European Union External Action

ESDC supports EU Military Committee mini away day

04/12/2018 - 01:00
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The Western Balkans was one of the priorities under the Austrian EU Presidency. On 4 December, the Austrian Military Representation gathered the European Military Representatives at the Permanent Representation to conclude its presidency and share what has been accomplished and what remains to be done in the future.

EU18 Austrian Presidency Leitgeb

The Austrian Western Balkan package included:

  • an enforced strategic defence dialogue;
  • a contribution to the sustainable closing of the Western Balkan route;
  • support for the accession talks;
  • transition of Western Balkan countries from security receivers to security providers;
  • improvement of resilience and interoperability.

In each of the listed areas, the Austrian EU-Presidency has developed some action points. These provide for a stronger involvement of the Western Balkan countries in common security and defence policy (CSDP) missions and operations, capacity-building measures (e.g. a security academy for the region) and bringing the Western Balkan countries closer to the structures and procedures of the EU's security and defence domain.

The ESDC supported the event by providing the moderator, Dr. Jochen Rehrl, for the panel on the Western Balkans. Marko Čeperković, of the EU Institute for Security Studies, introduced three scenarios for 2025 – the year that European Commission President Juncker has announced as a possible date for the accession of the Western Balkan countries. These scenarios are also published in the Chaillot Papers of the EU ISS.

Austrian Presidency EU18 Ana Juncos Jochen Rehrl
Dr Ana Juncos concluded by advocating for a strengthened dialogue on security and defence.

Dr Ana Juncos from the University of Bristol focused on security sector reform as a driver of resilience. Her main argument underlined the need for capacity building, in particular with regard to responding to hybrid threats, intelligence and defence reforms. Dr Juncos concluded by advocating for a strengthened dialogue on security and defence and proposed 'an EU security cluster for the Western Balkans'.

Colonel Alexander Bauer from the Presidency team in the Austrian Ministry of Defence (MoD) summarised the various initiatives launched during the past six months and underlined the need to do more due to historical, economical, cultural and security-related reasons. During the Presidency, the Austrian MoD hosted five events:

  • EU StratCom Game on the Western Balkans (July)
  • EU defence ministers meeting (August)
  • workshop on CSDP missions and operations (September)
  • expert conference on strengthening resilience (July)
  • Western-Balkans-Five (WB5) defence minister meeting (September).

The Western Balkans will remain on the agenda of the European Union, and with the incoming Romanian EU Presidency, another EU Member State with a focus on the Western Balkan region will take over.

Jochen Rehrl Ana Juncos Alexander Bauer
Panel on the Western Balkans: Dr Ana Juncos (University of Bristol), Dr Jochen Rehrl (ESDC), Mr Marko Čeperković (EU ISS) and Col Alexander Bauer (AT MOD).