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Lithuania proposes for EU members to establish a military Schengen and to tighten cyber defence cooperation


On September 6-7 Minister of National Defence Raimundas Karoblis took part in a European Union Defence Ministers meeting in Tallinn where new EU initiatives and practical cooperation were addressed.


Joint session with EU Foreign Ministers focused on the development of the Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO) and establishment of the European Defence Fund (EDF).


“Lithuania supports a closer EU cooperation in defence, PESCO in defence has to facilitate the increase of EU defence spending and formation of concrete defence capabilities in Europe. We hope that as many countries as possible will participate in PESCO,” R.Karoblis underscored at the meeting.


According to Minister, Lithuania was considering practical ways of participation and had proposed several projects. “Together with the Benelux countries, Finland and Estonia, we propose developing a military Schengen project in PESCO framework, that would facilitate movement of military forces in Europe. It includes both, simplification of procedures and investment into infrastructure. The project has the support of many countries and its practical implementation is valuable to both the EU and NATO,” Minister of National Defence said after the meeting.


“We have also invited the EU member states to tighten the cooperation in cyber defence. We are proposing to strengthen cyber defence capabilities and collective response to cyber threats and PESCO makes a good political format for that while the European Defence Fund can provide financial support. Also, it is an area that needs a closer EU-NATO cooperation,” R. Karoblis said.


The EU Defence Ministers also attended strategic table-top exercise EU CYBRID 2017 in Tallinn which tested the mechanism of EU response to attacks on the EU military infrastructure. The exercise was also attended by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.


The Treaty of Lisbon provides for the establishment of the Permanent Structured Cooperation. Recently the EU members have been engaged in active discussions on the responsibilities the countries willing to be a part of a tighter cooperation would have to take on, and also have been proposing practical cooperation projects.


The European Commission has proposed establishing the European Defence Fund (EDF) to co-finance defence capability development projects with EUR 500m to be dedicated for defence until 2020.


More images at: https://www.flickr.com/photos/eu2017ee/albums/72157688200689886

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