European Union External Action

EU not turning into a military alliance, but military tools critical for peace and development – Mogherini

12/12/2017 - 14:25
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Following the establishment on 11 December of Permanent Structured Cooperation on defence between 25 member states, EU High Representative Federica Mogherini addressed Members of the European Parliament to take stock of progress in security and defence cooperation and put into the wider context of EU action worldwide. For the EU, security and development are inseparable, and the EU's role as a credible and reliable force for peace is essential to tackle today's challenges and global uncertainty.

mogherini, csdp, security and defence

The EU's work on security and defence is part of a broader picture where security and development go hand in hand, EU High Representative told the European Parliament on 12 December in Strasbourg.

"The European Union is not turning our Union into a military alliance. But if we want to help our African partners whose growth is hampered by insecurity; or if you want to make sure that instability abroad does not affect our own citizens – then we also need to be a credible military actor, using all our tools, including the military ones, and using them in the European way, which means for peace, development, the people's rights, wisely and in a cooperative manner," Mogherini said.

In her speech, the High Representative noted the strong consensus on how crucial EU unity and action in the field of defence had become: "There is a need for us to be a credible and reliable power on the global scene, a rational, wise, calm power. Because this is exactly what the situation requires. There is a need for the European Union as a force for peace and security. "

"When we look at the world around us, we see uncertainty. This is why we are becoming more and more a point of reference – for so many around the world. Because we are reliable, and our partners know where we stand. We are predictable, because we are open about our interests and values."

The High Representative also highlighted the EU's continuing strong commitment of the EU to the multilateral system as the basis of its external action: "When others have put into question the United Nations and multilateralism, we have decided to invest even more strongly."

The progress achieved in the area of defence and security over the last year was unparalleled, said Mogherini: "This year, our common defence has taken steps forward that seemed unthinkable just a few months ago. Today the main building blocks of a European Union of security and defence are finally there. We can now research and develop our defence capabilities together. We can buy together, to ensure that we have the capabilities we need and spending efficiently. We can act together, to manage or prevent crises, to strengthen our partners, to make our citizens more secure.

In just one year an impressive number of new tools and initiatives have been set up, all of which seemed impossible before: bringing cooperation with NATO to an unprecedented level, the first ever command centre for the EU's military training and advisory missions, a European Defence Fund set up by the European Commission, a Coordinated Annual Review of national defence budgets [CARD], for which a trial run has just been launched, and, the most historic step, a Permanent Structured Cooperation on defence [PESCO] that was still unimaginable just a few months ago.

HR Mogherini cautioned that while progress was impressive there was "no time to celebrate" but to focus now on further steps and implementation: "real work is just about to begin".

"We decided to change things together in this field, and we did it. And now, we are ready to work and shape our next steps towards a European Union of security and defence. And I am sure, we will continue to work together and do it also in the years to come."