Background Information: Informal meeting of defence ministers
From 29 to 30 August the informal meeting of EU defence ministers takes place in Vienna.
On 29 August a working dinner will be held in the Museum of Military History. It will provide an opportunity for guests to discuss South-East Europe and the Western Balkans, the main focus of Austrian defence policy. Engagement in the region is based on the EU strategy for the Western Balkans. Together with the participating ministers, High Representative Federica Mogherini will discuss Common Security and Defence Policy engagement with the Western Balkans, including the participation of partners in the region in CSDP initiatives. Possibilities for further cooperation with NATO and the UN will also be discussed. Rose Gottemoeller, NATO Deputy Secretary General, and Jean‑Pierre Lacroix, UN Under‑Secretary‑General for Peacekeeping Operations, will participate in the working dinner.
On 30 August the EU defence ministers will meet in the Austria Center Vienna. The working session will be devoted to taking forward the EU’s security and defence agenda, with a particular focus on three issues: the review of the Military Planning and Conduct Capability, the work ahead in the implementation of the Permanent Structured Cooperation in coherence with ongoing work on the Coordinated Annual Review on Defence and the European Defence Fund; and the European Peace Facility.
At the meeting, Federal Minister Mario Kunasek will present an Austrian non‑paper on the Austrian assistance model and the possibilities to apply it in the management of EU external borders.
Building capabilities means closing the capability gaps of EU member states. In this context a first set of Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO) projects has already been initiated. Austria is participating in four of these projects. In addition, another project has been proposed for the second set starting in autumn 2018. The joint project – developed by Austria, Slovenia, Hungary and Croatia – will aim at using unmanned aerial and terrestrial vehicles to autonomously detect and survey risks caused by nuclear, biological and chemical hazardous substances. The Council of EU defence ministers on 20 November is expected to decide on the acceptance of this project.
Two topics will be discussed under the heading “Funding”. The European Peace Facility (EPF) is to be set up in the context of the next long-term budget of the European Union (2021‑2027), as an out of budget instrument. This will concern mainly funds for the building of defence capabilities and for military missions.
The European Defence Fund (EDF) funds defence research and the development of the European security industry. The Federal Ministry of Defence is part of a “Friends of the Presidency” Council working party that is preparing a respective EU regulation. Between 2021 and 2027, EDF investments of 13 billion euros should go to research.
With the Military Planning and Conduct Capability (MPCC) the EU has a tool to plan and conduct non-executive missions in the framework of the CSDP. An example are the EU training missions like the one in Mali. Currently this facility is being evaluated and the Vienna meeting will offer an opportunity to see how it could be developed further.
More information about the event can be found on the event page.