EU defence ministers meet in Brussels
The Minister of Defence Matej Tonin today attended a session of the Foreign Affairs Council in Brussels composed of the defence ministers of the European Union. The session was intended for discussion on the implementation of the Strategic Compass, with an emphasis on the future operations and missions of the Common Security and Defence Policy and the military aggression against Ukraine.
The main part of the session was dedicated to the implementation of the Strategic Compass, with an emphasis on the future operations and missions of the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP). The ministers agreed that the guidance document of the European External Action Service (EEAS) is an opportunity to optimise the military instruments of the CSDP, as well as to develop new models and capabilities that will make European defence more effective. Ways to improve the force generation process and speed up decision-making and make it more flexible, as made possible by Article 44 of the Treaty on European Union, was also discussed.
Minister Matej Tonin endorsed the proposed approach to improving the effectiveness of military missions for which rapid implementation on the ground will be crucial. He assessed that it is essential to strengthen ownership in countries where missions and operations operate, including placing a greater emphasis on strategic communication. More attention must be paid to raising public awareness of the situation, strategic anticipation and preparedness.
At a working lunch, the defence ministers discussed Russia's military aggression against Ukraine in the presence of NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and Ukrainian Defence Minister Oleksii Reznikov. The ministers noted the importance of providing continued and long-term support for Ukraine. The sanctions against Russia imposed by the EU so far and donations of military equipment through the European Peace Facility (EPF) were assessed as successful in that their rapid and consensual adoption reflects the exceptional unity of the EU. Being prepared is a fourth EPF aid package, worth EUR 500 million, which was presented at yesterday's meeting of the Foreign Affairs Council (FAC) by EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell.
Minister Tonin especially noted the importance of maintaining the 360-degree approach and presence of the EU in other operational areas, such as the Western Balkans, where there is a risk of spreading of the negative consequences of the war in Ukraine. In this regard, he welcomed the recent adoption of assistance measures for the Balkan Medical Task Force (BMTF), which is a good example of support for our partners in the immediate neighbourhood.
On the margins of the meeting, Minister Tonin also met with the Minister of Defence of the Czech Republic, Jana Černochova, to discuss bilateral cooperation between the countries and activities as part of the forthcoming Czech Presidency of the Council of the EU.