Defence | EU Foreign Affairs Council
To ask the Minister for Defence the extent to which he has had discussions with his EU colleagues regarding defence and security in view of recent events.
On 15 November, I attended the Foreign Affairs Council in Defence Ministers’ format in Brussels. On the agenda were two working sessions, the first on Current Affairs and the second on Defence Capabilities and Operational Realities. These were followed by a working lunch to facilitate an informal exchange of views with the Minister of Defence of Ukraine, Oleksii Reznikov (via videoconference) and the NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.
The Current Affairs session covered a range of topics including the EU Military Assistance Mission in support of Ukraine, possible CSDP engagement in Niger, Operation Atalanta, the EU Rapid Deployment Capacity and the current financial situation of the European Peace Facility.
The second working session marked the first annual Ministerial discussion on defence capabilities and operational realities, as provided for the framework of the Strategic Compass.
The meeting closed with a working lunch and informal exchange of views focusing on Russian aggression against Ukraine, including its global implications. Ukrainian Minister of Defence Oleksii Reznikov participated by VTC to brief Ministers on the latest developments as well as Ukrainian priorities and needs on the ground. NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg attended this session in person.
In advance of the Foreign Affairs Council in Defence Ministers format, I attended a meeting of the European Defence Agency Steering Board, where Ministers exchanged views on the main findings of the 2022 Coordinated Annual Review on Defence (CARD) Report in the areas of defence spending, defence planning and defence cooperation. A presentation was also made by the EDA on concrete collaborative opportunities deriving from the CARD report.
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