On 9th July, the EU Chiefs of Defence (CHODs) met in Brussels for their first Military Committee meeting in person after the lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Conference was opened by HR/VP Borrell's address and guidance where, among other things, he underlined the importance of the strategic autonomy and EU defence initiatives.
Following, the EEAS deputy Secretary General for Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) and crisis response Charles Fries briefed the EU CHODs about the latest developments related to the Strategic Compass and the envisaged process for its finalisation. The Chief Executive of the European Defence Agency Jiří Šedivý provided his thoughts on how this initiative can orientate capability development and the supporting role of the agency in this Member States' driven process.
The Strategic Compass should provide clear strategic guidance for both operational and capability-oriented matters, while enhancing coherence and contributing to a common European security and defence culture. The CHODs underlined the importance of an active military engagement throughout the process.
Then, the meeting focussed on EU CSDP Operations and Missions and the impact of the COVID-19. The EU CHODs reaffirmed the urgent need for a substantial boost in generating the essential assets to fulfil IRINI's agreed mandate and to guarantee an impartial approach towards all parties involved in the Libyan conflict. They also highlighted the importance of the upcoming mandate revision of ATALANTA with a coherent integrated approach, in line with the forthcoming Strategic Review.
The CHODs reaffirmed the importance of Operation ALTHEA's continued presence and stressed the urgent need for the return of personnel temporarily withdrawn from EUTMs due to the pandemic.
Closings the works General Graziano, Chairman of the EU military committee, affirmed "The priority is the provision of the necessary means and personnel to all the military EU engagements. CSDP missions and operations are the tangible results of EU credibility as global security provider. Military commitment contributes to a more autonomous, capable and credible Europe in security and defence."