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Defence Ministers paid particular regard to the situation in Ukraine


On February 20 Ministers of Defence of the European Union member states focussed particularly on the developments in Ukraine on the first day of the informal meeting in Athens, Greece.


The Ministers expressed their shared concern about the outbreak of aggression in Ukraine, the rapidly growing numbers of casualties and injured people and the acute necessity of addressing the situation by peaceful measures. Lithuanian Minister of Defence J.Olekas proposed to his counterparts expressing a joint stance and inviting the Minister of Defence and the Government of Ukraine to restrain from invoking the armed forces; J.Olekas also encouraged his counterparts to communicate with Ukrainian colleagues and to urge them to look for peaceful measures for stopping the violence and to turn back to political dialogue.


The EU Defence Ministers opened the meeting with a discussion on the progress in the implementation of the European Council Conclusions on security and defence of December 2013. The Ministers were also discussing a systemic and long-term enhancement of defence cooperation and joint projects.


At the meeting J.Olekas pointed out for his colleagues the importance the European Council had attached to the emerging security challenges and the development of partnerships. The Lithuanian Minister also reminded that the European Heads of State or Government had initiated drafting documentation on cyber defence and maritime security and invited enhancing the cooperation in the area of energy security. “As we seek to ensure energy security, we should produce a framework for consultations with the European Defence Agency, the European Commission and member states of the European Union so that we could have concrete achievements by 2015,” Minister J.Olekas said.


While addressing the Eastern Partnership (EaP), J.Olekas underlined the need for a stronger cooperation with the Eastern partners as demonstrated by the current situation in Ukraine. “Strengthening the relations and cooperation in security area with the Eastern partners willing to do so must be one of the key European priorities in the framework of the Common Foreign and Security Policy”, the Minister said.


In a discussion on the significance of the EU-NATO security and defence cooperation J.Olekas underscored the necessity to improve the coordination among the training events of the NATO Response Force (NRF) and the EU Battle groups (EU BGs).


Once in a semester the EU Presidency country hosts an informal meeting of the EU Defence Ministers where EU operations and other important Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) issues are addressed.


In the photos: 2. Minister of National Defence Juozas Olekas and NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen (on the left). 3. Minister of National Defence Juozas Olekas and Chief Executive of the European Defence Agency Claude France Arnould (on the left).


Photos by Lithuanian MOD

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