“We have to build upon the added value that the EU defence initiatives create as we implement them, and for that not only EU but also NATO allies’ engagement is simply vital – it is the only way to ensure that the EU-NATO cooperation is effective and initiatives are synergetic,” Minister of National Defence Raimundas Karoblis said at the joint European Foreign Affairs Council in Brussels on November 19.
When addressing the Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO) which encompasses separate areas of security and defence, Minister R. Karoblis encouraged the EU to allow third parties to join PESCO projects.
According to R. Karoblis, the main criterion of selection should be their motivation to cooperate. Lithuania leads development of the EU cyber response teams in the framework of PESCO initiative and takes part in the project on military mobility.
The joint working session of the EU Defence and Foreign Ministers addressed EU security and defence priorities. The discussion reflected new ideas put forward by some of the European leaders on the ways the EU should strengthen its strategic autonomy and make sure it is able to ensure security independently.
“As an active participant of the most recent EU defence cooperation initiatives Lithuania upholds its cornerstone position: the need to maintain the fundamental transatlantic relations. NATO remains to be an irreplaceable pillar of collective defence,” Minister said and also stressed that strengthening European defence has to be aligned with and complementary to the existing NATO assurances.
All EU Ministers in the joint Foreign Affairs Council Session underscored the irreplaceable and central role of NATO as the defence alliance in Europe.
Minister R. Karoblis reiterated the invitation to bypass the pointless competition between NATO and the EU and to put in every effort to keep the transatlantic unity and trust on Tuesday at the EU Defence Ministers meeting with NATO Secretary of Defence Jens Stoltenberg.
Minister R. Karoblis also attended a working lunch at the invitation of Minister of Defence of Denmark Claus Hjort Frederiksen where a group of countries shared their experience in protecting elections from external meddling and on measures used to handle hybrid and cyber threats. Minister briefed his colleagues on preventive measures Lithuania was going to apply to ensure transparency of democratic processes and elections and cyber security.