Exclusive:EU defence chiefs agree to start work on Military Assistance Mission for Ukraine: Borrell

EU defence chiefs agree to start work on Military Assistance Mission for Ukraine: Borrell

“We are meeting in turbulent times while we face many security challenges. As a result of Russian aggression, the world is more dangerous,” Czech Def min said.

EU on Tuesday, Aug 30 held an informal meeting of Defence Ministers of the European Union Member States under the 2-day Gymnich format meeting in Prague Congress Centre. The EU Defence Ministers held dialogue on Russia’s continued aggression in Ukraine and the negative effects of Russia’s policy on the stability of other parts of the world, including the Balkans and Africa.

The ministers also focused on practical support in order to help Ukraine defend its sovereignty. This included a discussion about support by European countries and on the EU’s military engagement outside Europe.

The bloc’s top diplomat Josep Borrell informed that EU defence ministers have agreed to begin the work necessary for setting up an EU military assistance mission for Ukraine. “There are many training initiatives on the way but the needs are enormous and we need to ensure the coherence of these efforts,” Borrell told reporters the meet in Prague.

“I can say that all member states agree clearly on that and on launching the work necessary to define parameters for a EU military assistance mission for Ukraine,” he added.

EU defence ministers also debated about the new instruments with the potential for strengthening the EU Member States’ defence capabilities in a fast and coordinated fashion as the Russian threat looms large jeopardising the security of the European region.

The meeting was chaired by High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell. Commissioner for Internal Market Thierry Breton also attended the meeting and Chair of the European Parliament Subcommittee on Security and Defence Nathalie Loiseau, NATO Deputy Assistant Secretary General Jörg See and UN Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Jean-Pierre Lacroix participated in some sessions.

Ukrainian Defence Minister Oleksii Reznikov, meanwhile, attended the working lunch on further assistance to Ukraine by videoconference.

“We are meeting in turbulent times while we face many security challenges. As a result of the Russian aggression and Moscow’s activities in Africa and in other places, the world is more dangerous,” Czech Defence Minister Jana Černochová, who opened the session said.

““That is why I regard our meeting today very important and I am pleased to welcome representatives of NATO, UN and the European Parliament. Cooperation of the European Union and the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation is absolutely key for ensuring European defence and security,” she reiterated.

A new EU-NATO joint declaration to be signed

According to Czech Defence Minister Jana Černochová, a new EU-NATO joint declaration will be signed during the Czech Presidency in order to bolster the practical cooperation between the two organisations.

Russia’s aggressive policy was the prime topic of discussion, and EU defence ministers agreed that there was a need to establish a European Union Military Assistance Mission for Ukraine. Ministers noted that the situation at Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant was alarming and underscored it was essential for Russian occupiers to enable access to International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors.

They also discussed the post-war reconstruction of Ukraine in the domain of security and defence. They also hailed the role of the UN in reaching an agreement on the partial removal of the blockade in the Black Sea that now enables grain supply to the international market, eliminating risks of global food shortage.

EU defense ministers spoke about the security situation in the Western Balkans and in Africa. It agreed the EU plays a key role in providing security and stability in Bosnia and Herzegovina, EUFOR Operation Althea was also one of the topics of the agenda.

Ministers also discussed the situation in Mali, where the EU as well as the UN have engaged over several years. While the EU actively leads the European Union Training Mission Mali, the MINUSMA mission is one of the largest UN peace missions. Ministers also redressed the shortfalls in European countries’ defence capabilities.

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