“Only as the European Union we have the leverage both on the soft and on the hard power that can work when it comes to security and defence for the European Union,” – said EU top diplomat Federica Mogherini,while chairing the meeting of the 28 EU Defence Ministers in Malta.
The meeting reviewed the different fields where EU governments have agreed to move forward together.
These include Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO); the mechanisms to synchronise defence budgets among Member States; the European Defence Action Plan (EDAP); and the deployability of the Battlegroups – rapid reaction forces that the European Union has had for 10 years now, but have yet to be deployed.
“But now with crises we have around us we hear from our partners, starting from the UN and the head of the Peacekeeping Operations in the UN [Jean-Pierre Lacroix] that a rapid reaction force from the European Union would be needed to be deployed in some crisis areas,” Mogherini said.
Ministers will return to the issue on May 18 to prepare the ground for EU leaders to “take bold decisions on how we can deliver on the Europe of defence and security”.