EU Defence Ministers meet in Majorca

EU defence ministers are meeting this week in Majorca to discuss the new EU policy on defence and security as established in the Lisbon treaty. The conference which was officially inaugurated yesterday by the Spanish defence minister, Carmen Chacón, will also be attended by defence ministers from Morocco, Algeria, Mauritius, Libya and Tunisia because one of the objectives of the meeting is to improve cooperation in the European-Mediterranean area.

The conference will focus on institutional matters in order to be able to introduce a Common Policy on Defence and Security which would have the necessary civil and military means to make it workable. It will also discuss the development of relations between strategic partners with objective of strengthening the capacity of the EU to efficiently manage conflicts.

In order to achieve this Spain, which currently holds the EU presidency, wants to strengthen the EU’s capacity to for its armed forces to respond immediately so that it will be able to manage and control all types of crises including natural disasters.

It also wants the EU to promote more European programmes on the coordination of its military and civil forces so that it has the capacity to respond efficiently in the face of new risks to its security.

During its EU presidency Spain also wants to strengthen research, technological development and innovation with the aim of creating a ‘strong, sustainable and competitive’ European defence industry both within and outsider its borders.

Today’s meeting will include several sessions on operation Althea in Bosnia-Herzegovina during which preparations for a new EU mission on training and advising the armed forces and ministry of defence for Bosnia-Herzegovina will be discussed.

Other security issues such as improving measures against piracy off the Somali coastline are also on the agenda as well as the preparations for training a Somali security force headed by Spain. In addition, the progress of the EUCO-Haiti humanitarian mission will be subject to scrutiny. Finally there will be a session attended by NATO’S general secretary Anders Fogh Rasmussen given that European security issues and any advancement in a European defence force are closely linked to the interests of the Atlantic Alliance.