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Minister with Responsibility for Defence launches a new initiative to enhance EU Member States support to UN Missions

The Minister with Responsibility for Defence, together with his Defence Ministerial colleagues from Sweden, Austria, the Netherlands and Belgium, at the EU Council Meeting today, launched a new initiative designed to enhance the contribution of EU Member States to UN Blue Hat Operations across the globe. The initiative is designed to support EU Member States, who are now returning to UN peacekeeping in increasing numbers. The proposal envisages a more transparent system whereby EU Member States can collaborate together to contribute to UN Missions while also having greater visibility on how they can exit such operations, as and when required.

One of the key concerns for EU Member States contributing to UN missions has been the ability to plan both initial participation and also planned future exits from such operations, consistent with Member States available military capacity.

“The initiative we have launched today is designed to provide a roadmap to enhance coordination among our EU Partners to deliver greater certainty for Member States in contributing to UN Missions” the Minister said.

In launching this initiative with EU Defence Ministerial colleagues, the Minister said, “The UN is a key strategic partner of the EU and through our action plan on “Strengthening the UN-EU Strategic Partnership on Peacekeeping and Crisis Management – Priorities 2019 to 2021” we are committed to supporting it as it addresses the complex challenges of international conflict. The initiative we are launching today is only the start of a dialogue among EU partners. Much work remains to be done in developing structures to enhance transparency and support commitments to UN operations among our EU colleagues. As significant contributors to the UN missions, the co-sponsoring States are committed to seeing through this process”.

Ireland has been a key advocate for increased participation by EU Member States in UN Operations. It was through Ireland’s initiative that the “Strengthening the UN-EU Strategic Partnership on Peacekeeping and Crisis Management” policy and action plan was developed. This has been advanced most recently through the EU endorsing the “EU-UN Strategic Priorities on Peace Operations and Crisis Management (2019-2021)” and now through this current initiative.

Ireland’s active engagement in all aspects of the EU’s evolving CSDP has enabled us to influence the EU agenda in collaboration with partners, including ensuring that the UN continues to lie at the heart of EU policy on international crisis management.

“It is through our active engagement and full participation in all aspects of CSDP that Ireland secures the credibility and influence to ensure that CSDP operates in support of the UN and that we can advance Ireland’s values and objectives in support of international peace and security alongside like-minded EU colleagues” the Minister said.

The UN strongly supports CSDP and Ireland’s engagement in CSDP, including our engagement in EU Battlegroups, as has been endorsed by successive by UN Secretaries General. The initiative launched today also has the full support of the UN, which has been centrally involved in the development of the initiative.

“Over recent months I have had ongoing discussions with the UN Under Secretary General for Peacekeeping, Jean-Pierre Lacroix, as we have progressed this initiative” the Minister said. “Mr Lacroix has confirmed his wholehearted support for this initiative noting that a sequenced rotation at the European level can help deliver sustained support for peacekeeping, while more European coordination can also facilitate several Member States to deliver a contingent or capability by working closely together”.

In conclusion, the Minister said: “We will now work closely with EU colleagues, our co-sponsors the External Action Service and the UN to develop this framework for greater collaboration in support of UN Peacekeeping missions”.

Note to Editors:
Please see link to Food for Thought Paper – Increasing Contribution of EU Member States to UN Peacekeeping