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EU Foreign Affairs Council, in Brussels

Margarita Robles highlights firm EU commitment to common defence policy

Monday 19 November 2018

During a joint presentation with the Spanish Minister for Foreign Affairs, Josep Borrell, Margarita Robles said there is a clear, firm and decisive commitment from the EU to a defence and security policy of a common nature capable of strengthening future EU capabilities against modern threats.

"Within that PESCO framework, we are going to continue working towards a security and defence policy that in no way conflicts with or excludes the NATO policies", said the Spanish Minister for Defence.

Furthermore, Margarita Robles stressed that today's meeting is important because the status of this common policy has never been better and that "Spain is a serious and reliable partner that is going to strengthen its commitment to the EU".

Meeting of the European Council

The initiatives forming part of the EU's Global Strategy in this regard were examined at Monday's meeting, including the Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO), the annual coordinated defence review, the European Defence Fund, military mobility, the Military Planning and Conduct Capability, the agreement on the civilian aspects of the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) and the proposed European Peace Fund.

The EU is also working on the development of civilian capabilities and an improved response capacity in civilian crisis management, especially through the creation of a basic response capacity.

Cooperation with NATO and EU operations

The agenda for this council includes two additional meetings, which will take place on Tuesday without the participation of the foreign affairs ministers.

The first of them will discuss EU-NATO cooperation. The defence ministers will examine the progress of EU-NATO cooperation with the NATO Secretary General, Jens Stoltenberg. Such issues as hybrid threats and military mobility will be discussed at this meeting.

The EU and NATO began cooperating more than 15 years ago. This has led to the development of a broad range of instruments to offer greater security to the general public in Europe and beyond.

Subsequently, a further meeting will begin to examine the operations and missions deployed by the EU in Europe, Africa and the Middle East under the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP). The EU has 16 operational missions at present; 10 of them are civilian and the remaining six are military in nature.

Spain has troops involved in six EU missions: EUNAVFOR MED Sophia in the Mediterranean; EUTM RCA in the Central African Republic; EUTM Somalia; EUTM Mali; EUNAVFOR Atalanta in the Indian Ocean; and EUFOR Althea in Bosnia-Herzegovina.

Non official translation