Check against delivery!
It is nice to see you again. It has been a busy summer, a hectic summer, and things have not finished yet.
Today, we are going to have a meeting that will be dominated by the events in Afghanistan. Afghanistan will be the backdrop of our discussions today.
I think that it is clear that the need for more ‘European Defence’ has never been as evident as today - after the events in Afghanistan. I am sure that the Ministers will discuss how to face this new situation and how we can be more prepared for future challenges.
The Strategic Compass is a work in progress. In a couple of months, I think we will be able to present the report of our work, but sometimes there are events that catalyse the history. Something happens and pushes the history, it creates a breakthrough. I think that the events in Afghanistan this summer are one of these cases.
I hope that today the discussion will be more lively and we will be more engaged on concrete results - no, [there will be no] decisions today, because it is an informal meeting, but to prepare, no later than October or November, the final draft of the Strategic Compass.
Q. What do you want to reach with those Battlegroups?
Battlegroups we already have. We already have them, but we have never used them. They have been never activated, so we need to go for something more ready to be activated, more operational.
Q. How did the Ministers respond to your proposal to have a Rapid Entry Force of 5,000 men?
I cannot tell you yet, because the discussion is going to happen.
Q. When are we going to see it?
I am sure that by October or November we will present to the Council the final draft of the Strategic Compass.
Q. Why is it necessary to have this Initial Entry Force when we have the Battlegroups? Why not using the battlegroups quicker?
It is not the same thing, you will see the difference. The battlegroups are done on a national basis, every month one is ready to act, but, in fact, they have never acted. We have to go for [something] more consistent and well organised, putting together not a single state every month, but all together all the time.
I will tell you more about the discussion afterwards. Just let me insist on that: the need for a more and stronger ‘European Defence’ is today more evident than ever.
Link to the video: https://audiovisual.ec.europa.eu/en/video/I-210147