07 Mar 2017

UK reaffirms commitment to European security

Defence Secretary, Sir Michael Fallon, has reaffirmed the commitment of the UK to European security at a meeting of the European Union Defence Minister in Brussels.

The Defence Secretary has urged EU members to put security firmly at the top of its priorities by stepping up its cooperation with NATO, in particular with cyber security. With the two organisations working together, challenges in areas such as cyber security and hybrid warfare can be tackled more effectively.

By working together, Sir Michael reminded nations that defence capabilities can be shared between the EU and NATO nations, which will lead to better equipment.

He also highlighted the need for nation’s to be investing, developing and spending in the defence arena.

With Britain leading NATO’s Very High Readiness Joint Task Force this year, our commitment to European security has been underlined, while a spring deployment will see the UK lead in Estonia NATO’s Enhanced Forward Presence.

Further EU missions will see Britain take a strong role in tackling people smugglers in the Mediterranean as part of Operation Sophia, while over 150 UK personnel are deployed in missions to Bosnia, Mali and Somalia.

At the meeting of Ministers, the Defence Secretary said: “We are leaving the EU but we will continue to cooperate with our European partners on defence and security. This includes playing our part in the mission in the Mediterranean, rescuing migrants and tackling people smuggling.

“Today I have urged the EU to cooperate more closely with NATO, to avoid unnecessary duplication and to work together on new threats, including cyber.”

Today’s meeting also brought forward improvements to the EU’s Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) missions and operations, through the Military Planning and Conduct Capability (MPCC), to help improve planning and conduct of the training missions (known as non-executive missions) and to enhance civilian and military working. Important improvements to the agreement, suggested by the UK, were agreed today, including limiting the authority of the Director of the MPCC, and avoiding duplication with NATO structures.

Images: © Crown Copyright – 800 British troops to lead part of NATO’s Enhanced Forward Presence in Estonia


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