Tomorrow, 7 September, the Estonian Presidency of the Council of the European Union will host the informal meeting of EU defence ministers. In the course of the meeting, the ministers will participate in the strategic cyber training exercise EU CYBRID 2017 and discuss the topic of security challenges in the European neighbourhood. The subject of discussion at the joint working lunch of defence and foreign affairs ministers will be the implementation of the European Union defence initiatives.
The informal meeting of defence ministers will be led by Federica Mogherini, High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, with Estonian Minister for Defence Jüri Luik serving as the host of the meeting.
According to Minister for Defence Jüri Luik, Estonia has, during its Presidency, an important role to play in moving forward the European Union defence cooperation. "It is important that the new European Union defence policy initiatives, regarding which we are hoping to reach decisions by the end of the year, will lead to actual growth of the military capabilities of the member states," said Defence Minister Luik, although emphasising at the same time that NATO continues to ensure collective defence in Europe. "The European Union defence cooperation has opened the opportunity to increase Europe’s contribution to NATO," added Luik.
The strategic cyber exercise EU CYBRID 2017 is the first cyber table-top training exercise for EU Defence Ministers, with the aim to direct attention to the importance of cyber defence in the European Union's military operations. The objective of the training exercise is to identify the means at the disposal of the European Union in the event that a cyber-attack should take place against the EU’s military structures. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg will also be taking part as an observer in the training exercise EU CYBRID 2017.
The topic of the second working session for the ministers for defence is security problems in the neighbourhood of Europe, above all in the Sahel and Horn of Africa regions. The ministers will discuss how the EU could effectively support these regions with various instruments at its disposal. The discussion will also cover possibilities of increasing local authorities’ capabilities, which would contribute to the growth of peace and stability in these regions.
At their joint working lunch with the foreign ministers, the defence ministers will discuss the implementation of the European Union defence initiatives. Member states, having taken into consideration the security situation, reached the decision that Europe requires greater cooperation in the field of defence and are developing the terms and conditions for permanent structured cooperation (PESCO). The objective of PESCO is to help member states in growing their military capabilities and the availability thereof.
Another topic at the joint working lunch is the Commission’s initiative to start supporting Europe’s defence industry and cross-border cooperation between defence industry companies, the goal of which must be an innovative and internationally competitive European defence industry. Estonia leads the working group that is composing a statute of the fund supporting this goal.