December 2, 2011 defpro.com
November 30, Vice Minister of National Defence for Defence Policy and International Relations Vytautas Umbrasas took part in the EU Defence Ministers’ meeting in Brussels (Belgium) which was held in the framework of Foreign Affairs Council.
In the meeting Ministers discussed multilateral initiatives of capability development, points of the EU partnerships and operations, the progress of the EU military operations in Bosnia and Herzegovina and off the Somali coast, shared views on other initiatives of the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP).
Budget of the European Defence Agency (EDA) of 30.5 million euros was endorsed at the meeting for the following year. The proposal for the budget proposal – zero increase maintaining the budget of the same size as the previous year – reflect moods of the countries with regard to the economic recession in Europe.
Major attention in the meeting was paid to the points of capability development – the Pooling and Sharing initiative. In tune with the majority of speakers, Vice Minister V.Umbrasas welcomed efforts of the EU institutions in the area and stressed that Lithuania is already a part of two EDA projects (the European Air Transport Fleet EATF and Maritime Surveillance MARSUR) and is interested in further possible areas of capability development (Satellite Communications project SATCOM, countermeasures to improvised explosive devices, pooling and sharing firing ranges). Vice Minister accentuated that Lithuania has the view of the Pooling and Sharing initiative as the key principle of cooperation in the region (Baltic-Nordic) and invited member states and EDA to put more effort into the development of energy security sector.
In the formal session f the Council where the EU operations and partnerships were discussed V. Umbrasas praised efforts of Poland which currently holds the EU Presidency in developing partnerships in the CSDP area with Eastern countries and invited the EU to form a network of defence cooperation with partner states. The EU Senior Representative C. Ashton promised to continue working on relations with the Eastern countries.