Summary: 19 April 2012, Brussels - The High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Catherine Ashton, chaired yesterday an informal meeting of EU Defence Ministers. Ministers were meeting for the last time before the NATO Chicago summit in May. Building on the work of recent months, they confirmed the EU's commitment and its unique position as a security provider in a context of financial austerity and a changing strategic environment.
The EU is achieving significant progress in the pooling & sharing of military capabilities: the last EDA Steering Board and Foreign Affairs Council on 22/23 March sent a strong signal, adopting a set of conclusions on military capabilities and taking forward a number of concrete projects including on air-to-air refuelling. The EU's strength also lies within the coherence ensured through its comprehensive approach to crisis management, as reflected for example by its action in the Horn of Africa encompassing both civilian and military CSDP operations as well as the whole range of EU tools: political, diplomatic, developmental, and humanitarian. The EU-NATO partnership is already a reality, both in the operational engagement and in the area of capability development, where close cooperation has allowed ensuring in practice full complementarity, especially on pooling and sharing and smart defence.
Ministers also took this opportunity to discuss the longer-term multinational military capability development, including the need to continue to invest in innovation and the capabilities of the future, to pursue synergies with European policies and in particular in the field of Research and Technology.
For more information:
Council conclusions on pooling and sharing of military capabilities, adopted on 22 March 2012:
Political resolution drives pooling & sharing (European Defence Agency)