High Representative Josep Borrell tasked the European External Action Service to set up a dedicated task force to temporarily support and facilitate information exchange on national military assistance in support of civilian authorities to help fight the coronavirus pandemic. This is a concrete follow-up of the video conference of Defence Ministers of the EU member States on 6 April.
The task force brings together experts from the EU Military Staff and other services as needed. It will primarily provide a centralised point for the Member States to share - through an online platform - requests, best practices and other relevant information in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
In recent weeks, there have been numerous positive examples of mutual support between the armed forces of the Member States. Their military planes have helped repatriate a number of European Union citizens stranded abroad. They also delivered medical equipment and carried patients for treatment from one country to the other.
The task force will also reinforce strategic communications efforts around the contributions provided by EU Member States’ armed forces in addressing the effects of the pandemic and will help identify lessons learnt and possible security and defence policy implications to enhance resilience and preparedness for crisis situations in the future.
Working at the service of Member States, the task force can provide support to the Emergency Response Coordination Centre (ERCC), as necessary, on the use of Member States’ military assets in the context of civil protection in Europe. It will also coordinate closely with NATO, ensuring full complementarity, mutual reinforcement and avoiding duplications.