France, German, Italian and Spanish Defence Ministers reaffirm their strong commitment to Europe

By EDR On-Line Editorial Staff

30 May 2020 – In a letter sent to Josep Borrell, the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, and to their European colleagues, the Defence Ministers of France, Germany, Italy and Spain, respectively Florence Parly, Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, Lorenzo Guerini and María Margarita Robles Fernández, reaffirmed their commitment towards an enhanced European cooperation in the security and defence fields. This letter, which follows the COVID-19 crisis that deeply affected Europe, sees the four Ministers sharing their thoughts on a series of topics, their aim and willing being to enhance unity, resiliency and sovereignty of Europe.

Following the recent pandemia, the four Ministries underline the need to increase the solidarity and resilience of the EU and its Member States to be able to better cope with crisis of different types, involving their national Armed Forces to support civil crisis management. Disinformation,m hybrid and cyberattacks can also require the support of military assets to strengthen other organisations.

The Ministers reaffirm the key role of PESCO (Permanent Structured Cooperation), underlining that Phase 2, in the 2021-25 timeframe, should lead to considerable progress especially in military operations.

One of the effects of the current crisis was to highlight the heavy dependence of Europe in critical areas, thus the four underline the need to strengthen the defence technological and industrial base in order to become more and more autonomous in key areas, the EDA (European Defence Agency) being called to play a vital role in this process.

A common defence stance must originate from a shared threat analysis, the Ministers calling for the development of a “Strategic Compass” that would allow to better specify the EU level of ambition.

The European Union should also strengthen its operational commitment, reinforcing the CSDP (Common Security and Defence Policy) while also strengthening the European command structures.

Improving the coherence of EU tools and maintaining a high level of cooperation with the Atlantic Alliance and partners remain key elements.

All this to make further steps towards a stronger European Defence.

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