A focus of the virtual meeting was an exchange of views on the Strategic Compass, which aims to provide the EU with a common strategic direction in security and defence policy in order to enable quicker action in the event of a crisis. The development of the Strategic Compass is a key goal of Germany’s Presidency of the Council of the EU.

Another agenda item was the strategic review of the Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO). The foreign and defence ministers of 25 EU member states committed themselves to the initiative, which was launched in December 2017. Its goal is to make the EU’s security and defence policy more binding, to implement joint defence projects and to strengthen the EU’s operational readiness. The ministers adopted Council conclusions on PESCO.

Josep Borrell also briefed ministers on current affairs, particularly the situation in Mali and Operation IRINI, an EU mission to enforce the UN arms embargo on Libya.