Working dinner at the National and University Library attended by High EU Representative Josep Borrell, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and EU defence ministers
Within the Croatian Presidency of the Council of the European Union an informal meeting of EU defence ministers was held on 4 March 2020, hosted by the Croatian Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Damir Krstičević and chaired by the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice-President of the European Commission Josep Borrell.
On the first day of the Informal Meeting the ministers held a working dinner in the at the National and University Library, which was attended by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and by the High EU Representative Borrell and EU defence ministers.
Minister Krstičević: I believe that our conclusions will contribute to a safe and stable Europe
Defence Minister Damir Krstičević shared his honour over hosting the informal meeting of the EU defence ministers and the working dinner attended bythe High Representative for Foreign and Security Policy Josep Borrell and NATO Secretary General Stoltenberg.
“Over the two days we shall discuss the EU priorities in the field of defence, of strengthening the European defence co-operation and NATO-EU co-operation. I expect a productive discussion and I believe that we our conclusions will contribute to a safe and stable Europe“, said Minister Krstičević and announced bilateral meetings with the Minister of the Armed Forces of France and the Defence Minister of Portugal to discuss the strengthening of operation in defence.
NATO SG: The meeting reflects close co-operation between the EU and NATO
NATO Secretary General in his doorstep statement said that his participation at the EU defence ministers meeting reflected the close co-operation between EU and N ATO.
“This meeting reflects the close co-operation between EU and NATO. And that’s something I welcome, not least because we all face challenges, which are so difficult and so great that and no one, institution, organization alone can deal with them and we have work together. And we see that for instance in Syria where we have seen more violence, more indiscriminate bombings and hundreds of thousands of people have been forced to flee. We also see on the border between Greece and Turkey. It reminds us that the migrant and refugee crises are a common challenge and they require common solutions”, said SG Stoltenberg.
NATO Secretary General also said he was in regular contact with the leadership in the European Union but also with the political leadership in Greece and Turkey.
“At today’s meeting with the EU defence ministers I will discuss the ongoing efforts to find a peaceful negotiated solution to the crisis and the conflict in Afghanistan. We are ready to reduce our presence if the Taliban abides by the terms of the agreement. I think it is important not to rush into withdrawal as this will reduce the likelihood of implementation of the agreement”, stated NATO Secretary General.
Borrell: The sit situation is the worst case of human suffering and human rights violations in the past 70 years
High EU Representative Josep Borrell in his statement said the situation in Syria was extremely serious and dramatic, and that the EU would call again to stop the military activities in Syria to protect the human lives.
“From the information from Ankara a worst case of human distress and human rights violation seen in the past 70 years”, said HR Borrell.
Minister Krstičević at the EU defence mnisters working dinner: Stability in southeast Europe’s means stability for entire Europe
During the working dinner the ministers discussed the current operational priorities, emphasising the importance of working together and working with strategic partners.
In his address on the topic Minister Damir Krstičević stressed that operational priorities were an indispensable part of the strategic debate on the future of European defence, which has to take into account the complementary co-operation with NATO and the UN.
“If the European Union wants to be a credible global player, it must also take into account its immediate environment. In this regard, it needs to extend the focus on southeast Europe and provide support to the partners to respond to the numerous security challenges. Stability in southeast Europe also means stability for entire Europe”, said Minister Krstičević.