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Foreign Affairs | European Union defence and security response to Ukraine

To ask the Minister for Foreign Affairs the extent to which he has had discussions in recent times with his European Union counterparts concerned about security and defence in Europe arising from Russia’s incursion into Ukraine.

Russia’s appalling military aggression against Ukraine has highlighted more than ever the importance of European unity and solidarity in response to the challenges we face. I am in regular contact with my European Union counterparts, both bilaterally and also collectively, including through the Foreign Affairs Council.

In this context, efforts have been underway at European Union level over recent months to further strengthen the EU’s Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP). In March, EU Foreign Ministers adopted the Strategic Compass.  This sets out the current European security environment, including in the context of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and proposes a series of actions and deliverables in areas such as crisis management, resilience, capability development and partnerships with key international actors. Ireland is fully committed to the implementation of the Strategic Compass.

In direct response to the appalling military aggression against Ukraine, we have also agreed to a package of €2.5 billion in military assistance for the Ukrainian military under the European Peace Facility (EPF). The package consists of €2.33 billion for lethal equipment and €170 million for non-lethal equipment, such as personal protective equipment, medical kits and fuel. During the negotiations to establish the EPF, Ireland, together with a number of likeminded States, ensured the inclusion of a provision allowing Member States to exercise constructive abstention from assistance measures involving lethal equipment. Instead Ireland’s full contribution of approximately €55 million is being directed exclusively to non-lethal support.

In August, EU Defence Ministers agreed to launch work to define the parameters for a possible EU CSDP mission to provide military training to Ukraine. While Ireland is open to involvement in the mission, a decision will only be taken on this once the proposal has been finalised.

Ireland will continue to be an active participant in the EU’s CSDP.  Our approach remains guided by our policy of military neutrality and our longstanding commitment to crisis management and peacekeeping.  

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