Minister of Defence Savvas Angelides sets preconditions for the participation of third countries in PESCO programs (permanent structured defence cooperation in the EU), during an informal meeting of the EU Defense Ministers in Vienna.
According Angelides, the prior completion of a Security Intelligence Exchange of Classified Information of these States with the EU and a technical arrangement with the European Defense Agency, should be set as key conditions for future participation.
During his intervention, the Minister also stressed that all the technologies and capabilities developed under a PESCO program should be available to the European Union and all its members.
PESCO, co-operation with the Western Balkans in the framework of the EU Common Foreign and Security Policy (CSDP) as well as third countries` participation in EU initiatives in the region were some of the issues of the informal meeting agenda. Ministers discussed and “gave political guidance on EU security and defense issues,” in view of the Foreign Affairs Council in November.
More specifically, the proposal for the European Peace Facility (EPF), developments on Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO) were discussed and an exchange of views on the Review of the EU Military Capability of Planning and Conducting Business Military Planning and Conduct Capability (MPCC) and the European Union Operation in the Mediterranean, EUNAVFOR MED Operation Sofia was conducted.
Defence Minister Savvas Angelides in his intervention expressed Cyprus’ full support for Operation Sofia, noting the need for solidarity between the Member States in the management of migratory flows arriving in the European Union. He welcomed the Commission’s proposal for the creation of the European Peace Facility and supported the strengthening and further development of the EU`s Military Capacity for Planning and Conducting Operations in order to be able to plan and conduct the EU`s executive missions, improving the Strategic Autonomy of the EU.
Finally, he expressed Cyprus` support for the European integration of the Western Balkan countries, stressing however that these states should beforehand complete the reforms and align themselves with the European acquis.
The summit was also attended by NATO Deputy Secretary-General Ms Rose Gottemoeller and UN Deputy UN Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Missions Jean-Pierre Lacroix, who reported on the activities of their Organizations in the region and the possibilities for further cooperation with the EU.