At a low key but dignified ceremony held in the EUMS premises on 30 Jun 2020, Vice Admiral Hervé Bléjean (FR) assumed command of the EU Military Staff and the Military Planning Conduct Capability from his predecessor Lieutenant General Esa Pulkkinen (FI). Normally such an occasion would be marked by a formal public military parade with many distinguished guests and military bands but owing to COVID-19 today's event was minimalist in terms of pomp and ceremony but no less important for that.
Rising international tensions and conflicts at the doorstep of Europe urge us to take our collective security into our own hands. Lately, four major Member States advocated making security and defence a top priority for the Union. I fully agree: since the beginning of the mandate of this Commission, we have placed our Common Security and Defence Policy at the very heart of the EU’s external policy. And while we have a long way to go, there is now an increased momentum to strengthen our collective capacity for action.