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Enhancement of European counter cyber threat capabilities has to be among top priorities, R. Karoblis said at the EU Defence Ministers meeting


“It is impossible to counter hybrid threats without having identified their source,” Minister of National Defence Raimundas Karoblis stated at the European Union Defence Ministers meeting in Brussels (Belgium) today. The Ministers addressed the progress achieved on the implementation of the EU Global Strategy, EU initiatives in security and defence, and enhancement of the cooperation with NATO.


“We need to identify the source of cyber threats and hostile propaganda with great precision and to then proceed very purposefully,” R. Karoblis said. According to the Minister, the European Union aims at strengthening strategic communication in that fight but fail to provide sufficient capabilities. “Unceasing cyber-attacks, including the case last week and the fake news targeting allied troops, only proves that a purposeful enhancement of EU capabilities for countering cyber threats has to become one of top EU defence policy priorities,” R. Karoblis underscored. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg who took part in one of the sessions of the meeting pointed out enhancement of cyber capabilities as one of the key areas for the NATO-EU cooperation as well. He underscored that complete political support from EU member states was necessary for NATO to implement joint defence enhancement initiatives.


When addressing new EU defence initiatives (the Permanent Structure Cooperation – PESCO, European Defence Fund) R. Karoblis stressed the necessity for all members to engage and to increase defence spending in Europe. The Ministers also discussed strengthening cooperation with partner states that uphold values shared with the EU and contribute to European missions and operations. “First and foremost, these are our transatlantic partners – the US, Canada and Norway, also other active contributors to EU missions – Ukraine, Georgia, Moldova.”


The Minister also took part in the meeting of the European Defence Agency Steering Board which approved long-term review of the Agency which would set further guidelines for European defence capability development. The European Defence Ministers agreed to strengthen the role of the European Defence Agency in the context of the new EU Global Strategy. “EDA is the main platform for European capability development and defence research, therefore it should give more focus to develop a dialogue with the third parties,” R. Karoblis stressed at the session. According to him, it was vital to ensure cooperation with Allies after Brexit, and the necessity for active dialogue with Ukraine stands as well.


Joint lunch of Defence and Internal Affairs Ministers addressed the EU counter-terrorism efforts and the possibility to step up the cooperation between armed forces and law enforcement, information sharing and coordination of actions in that fight. “Data exchange among civilian and military institutions should be taking place at national, international and EU levels, because this is the way to concerted actions and new ways of fighting against terrorism,” R.Karoblis underscored. He proposed creating a new package of practical measures to facilitate information sharing between NATO and the EU and to apply it immediately in EU’s most important effort, Operation Sophia off the coasts of Libya against weapon smuggling.


Photo credit: A.Pliadis

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