Slovak Minister for Defence Peter Gajdoš welcomed his counterparts, the defence ministers of the other EU Member States, to the capital. At the informal meeting of the EU defence ministers, led by the European Union's High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice-President of the European Commission, Federica Mogherini, the ministers discussed the implementation of the Global Strategy for the European Union's Foreign and Security Policy (EUGS) and strengthening co-operation with NATO. They also talked about the EU operations in the Sahel region and Libya with a view to resolving the root causes of illegal migration.
During the informal talks, the defence ministers of the EU Member States followed up on the conclusions of the recent Bratislava Summit. The 28 leaders of the Ministries of Defence agreed unanimously on the need to react to today's threats.
'As defence ministers of the EU Member States, we realise that we must jointly build and extend capabilities so as to be able to adequately respond and protect our countries in every operational domain,' said Peter Gajdoš, adding that the current situation is less than ideal and that decisions need to be adopted to make the European Union strong not only economically, but also from a military standpoint. As regards NATO-EU relations, he emphasised that it is important to cooperate and to avoid duplicity.
During the first panel, the participants focused on the EUGS and the European Defence Action Plan (EDAP), the latter of which is to be finalised at the end of 2016 with the primary aim of boosting the defence industry. The second panel engaged in discussions on EU-NATO co-operation. The significance of this theme was confirmed by the presence at the session of NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.
The discussions centred on implementing the Joint EU-NATO Declaration adopted in Warsaw. Amongst other things, there is a general consensus on the need to pursue joint actions against hybrid threats and cyber security. During the working lunch, the ministers reflected on issues relating to the EU operations and missions in the Sahel region and Libya, which are expected to contribute to security and stability in the region and to tackle the hotspots of illegal migration.
The participants in the EU defence ministers’ meeting expressed their unity and shared commitment to reinforcing the European Union's security and defence policy. The ministers agreed on the need to take the necessary steps towards achieving this goal – to effectively protect the populations of Europe against the security threats and risks of today and tomorrow.
Remarks by the High Representative/Vice-President Federica Mogherini at the press conference