Thursday, 10 May 2018

Ceisteanna (47)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

47. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence if he will report on the recent informal meeting of EU Defence Ministers; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [20415/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Defence)

The Defence Ministerial Informal Ministerial was held in Sofia on the 4th and 5th of May. The meeting was hosted by Bulgaria who currently hold the Presidency of the EU.

There were two working sessions over the course of the meeting which was chaired by the High Representative, Ms Federica Mogherini. The two sessions dealt with a range of ongoing developments in relation to EU Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP); specifically aspects of PESCO and a discussion of Perspectives on Crisis Management.

The PESCO session involved a discussion on the implementation of PESCO and the governance rules for PESCO projects. It was clear at this session that the focus should and will be on positive outcomes for the people of Europe. The work ahead to implement PESCO focuses on two critical success factors. The first is the fulfilment by the participating Member States of the more binding commitments. This will be achieved through annual National Implementation Plans, underpinned by a credible assessment process. The second success factor is the quality and delivery of PESCO projects, both capability-related and operational.

The discussion on crisis management reflected on the current security challenges and the role of the EU in support of international peace and security. This session was attended by UN Under Secretary General for Peacekeeping and the NATO Deputy Secretary General. This facilitated a reflection on operational cooperation and mutual support between the EU, the UN and NATO both at the strategic level and also on the ground where operations from each may be deployed in the same theatre of operations.

I welcome the process under way to review the long-standing and important UN-EU Strategic Partnership on Peacekeeping and Crisis Management. I look forward to close engagement with my Ministerial colleagues in this space. Ireland is committed to the development of EU capabilities in the area of crisis management in support of the UN.

Ireland is an active participant in all aspects of CSDP, both civilian and military. We endorse the position that crisis management operations are most effective when part of a wider approach, linking up with diplomacy, development and internal security policies. Discussions during this session were constructive and inclusive.

While in Sofia, I also attended a meeting of the European Defence Agency (EDA) Steering Board.