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EU defense ministers discuss cooperation, security of Western Balkans
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    Topics - Defence Matters ENG - News

    EU defense ministers discuss cooperation, security of Western Balkans

    TALLINN, Aug 30, BNS - At their informal two-day meeting in the Austrian capital Vienna on Wednesday and Thursday, European Union defense ministers focused on the future of defense cooperation between EU member states and security of the Western Balkans.

    The Estonian minister of defense, Juri Luik, emphasized that Estonia defends its interests in developing EU defense cooperation, spokespeople for the Estonian Ministry of Defense said.

    "Defense cooperation in the European Union continues with the momentum received from the Estonian presidency, hand in hand with the strengthening of NATO's deterrence and defense posture. We can see a need for European defense cooperation which complements the NATO collective defense, avoids excessive bureaucracy and supports cooperation among the member states in developing military capabilities," Luik said.

    In the forthcoming talks on the new EU multi-annual financal framework, Estonia considers it important that the 6.5 billion euros earmarked for developing military mobility was invested only in developing dual use transport infrastructure, thereby supporting the relocation of allied units and equipment within the framework of NATO presence and training exercises.

    EU defense ministers in March endorsed the first 17 cooperation projects under the permanent structured cooperation (PESCO) in defense, including the project in military mobility desired by Estonia. Additional projects are expected to be endorsed by the end of this year.

    "Estonia has submitted an innovative project in unmanned ground systems, towards which also the big nations Germany and France have demonstrated interest already. When developing smart and innovative defense technologies and products it is important that the European Union was flexible in involving third countries and supporting the cross-border activity of small and medium-sized businesses," Luik said.

    The ministers of defense also discussed matters related to the future of the operation Eunavfor Med Sophia. The mandate of the mission ends this year.

    Luik had separate meetings in Vienna with Adm. Juan Fransisco Martinez Nunez, permanent secretary of the Spanish Ministry of Defense, with whom the missile incident involving a Spanish fighter jet at the beginning of August was talked about. Emphasizing the necessity of the rotation of NATO Baltic air policing, the two parties pledged to continue bilateral exchanges of information and cooperation in arriving at the final conclusions concerning the incident with NATO.

    The meeting of EU defense ministers was attended also by NATO Deputy Secretary General Rose Gottemoeller and UN Under-Secretary General for Peacekeeping Operations Jean-Pierre Lacroix to discuss cooperation opportunities of the UN, NATO and the European Union in the Western Balkans.

    Tallinn newsroom, +372 610 8814,

    Baltic News Service

    • Published: 30.08.2018 16:55
    • LETA, BNS
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