Defense minister in Zagreb: The EU must support military mobility

Defense minister Jüri Luik (Isamaa), at center of photo, in Zagreb on Thursday. Source: Ministry of Defense

The European Union has to support the development of its military mobility, to enhance European countries' capabilities, as wella s those of their strategic partners, to quickly and seamlessly deploy forces, defense minister Jüri Luik said at a meeting of European Union defense ministers in Zagreb, Croatia on Thursday.

"This spring, the United States is organizing the large-scale Exercise Defender 2020, where over 20,000 soldiers are to be transported across the Atlantic to Europe", said Luik.

"This will be a good way to identify any bottlenecks in military mobility, which Europe must help contribute to removing."

The defense ministers discussed the current state of the EU's defence policy, including operations in Mali and the Central Mediterranean, the need to increase EU capabilities and to strengthen relations with strategic partners, defense initiatives during EU budget negotiations, and a strategic review of Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO), which is part of the European Union's (EU) security and defence policy (CSDP).

The meeting was the first to be led by Josep Borrell, the new High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy.

Jüri Luik also met with Thierry Breton, the European Commissioner for Internal Market and Services, on the fringes of the meeting. Breton is also responsible for the newly created Directorate-General for the Defense Industry and Space. The two emphasized EU opportunities to support the development of innovative and high-tech capabilities, it is reported.

Luik also chaired a meeting of European People's Party (EPP) defense minister members. Isamaa's MEP, Riho Terras, sits with EPP at the European Parliament; the meeting Luik chaired was attended by defense ministers from Austria, Croatia, the Netherlands, Greece, Cyprus, Romania and Germany.

The need to increase defense cooperation funding within the next EU budget, military mobility and hybrid threats were discussed at the meeting.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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