"European defence is the field where we are proving that the level of unity and speed of our decision making in the European Union is more than good, it is excellent", High Representative Federica Mogherini told an audience in Prague today at the High Level Conference "Defence and Security Conference Prague: European Vision, European responsibility".
Speaking alongside EU Commission president Jean Claude Juncker, the Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka and NATO Deputy Secretary General Rose Gottemoeller, Mogherini pointed to this week's launch of the European Defence Fund, establishment of the first command centre for EU military training missions and inauguration of a new European Airlift Training Centre as examples of how European defence has moved inexorably from ideological debates to "getting things done".
At the same time, the EU High Representative highlighted how an upcoming report outlining 42 joint actions for concrete EU-NATO cooperation on defence were evidence of the strong complementarity between the two institutions. "A strong European Union defence makes NATO strong and a strong NATO makes the European defence strong. To us, in the European Union, there is no doubt about that, it is self-evident," Mogherini said.
The High Representative said the EU's success this year in enhancing defence cooperation "has been the result of a decision taken by all 28 governments – still 28, united", backed up by strong public support.
"Our citizens need it, our partners ask for it, and we are delivering on it. Change in the European Union is possible. It is a matter of political will. We have it, we are bringing change, for our European Union and for our world that desperately needs a reliable, strong, credible, cooperative, effective, smart, global player as the European Union is."