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Lithuania and 22 EU members affirmed the intent to enhance defence cooperation


November 13, Lithuania affirmed the intent to join the Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO) in defence area at the European Union Foreign Affairs Council meeting in Brussels. Defence and Foreign Ministers of all 23 EU member states signed a joint notification on PESCO laying out additional countries‘ defence commitments. The EU is expected to decide officially on PESCO in December.


Minister of National Defence Raimundas Karoblis who attended the meeting along with Minister of Foreign Affairs Linas Linkevičius underscored that the step demonstrated EU member states‘ resolve to develop defence capabilities and increase defence investment. Lithuania proposes engaging in a closer defence cooperation and simplifying military transit in the PESCO framework.


Minister R. Karoblis presented Lithuania‘s initiative to form rapid response teams for handling cyber-attacks. Finland is set to join the project, cooperation possibilities are discussed with other countries of the region. „We have to make use of the new defence initiatives – PESCO and the European Defence Fund – to strengthen European cyber defence capabilities,” R. Karoblis said.


Alongside the Benelux and the countries of our region, Lithuania is inviting to join a measure to facilitate military transit in Europe. “Several months ago we proposed establishing a military Schengen, and it is an initiative of the whole EU today, it is one of the commitments on the PESCO list. Over the coming months European institutions and member states are expected to agree on concrete steps for facilitating transit procedures and identifying the need for additional investment in infrastructure. Military transit is an important priority in NATO, therefore NATO-EU cooperation in the area is absolutely relevant,” Minister of National Defence said.


The Defence Ministers were joined by the NATO Secretary General in a discussion on the priorities of NATO-EU. “We see military transit, cyber defence, response to hybrid threats and coordination in strategic communications among the priority cooperation areas,” R. Karoblis underscored.


PESCO is an instrument allowed for in the Lisbon Treaty for deepening the coopertion in security and defence area for those EU member states that have military capabilities meeting higher criteria and are bound by greater commitments.


Photos: courtesy of the EU

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