Another step forward for European defence

Another step forward for European defence

I write after a week spent between Brussels and the Gulf. Last Monday I chaired the monthly meeting of European Foreign Ministers, which was the opportunity to host the Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok: his country has chosen democracy and we – as the European Union – are trying to give our full support to this transition, from a political and economic point of view (press release here). We then dealt with the situation in Afghanistan after the presidential election, with the situation in the Gulf and the nuclear deal with Iran, and we discussed the latest developments in Bolivia. Press conference here. And this is our statement from last Monday on the International Atomic Energy Agency’s latest report on Iran, together with the Foreign Ministers of France, Germany and the UK. We also discussed the situation in Bolivia on Wednesday at the European Parliament’s plenary session, here is the debate. And here are the debates on Turkey’s drilling activities off the Cypriot coast and on the situation in Chile. Last Tuesday I chaired the meeting of the Union’s Defence Ministers. Together we hosted NATO’s deputy Secretary-General Mircea Geoană to discuss EU-NATO cooperation, before we moved to two other issues. We approved thirteen new projects in the framework of our Permanent Structured Cooperation on defence, spanning from common trainings to missile defence. And we worked on our European military and civilian missions, to guarantee that they always have the necessary resources – we focused in particular on key areas such as the Sahel and the Horn of Africa. There were also some positive steps forward regarding Operation Sophia’s future. Here is the press...
European defence and Iran deal, the work goes on

European defence and Iran deal, the work goes on

I write at the end of a week spent in Helsinki with the Foreign and Defence Ministers of the Union. With the Defence Ministers we worked on three crucial issues for our security. For the first time ever, we discussed together how climate change is becoming a threat to our common security – to tackle natural disasters, the conflicts sparked by climate change, and too reduce the environmental impact of our defence systems. Second, we dealt again with cyber-security and how to govern the use of artificial intelligence in weapon systems, together with the tech leaders that I gathered in our Global Tech Panel. And third, we also talked about coordinating our Member States’ naval presence in crisis theatres or in areas of strategic interest for Europe – with Coordinated Maritime Presences. Finally, with the Defence and Foreign Ministers together, we talked hybrid threats and our response to them. The path towards greater European cooperation on defence continues. Here is the final press conference and here is what I told journalists before the meeting. On Thursday and Friday the work went on with Foreign Ministers. We worked on the situation in the Middle East, particularly in Syria and in the Gulf, and on how to preserve the nuclear deal with Iran – including in a meeting with the Foreign Ministers of France, Germany and the UK which I called in the margins of the main meeting. We also dealt with the Arctic and the situation in Hong Kong. Then a session with our six partners in the Balkans, to discuss how to step up cooperation and integration in this crucial part...