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Vice Minister of National Defence V. Umbrasas attended the informal EU Defence Ministers meeting in Nicosia


On September 26 and 27 Vice Minister of National Defence Vytautas Umbrasas attended the informal EU Defence Ministers meeting in Nicosia, Cyprus.


At the informal meeting relevant issues of the European Security and Defence Policy were addressed. Ministers discussed security situation and developments in the EU’s southern neighbourhood - including Libya, Syria, Mali and the entire Sahel region. The majority of Ministers’ addresses upheld the necessity for the EU to continue closely monitoring security situation in the region and to schedule a more intense EU’s involvement in preparations for all the feasible scenarios.


Ministers also discussed the ongoing EU’s operations and missions – counter-piracy operations ATALANTA and NESTOR, the European Union Training Mission (EUTM), and the ALTHEA Operation in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Vice Minister V. Umbrasas delivered a message that Lithuania was ready to assign the vessels of its national navy for ship protection in the ATALANTA operation in 2013.


Ministers also addressed the development of the EU military capabilities – the advance in the development of pooling and sharing. Ministers estimated the outcome of the EU Battlegroup coordination conference, as well as the proposals of the European External Action Service regarding the enhancement of the EU Battle Groups.


During the visit in Cyprus Vice Minister V. Umbrasas conducted a meeting with the representatives of defence ministries of the current EU Presidency’s Trio partners – Ireland and Greece. At the meeting the priorities of the EU Presidency were shared, the countries agreed to concert their Presidency programs, to provide information about the planned events and other activities related to the Presidency of the Council of the European Union. In order to ensure the succession of the EU Presidency, it is implemented in the so-called Trios, i.e. on the basis of a common 18 months program. The Trio partners do not draft a collective Presidency program, however, they agree their positions and priorities on a regular basis. Ireland’s Presidency of the Council of the European Union will begin on January 1, 2013, and will run for the first half of the year, while Greece’s Precidency will begin on January 1, 2014, immediately after the conclusion of Lithuania’s Presidency.


Informal Defence Ministers meetings are held on a biannual basis in the country holding the Presidency of the Council of the European Union. As the Lithuania’s Presidency of the European Council in the second semester of 2013 approaches Lithuania increases its participation in the EU Common Security and Defence Policy. Last year Lithuania joined two projects of the European Defence Agency (EDA) – the European Air Transport Fleet (EATF) partnership and the Maritime Surveillance program (MARSUR). In the second semester of 2013 Lithuania will deploy its troops with the UK-led EU Battle Group, currently Lithuania also considers commitment to the maritime EU operation ATALANTA.


Photos by MoND

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