Over a dozen Defence Ministers and Secretaries of State from European Union Member States met in Palácio Nacional de Queluz (Portugal) this Friday to discuss common goals in the area of security and defence.
The meeting was chaired by the Portuguese Minister of National Defence, João Gomes Cravinho, under the auspices of the Portuguese Presidency of the Council of the EU, and was attended by 14 Ministers and Secretaries of State, the European Commissioner for the Internal Market, Thierry Breton, the European External Action Service, and the Chief Executive of the European Defence Agency, Jiří Šedivý, among others.
The workshop for European Union Defence Ministers on the Strategic Compass aimed to boost the “strategic dialogue phase” taking place in the first half of 2021, during which the Member States have been making their contributions in this area.
The goal of the Strategic Compass is to define guidelines and objectives in the field of security and defence. This process has four main points of focus: crisis management, resilience, capacities and partnerships, and represents a bridge between the Global Strategy of 2016 and the operationalisation of the European Union’s objectives for external crises, partner enablement and citizen protection.
On the basis of the European Union’s joint threat analysis, presented to the Member States by the European Union’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy in November 2020, and in the Scoping Paper presented by the European External Action Service, as well as in various contributions gathered together via discussion papers drawn up by Member States (“non-papers”) and specialist seminars carried out over the last four months, the participants presented ambitious and concrete proposals during this meeting, which thus gave way to a new phase in the strategic dialogue: for the first time, it brought about a discussion in person devoted to the Strategic Compass at the political level.
The proposals cover the strengthening of the EU’s ability to act independently when and where necessary and the identification of key partners in the security and defence fields, in order to respond to the main threats and challenges facing the Union.
The Strategic Compass will foreseeably be approved by the Member States in 2022 and will represent, in the coming years, the most important element of the policy guidelines for the European Union’s Common Security and Defence Policy.
In this process of defining the Strategic Compass, “we cannot allow ourselves the luxury of not being ambitious”, said the Minister, João Gomes Cravinho.