The European Union's defence and foreign ministers welcome the draft Strategic Compass

Met dank overgenomen van Sloveens voorzitterschap Europese Unie 2e helft 2021, gepubliceerd op dinsdag 16 november 2021.

At a meeting of the Foreign Affairs Council, the European Union's defence and foreign ministers discussed the draft of the new strategic document of the Common Security and Defence Policy - the Strategic Compass.

The document will set out guidelines for the development of European defence over the next decade in the areas of crisis management, resilience, capability development and partnerships.

The draft strategic document is both realistic and ambitious. During the Slovenian Presidency, we have made significant efforts to have it ready as soon as possible. I firmly believe that we will succeed and have a good and comprehensive document in the first half of 2022.

Matej Tonin, Minister of Defence

The ministers discussed the draft Strategic Compass, which aims to increase the EU's strategic autonomy, capacity and readiness to act, and to strengthen its resilience. The document envisions several rapid response measures for various types of crises, including the establishment of the EU Rapid Deployment Capacity by 2025 with modules for the rapid deployment of up to 5,000 troops. The document also highlights measures to improve the ability to anticipate threats, ensure secure access to strategic domains and protect the citizens of the European Union. It emphasises the commitment to rational investment in capabilities and innovative technologies, and to strengthen cooperation with partners to address common threats and challenges.

At the working sessions, the defence ministers discussed current issues, namely Operation Althea; the plan to implement the Coordinated Maritime Presences mechanism, which aims to ensure access to strategic maritime areas, and the progress in implementing the Action Plan on Military Mobility, the first project under Permanent Structural Cooperation (PESCO) with the participation of third states. Ministers welcomed the recent political compromise on outstanding issues related to the further development of PESCO and on the new, fourth package of capability development projects. Further on, they discussed the military training missions (EUTMs), ways to improve their operational effectiveness, and the possibilities of supporting them through the funding of assistance measures within the European Peace Facility.

With NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, the ministers exchanged views on the EU-NATO Strategic Partnership and on the new areas of cooperation, such as resilience, disruptive technologies and the impact of climate change on security and defence. They discussed the two security-related core documents of the EU and NATO, the Strategic Compass and the NATO Strategic Concept, and the possible signing of a third joint declaration on EU-NATO cooperation.

The defence ministers began the European Defence Agency (EDA) Steering Board meeting by signing two technical arrangements on military mobility. They confirmed the mandate for the negotiation of the Administrative Arrangement between the EDA and the US Department of Defence, and the document on the principles of the EDA’s cooperation with third states. During the discussion, they talked about strengthening the role of the EDA in the field of defence innovation.

Foreign Affairs Council (Defence), 16 November 2021

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