Photo: Andreea Tănase (MFA)
The meeting of the political directors of the ministries of defense of the Member States of the European Union was held in Bucharest on 17 and 18 January, in the context of Romania’s Presidency of the Council of the European Union.
The agenda of the talks covered important topics related to the security and defense of the European Union, including cooperation between the EU and NATO, particularly in the framework of joint exercises, the future of European defense, and the developments and perspectives of Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO).
Thus, on the first day of the meeting, representatives of the Member States, together with EU officials and representatives of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO), discussed the lessons learned from the EU HEX-ML 18 crisis management exercise (PACE) – held last year, and considered the possibility of improving European crisis response mechanisms, as well as strengthening EU-NATO cooperation in general and, during exercices, in particular.
The second day of the meeting was dedicated to the future of European defense, discussing the progress achieved in 2018 and aimed at analyzing options for the increase of the EU’s ability to act as a security provider and to enhance the EU’s strategic autonomy. In this context, European officials discussed the coherent and coordinated implementation of initiatives launched under the Common Security and Defense Policy (CSDP), including Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO), the Annual Coordination Review Process (CARD) and the European Defense Fund (EDF).
A special work session was dedicated to PESCO, in which the political directors had an exchange of views on the processes for identifying, evaluating and selecting projects under the aegis of Permanent Structured Cooperation.
The meeting in Bucharest – attended by representatives of the 28 EU Member States, the European External Action Service, the European Defense Agency, the European Commission and NATO – was a good opportunity to prepare the EU’s Informal Meeting of the Defence Ministers, which will occur on the 30th and 31st of January at the Palace of Parliament in Bucharest.