Despite the global crisis affecting the entire world, the EU is ready to reaffirm its identity. The importance of strengthening EU defence initiatives has been put forward on the two Council Meetings celebrated this month on the 6th and 10th of May where Defence Ministers and Ministers of Foreign Affairs respectively, were debriefed by the High Representative, Josep Borrell, about current affairs and the willingness of the EU to pursue a more strategic action on the security and defence field.
The Spanish Youth Atlantic Treaty Association considers that it is important to highlight the EU’s geostrategic position and the role it will play in the future, as well as to emphasize the main developments to tackle global security threats and challenges.
The EU’s main concern was the situation of Palestine in relation with the significant violence in East Jerusalem and Gaza. The Council reiterated that “all leaders have a responsibility to act against extremists” and reaffirmed the unacceptable firing of rockets against civil population. During the following days, other several manifestations were stressed by different EU personalities condemning the civilian casualties and the threats to Human Rights. The Council also expressed its concern on the situation on Lebanon where the humanitarian situation continues to deteriorate and the High Representative informed on the future measures that the EU will put in place to overcome the dire humanitarian situation.
Strengthening strategic partnerships
The Council held a strategic discussion on the Western Balkans and the elements of reinforced EU engagement in the region underlying the importance of economic cooperation, political engagement, and the need for collaboration against the fight of the Covid19 pandemic. A called was made to Western Balkan countries to accelerate EU-related reforms.
The Ministers also discussed the geo-strategic priority of the EU in the Horn of Africa adopting the new strategy for the region reinforcing a joint approach on key elements like: democracy, regional peace and security, social and human development and trade and regional integration.
Finally, the Council exchanged some opinions on the ongoing implementation of the Iran nuclear deal, The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) also known as the Iran Nuclear deal. Endorsed by the UN, the agreement designed to set strict limitations on access to nuclear material and equipment. The High Representative and the Ministers touched the issue since is crucial not only in terms of nuclear non-proliferation but also essential for the global security.
Strategic Compass, with focus on crisis management
One of the main points on the agenda were the discussions focused on the Strategic Compass which aims at giving the EU a common strategic direction in the area of security and defense in the next 5 to 10 years. This strategy is being discussed since 2020, but it seems that the High Representative is willing to take a new forward with concrete actions specifically on crisis management and therefore, on the improvement of civilian and military CSDP missions. The High Representative expressed the need for more flexibility in this area to enhance coordination and cooperation in military operations since the EU wants to be fully equipped to be able to respond quickly to crisis.
PESCO project Military Mobility
PESCO, the Permanent Structured Cooperation is a Treaty-based framework and process created to deepen defence cooperation amongst EU Member States who are capable and willing to do so to jointly develop defence capabilities and make them available for EU military operations. In the meeting, the Council agreed on inviting Canada, Norway and the United States to participate in the project. According to the High Representative, “their expertise will contribute to the project and it will improve military mobility within and beyond the EU, making EU defence more efficient”.
To conclude, the priority interest in the EU agenda is strengthening the security and defence system from a more operational perspective. The EU is making real efforts to position itself as a leading actor in the present and future challenges and it is committed to not only strengthen partnerships, but also increase the various projects and instruments at its disposal to demonstrate that there is a truly robust and common security system in place.