Founded in 2004, the European Defence Agency celebrated its 15th anniversary yesterday. During a speech marking the occasion, Federica Mogherini reminded of the important role played by the Agency in the progress achieved over the past few years – progress that has gone far beyond many expectations.
“Five years ago, no one imagined how far we would come. European defence cooperation has expanded in these five years like never before. We have created the instruments to make the European defence cooperation become the norm. The Agency has been at the core of all our work and of all the progress that we have achieved together”, Mogherini said.
The European Defence Agency (EDA) is an intergovernmental agency of the Council of the European Union and has the mission of supporting the Member States and the Council in their effort to improve European defence capabilities. It is also Federica Mogherini’s ‘’third hat’’, since the High Representative / Vice-President is also the Head of the Agency.
The EU Global Strategy presented in June 2016 called on EU Member States to make full use of the Agency’s potential. They did. The European Defence Agency plays an important role in some of the new instruments and tools for European defence cooperation created during the past few years – for example, the Coordinated Annual Review on Defence and PESCO.
Such progress was necessary. In an increasingly complex and contested world, the EU needed to step up its work to guarantee the security of its citizens. Much has been achieved over the past few years – more than over decades. EU Member States can now better protect their citizens, invest in cooperation on defence, spend more efficiently, engage with our partners and neighbours even more than before.
The foundations that have been laid down need now to be consolidated and built up on. In Mogherini’s words, ‘’it would be a big mistake to believe that this is done and now we can relax and go back to normal.’’
Ultimately – she emphasised – ‘’European defence is the only way to confirm our role as a global force for good and a global security provider. The European way: investing in peace and security in a cooperative manner.’’