European Union External Action

Mogherini sees good progress on EU security and defence agenda

"Only as the European Union we have the leverage both on the soft and on the hard power that can work when it comes to security and defence for the European Union," she said following today's meeting of the 28 EU Defence Ministers in Malta, which she chaired.

The meeting reviewed the different fields where EU governments have agreed to move forward together.
 
These include Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO); the mechanisms to synchronise defence budgets among Member States; the European Defence Action Plan (EDAP); and the deployability of the Battlegroups – rapid reaction forces that the European Union has had for 10 years now, but have yet to be deployed.
 
"But now with crises we have around us we hear from our partners, starting from the UN and the head of the Peacekeeping Operations in the UN [Jean-Pierre Lacroix] that a rapid reaction force from the European Union would be needed to be deployed in some crisis areas," Mogherini said.
 
Ministers will return to the issue on May 18 to prepare the ground for EU leaders to "take bold decisions on how we can deliver on the Europe of defence and security".
 
The High Representative also led discussions on the EU approach to Libya, including Operation Sophia's work to disrupt the business model of people traffickers, but also the political work the EU is doing to help solve the crisis in the country. 
 
"The situation is still very difficult, but we have seen some steps in the good direction. So I have registered today a very broad consensus among Member States on the need to continue with our overall work with Libya both at sea and at land, political and security and also humanitarian because we have € 120 million package that is being implemented inside Libya when it comes to support to the population; plus a € 90 million package when it comes to support to the IOM [International Organisation for Migration] and the UNHCR [United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees], in particular to operate within the country to save and protect human lives, but also to work on voluntary returns from Libya to countries of origin."
 
Mogherini and the ministers also held discussions with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and UN Under-Secretary General for Peacekeeping Operations Jean-Pierre Lacroix.