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Minister Paul Kehoe attends Foreign Affairs and Defence Council in Brussels

The Minister with Responsibility for Defence, Paul Kehoe, T.D. today (Monday, 13th November) attended the Foreign Affairs and Defence Ministers Council in Brussels. The meeting dealt with a range of ongoing developments in relation to the EU Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP). The agenda included discussions on the security and defence aspects of the EU’s Global Strategy on Foreign and Security Policy, including Permanent Structured Cooperation and the European Defence Fund and the priorities for civilian crisis management in CSDP. There was a discussion on EU/NATO Cooperation. It was followed by a meeting of the Steering Board of the European Defence Agency in Defence Ministers format.

PESCO is a Lisbon Treaty mechanism providing a framework for groups of EU Member States to come together and, on a project by project basis, jointly develop military crisis management capabilities for use in support of CSDP Operations. It is designed to provide the Union and its member States with greater efficiency and enhanced capabilities to enable the Union to respond more rapidly to major crises in support of international peace and security. The framework recognises the centrality of the UN in relation to international peace and security and the importance of multilateralism. It also recognises that Defence and defence expenditure remains a national prerogative and that PESCO participation has no implications for the specific defence policies of member States.

Commenting on the PESCO initiative, Minister Kehoe stated that: “PESCO can contribute to improve the capacity of the EU and member States to support international peace and security, both as EU and as troop contributors on UN mandated missions. It is also a means of enhancing interoperability and ensuring that our troops are equipped with the latest and best equipment and training."

Concluding, the Minister said: “Ireland has and continues to be a major contributor to EU operations and participates actively in all aspects of CSDP. We plan to remain at the centre of CSDP developments."

NOTE:PESCO will be formally launched at the 11th December Foreign Affairs and Defence Council. Participation by Ireland is subject to the approval of Government and Dáil Éireann.