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Minister Šarec at the meeting of NATO Ministers of Defence

Marjan Šarec, the Minister of Defence of the Republic of Slovenia, attended the meeting of NATO Ministers of Defence in Brussels. The war in Ukraine, strengthening the deterrence and defence of the Alliance, investing in defence and incentives to increase stocks of military equipment and industrial capacities were at the forefront of the ministers’ discussions. On the margins of the meeting, Minister Šarec signed a declaration on strengthening bilateral cooperation with Christine Lambrecht, the German Federal Minister of Defence.

The ministers started the meeting with a discussion of NATO’s support to Ukraine, in which the Ukrainian Defence Minister Reznikov and defence ministers of Finland and Sweden also participated, the latter two being invited for the first time to attend the meeting. Prior to this meeting, the Ukraine Defence Contact Group meeting took place, which focused on the medium-term support to Ukraine with military assistance. Minister Šarec stressed the importance of maintaining unity. Slovenia will continue to firmly support Ukraine with various forms of aid. "Since the beginning of the invasion, Slovenia has provided humanitarian, material and military assistance to Ukraine. We are also examining the possibility of active participation in the training of the Ukrainian forces within the anticipated EU Military Assistance Mission for Ukraine and other activities in connection with training."

On the second day, the meeting of the Nuclear Planning Group took place first and was followed by a discussion on deterrence and defence, which focussed on the initiative to discuss the stock of military equipment and increase the capacities of the defence industry, including the efforts to protect critical infrastructure.

The meeting ended with a discussion of NATO operations and missions, which was also attended by Josep Borrell, the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy. Minister Šarec highlighted that Slovenia remains committed to contributing to international security and stability by participating in international operations and missions, with a special emphasis on the Western Balkans and the Alliance’s eastern flank.

Today, the Minister of Defence, Marjan Šarec, also met with Christine Lambrecht, the German Federal Minister of Defence. During their meeting, the ministers signed the declaration on strengthening bilateral cooperation. At the signing, Minister Šarec emphasised that the sharing of joint values and the maintenance of strong relations are becoming ever more important on the basis of the current good political and economic partnership between Slovenia and Germany and in the light of current security challenges. "Based on the signed statement, we will continue to develop our defence cooperation at the bilateral level, as well as within various frameworks and initiatives. I believe this is an excellent opportunity to not only implement politics in practice, but to realise our joint visions regarding exercises, training, joint participation in operations and missions, development of capacities and joint cooperation in equipment."

On the margins of the meeting, Minister Šarec and 14 of his counterparts signed a letter of intent on strengthening the European pillar in the Integrated Air and Missile Defence (IAMD) by developing the European Sky Shield Initiative. The initiative presents a practical approach to the progress in strengthening NATO air and missile capacities in Europe. A brief meeting of NATO Ministers of Defence participating in the Enhanced Forward Presence (eFP) in Latvia and in the Framework Nation Concept (FNC) led by Germany also took place.