European Union Defence Ministers agreed in Brussels on March 6 to initiate first defence projects in the Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO) framework and the list includes the project of creating rapid cyber response teams proposed and headed by Lithuania.
The EU Defence Ministers agreed to recommendations on further PESCO steps: in 2018, member states will have to decide on project implementation procedure and principles, participation rules for third parties, and process of project initiation.
Lithuania leads one of the 17 PESCO projects approved by EU member states: cyber rapid response force formation and mutual assistance in cyber security. 6 EU members are participants of the project and 5 more EU countries are observers.
“Multinational EU cyber teams would be an entirely new capability that would reinforce response to cyber incidents,” Minister of National Defence Raimundas Karoblis said after the EU Foreign Affairs Council of Defence meeting.
Lithuania is also member of the Dutch-initiated and led military mobility initiative aimed at swiftly and effectively removing procedural, legal and infrastructural obstacles for movement of forces in Europe. Minister R. Karoblis underscored at the meeting that the initiative on improving military mobility is among Lithuania’s top priorities.
“Fluent movement of military forces and equipment across inner borders of European countries is a crucial factor in ensuring expeditious response to threats in our region,” R. Karoblis said. According to the Minister, implementation of the initiative will be a shared interest of NATO and the EU which will allow using both organisations’ tools for removing existing obstacles in the most effective way.
The EU Defence Ministers met with NATO Deputy Secretary General Rose Gottemoeller to discuss NATO and-EU cooperation ahead of the NATO Summit in July 2018.
Minister R. Karoblis underlined that the initiative of developing European military capabilities had to strengthen the transatlantic bond and meet NATO and EU interests fully. “We have to seek openness and proper information sharing about the processes taking place in both organisations because compatibility of work and priorities is a necessary condition for NATO- EU cooperation,” Minister of National Defence said.
Objectives for joint work were agreed on back in 2016 in a NATO-EU declaration in Warsaw , later the list of priority working areas was revisited. Both organisations have an agreement that cooperation has to be ongoing on response to hybrid threats, strategic communication, cyber-security, fight against terrorism, and military capability development, also on coordination of exercise planning and execution and on building capacity of partner nations.
The Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO) is an instrument allowed for in the Treaty of Lisbon, for deepening the cooperation in security and defence area for those EU member states that have military capabilities meeting higher criteria and are bound by greater commitments.