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The Conference was opened with a dedicated session on EU/NATO Cooperation. The Chairman of the NATO Military Committee, Air Chief Marshal Sir Stuart Peach, participated, reinforcing once again, the strengthening bond between NATO and the EU. This session was a great opportunity to update EU CHODs on recent advances in EU/NATO cooperation, including the implementation of the common set of proposals and on the Military Mobility Initiative. Work, in this respect, was facilitated by the active participation of the freshly appointed Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR), General Tod Walters, the Supreme Allied Commander Transformation (SACT), Gen. Andre Lanata, the European Commission Deputy Secretary General, Ms Ilze Juhansone, and the EEAS Managing Director for Security and Defence Policy, Mr Pawel Herczynski.
The following sessions focussed on EU CSDP Operations. Lt. Gen. Oliver Rittimann, who recently assumed the command of OP ALTHEA, followed by Vice Adm. Antonio Martorell also recently appointed as the OP ATALANTA Commander, and Vice Adm. Enrico Credendino presented the EU CHODs with key forward looking issues, and their vision for the future of their Operations.
A specific session was dedicated to Training Missions. The Committee was briefed by the Director Military Planning Conduct Capability (MPCC) and Director General EUMS, Lieutenant General Esa Pulkkinen, on key concerns and on the way ahead for the three EU Training Missions.
Chiefs of Defence and military representatives from Partner Countries, including from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia, Republic of Korea, Moldova, Montenegro, Serbia and Vietnam, as well as the Commander of the G5 Sahel Joint Force were present in pertinent sessions and participated in the discussion providing their own, enriching view.
In a dedicated working session, the Director General EUROCONTROL, Mr. Eamonn Brennan, together with the Chief Executive of the EDA, Ambassador Jorge Domecq and the Military Advisory to the "Wise Persons Group", Maj Gen. Vincent Cousin, provided the EU CHODs with a broad overview on the challenges of the implementation of the Single European Sky (SES) initiative.
Finally, in the framework of a specific session dedicated to Capabilities and Financial Instruments, the Chief Executive of the EDA, Ambassador Jorge Domecq and the Director General EUMS, Lieutenant General Esa Pulkkinen updated the EU CHODs on the different Defence Initiatives in the Capability Domain, namely PESCO, in the frame of the annual review and CARD, with specific reference to the key findings in the trial run Lesson Learned process. Following that, the Deputy Director General of DG GROW, Mr Pierre Delsaux and the EEAS Director for Security and Defence Policy, Mr Pawel Herczynski, briefed the EU CHODs on capability related financial instruments, respectively with a focus on European Defence Industrial Development Programme (EDIDP) and European Peace Facility (EPF). This was also a precious occasion for the EU CHODs to provide their military viewpoint.
A CHODs only discussion concluded the meeting along with the election of the next Director General EUMS, namely Vice Admiral Herve' Blejean, who will be taking over the position with effect on 28 May 2020.