The Informal Meeting of EU Defence Ministers was held in Berlin today at the invitation of High Representative Josep Borrell and Federal Minister of Defence Annegret Kramp- Karrenbauer. It was the first physical ministerial meeting at EU level since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. It took place in accordance with the appropriate regulations.
Here at the defence ministers’ meeting – as anywhere – the coronavirus reminds us that we Europeans must stand together. European solidarity gives us strength. This idea is the common thread that runs through Germany’s EU Council Presidency. We must now achieve two things together at the same time: We must pull Europe out of the COVID crisis, and, as Europeans in a dramatically changing world, we must increase our resilience and our ability to act.
During three working sessions and various bilateral talks, the ministers engaged in intensive exchange. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and UN Under-Secretary-General for Peace Operations Jean-Pierre Lacroix were invited to join the working session on the EU’s operational commitments as part of operations and missions of the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP).
Another working session focused on the new Strategic Compass. The Strategic Compass is to give the EU a common strategic direction. In an initial step, a common threat analysis will be conducted during the German Council Presidency, which is a first at European level.
I am very pleased with the comprehensive support of my European colleagues that emerged during our consultations on the plans and objectives for our Council Presidency, particularly as regards the Strategic Compass.
During a working dinner, the ministers discussed the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the way ahead for the EU in the field of defence after the crisis.