EU Defence Ministers gathered in Riga on 18 February. HRVP Federica Mogherini also attended. The informal meeting was intended to prepare the discussion of the European Council in June 2015, which will be devoted to defence and security issues.
"The meeting we are having today is particularly important as it comes in times where our security is threatened, both at our Eastern borders and at our Southern borders." Mogherini stressed in her remarks before the meeting. She added that "In the current security environment, and faced with new and complex threats, unity is required more than ever".
The HRVP and the Minister for Defence of Latvia, Raimonds Vējonis, agreed that the European Council in June will be crucial in further advancing the EU Common Security and Defence Policy.
The Ministers underlined that it is important to ensure that in June the Heads of State and Governments discuss the security challenges and the EU response with the objective of reviewing the European Security Strategy. The discussion focused on the hybrid threats that the EU is facing, on the EU rapid response capacity and on the key role that an EU strategic communication has to tackle the challenges. The role of the defence industry was also mentioned. "We have a strong commitment to the EU as a provider of security and in order to fulfil that role we need strong defence capabilities backed by a strong defence industry" - emphasized Jorge Domecq, the Chief Executive of the European Defence Agency.
On Ukraine, Federica Mogherini stated that "not only the European Union, but the whole international community, with the resolution that was adopted yesterday in the UN Security Council, stands for full implementation of all points of the Minsk agreement reached last week. It is important that first of all separatists and Russia implement this, starting from the cease-fire and the withdrawal of weapons".