We will ensure quality of the European Union defence projects by allowing NATO allies to join in, R. Karoblis says
“A significant progress has been made on the joint EU initiatives in defence area over the past year: it is evident from the amount of newly proposed projects, larger countries’ investments in defence, more efficient cooperation on implementing joint projects. However, the EU has to set for itself a clear level of ambition and priorities, or otherwise we are at risk of losing pace and concrete results,” Minister of National Defence Raimundas Karoblis said earlier today at the European Union Defence Ministers’ session in Brussels.
Defence Ministers focussed on the evaluation of the Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO) status. The debate mostly concerned the results coming from the PESCO projects initiated by member countries and the assessment of how all the EU defence initiates underway are expected to strengthen member states’ military capabilities in an effective manner. R. Karoblis underscored that all the EU initiatives should be open for participation of NATO allies who are not members of the EU. ”We have to make sure that flexible rules are provided for third states, especially NATO allies, to take part in PESCO projects because only participation of NATO allies can ensure quality implementation of prioritized PESCO projects, such as concerning military mobility or cybersecurity, and proper level of cooperation and transparency,” R. Karoblis stressed.
“EU attention to security and defence is very welcome – I hope the EU will stay the course, especially in reducing threats in such areas as cybersecurity, disinformation and propaganda countermeasures, energy security, and climate change,” Minister of National Defence said.
The Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO) is an instrument laid out in the Treaty of Lisbon, for deepening the cooperation in security and defence area for those EU member states that have military capabilities meeting higher criteria and are bound by greater commitments. 34 PESCO projects are currently underway, including Lithuania’s project on EU Cyber Rapid Response Teams (CRRTs) and Mutual Assistance in Cyber Security, one of the most significantly progressed PESCO projects. Another project important to Lithuania is the initiative for improvement of military mobility in Europe as it is designed to ensure timely deployment of allied forces in Lithuania and the entire Baltic Sea region. In that context, Lithuania focuses its effort on adjusting Lithuanian and regional infrastructure to military mobility requirements and simplification and synchronization of military transit procedures within Europe.
Ministers also discussed further EU action to increase Europe’s capacity to respond to crises and filling in capability gaps and providing for the ongoing EU military operations and missions. Implementation of the EU military operations was also discussed in a separate session.