European Council members discuss security and defence
On Friday 26 February, on the second day of their meeting, the members of the European Council exchanged views on security and defence and discussed issues related to the Southern Neighbourhood. Prime Minister Sanna Marin represented Finland at the meeting.
In a statement issued after the meeting, the leaders of the EU Member States reaffirmed their commitment to the Strategic Agenda for 2019 –2024. The Strategic Agenda was adopted at the June 2019 European Council and aims to strengthen the EU’s position in a changing environment. With regard to security and defence, the EU leaders wish to promote the Union’s interests and values and ensure its preparedness to effectively tackle all security threats and challenges.
The leaders reaffirmed that, in the face of increased global instability, the EU needs to take more responsibility for its security. At the same time, the EU is committed strengthening its partnerships with the UN, NATO and key regional partners. The EU leaders also look forward to cooperating with the new administration of the United States in this area.
The statement outlines a number of steps to deepen security and defence cooperation amongst Member States, increase defence investment and enhance the development of civilian and military capabilities and operational readiness within the Union. The Union is also working to strengthen its ability to respond to hybrid threats, including cyber threats and disinformation. The Strategic Compass, which will guide the implementation of security and defence cooperation, should be adopted by March 2022 at the latest.
The EU leaders also discussed the political and strategic nature of the EU’s partnership with the Southern Neighbourhood. The leaders would like to renew and strengthen this cooperation and partnership with a view to tackling common challenges and taking advantage of shared opportunities.
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