Lithuanian Minister hopes that recommendations of EU Defence ministerial will be reflected in the European Council

06 September 2013, Last updated at, 12:36 EEST
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author: eu2013.lt

At an informal meeting of EU Defence Ministers in Vilnius on 5-6 September Lithuanian Minister of National Defence Juozas Olekas expressed his hope that the appropriate attention would be paid to EU’s relations with partner countries at the European Council in December later this year.

"The deterioration of the situation in our Southern neighbourhood clearly shows that the EU needs to enhance its role as a security provider. More active engagement of partners to the Common Security and Defence Policy should therefore be one of the solutions", Defence Minister of the EU Presidency said.

"We have received a clear message from our Eastern partners that they are ready for more active engagement to CSDP by contributing their capabilities and expertise”, the Lithuanian Minister of National Defence said.

J.Olekas also expressed his delight that his counterparts supported his view that theupcoming European Council should also address the future of Battle groups, the EU instrument for crisis management.

"We would like to get a strong political message in December to update the current level of ambition and commitment to use EU Battlegroups", Minister J. Olekas said at the informal EU Defence Ministers meeting. “We propose to use EU Battlegroups in a more flexible way by using, for instance, only some part of the group in line with a crisis scenario".

The Lithuanian Minister of National Defence also welcomed the emphasis which the interim report on the EU CSDP by EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton placed on the need to have a debate on the changing EU's strategic context.

"The changing security environment should drive and shape our security thinking and priorities and the latter should be reflected in strategic documents," he said.

"I would compare strategic guidelines to GPS: navigation system maps should be updated constantly along with changing environment, otherwisethey would lead to wrong directions. And I therefore think that commitment by the European Council to begin updating of the current strategic guidelines would be just be in time ", Minister J. Olekas said.

The EU Security Strategy which is currently inforce was developed ten years ago.
At the EU Defence Ministers session on European defence industry, the Lithuanian Minister pointed out the importance of the initiatives proposed by the European Commission (EC) which could allow drawing small and medium-sized companies into the EC support programmes thus giving them better conditions to anchor in the markets of European and international defence industries.

J. Olekas also underscored the support from his counterparts to the Commission's proposed actions to apply more measures to enhance energy efficiency in the field of defence which is traditionally the major energy consumer. 

"We should look at the impact of energy consumption on defence budgets and military effectiveness and develop a comprehensive energy efficiency strategy for our armed forces. I am sure it would help promote the so called green approach including more extensive use of renewable resources for military purposes and to use more extensively renewable resources and diminish the negative impact on the environment,” J. Olekas said.

"I hope that NATO Energy Security Centre in Vilnius, which will be inaugurated later today, will also make a contribution in this important area," the Lithuanian Minister of National Defence said.

In their preparation for the December European Council the EU Defence Ministers discussed on 5-6 September in Vilnius the interim report on CSDP by Catherine Ashton, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and the Communiqué on the European Defence and Security Sector “Towards a More Competitive and Efficient Defence and Security Sector” announced by the European Commission in July earlier this year. The President of the European Council will be referring to the report revised at the EU Defence Ministers meeting when delivering concrete proposals at the December European Council of Defence. Last time European Heads of State and Government held a discussion on defence matters was five years ago.  This year’s European Council will be the first meeting focussing exclusively on defence issues.   
 

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