the manner in which the EU instruments can contribute to solve the challenges they involve.”
Gabriel Les also mentioned that the discussions in Bucharest also showed the need of strengthening cooperation between the EU, NATO and the UN.