Minister of National Defence Juozas Olekas underscores in Paris the necessity of political commitment of EU member states to strengthen European defence and to renew the European Security Strategy

16 July 2013, Last updated at, 16:19 EEST
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On the photos – Lithuanian Minister of National Defence Juozas Olekas with French Minister of Defence Jean-Yves Le Drian, participants of the seminar. | author: Roland Pellegrino

Minister of National Defence Juozas Olekas underlined the importance of strategic discussion and political commitment of the EU member states to develop the EU Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) as the European Union seeks a bigger role as an international security provider while opening the high-level seminar on the role of EU in crisis management with the French Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian on 12 July in Paris.

 According to the Lithuanian Minister, the December European Council will be a good opportunity for such a discussion.

“The European Council should first of all mandate the revision of the European Security Strategy”, the Minister said when addressing the concrete deliverables the European leaders should seek to produce at the debate on defence. Minister said that the strategy which had been in force for 10 years provides a list of security challenges and threats that the EU should be in a position to face but it does not provide guidance for responding to emerging security challenges.

The Minister also emphasized that the European Council should renew political commitments to use the EU rapid response capabilities - the Battlegroups (EU BGs). “Without the ability to project military capabilities, the EU will not be a comprehensive actor in crisis response,” J. Olekas stated.  

The Lithuanian Minister of National Defence also urged that the EU’s political commitments to take more responsibility as a security provider in the EU neighbourhood and in developing partnerships with its neighbours should be renewed. He pointed out the necessity to further enhance the EU ability to respond to the emerging energy, cyber and maritime security challenges.  

Defence Policy Director of the Ministry of National Defence Dr. Vaidotas Urbelis pointed out that the current European Security Strategy understates the importance of energy security and does not provide for cyber threats.   

He also proposed the debate on crisis response should foresee the instruments that the European member states could use collectively in responding to possible cyber threats. The Lithuanian Defence Policy Director also mentioned such proposals as allocation of funds for double use technologies that would benefit the militaries in both cyber and energy domains and the involvement energy and cyber security elements (threat scenarios and response means) into military planning and exercises.  

The high-level seminar “Bolstering the European Union as a fully-fledged crisis management actor” co-organised by the Lithuanian Ministries of National Defence and Foreign Affairs and the French Ministry of Defence took place in Paris on 12 July. At the seminar the defence and foreign policy planners of the EU member states and representatives of the European External Action Service engaged in a discussion on the means that are expected to facilitate the visibility and effectiveness of the CSDP.

The Paris seminar was one of the events the European Union members states held in preparation for the December European Council on defence. In such meetings representatives of the EU member states discuss and agree points requiring the key focus of the European Heads of State and Government.  

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