‘We should enhance our resilience to prevent and respond to security threats’ – Josep Borrell blog post on European defence

01-03-2021
Photo: European Union
Photo: European Union

The European Union needs a commitment at the highest political level to become a stronger security actor in a world of fast-changing threats, writes the EU High Representative Josep Borrell in his blog following the last European Union Council. On 26 February, the EU leaders had an in-depth discussion on how to develop the EU’s role on security and defence. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg also joined the meeting.

As High Representative for foreign and security policy, Borrell promises to deliver what EU citizens expect: last year 77% of Europeans supported efforts to develop a common EU security and defence policy. According to Borrell, he will make an effort on building up the EU’s collective capacity to protect European security interests, by having the right means and the will to use them.

The EU currently has 17 missions and operations around the world, with close to 5,000 women and men deployed. They require a more efficient EU planning and command as well as flexible and robust mandates,” says Borrell. The new European Peace Facility, with €5 billion over seven years, is also a game-changer: it will allow us to move beyond training the armed forces of our partners, to also equip them.

I also believe we need to be prepared to undertake new operational engagements, said Borrell. “We need to step up our readiness to meet future crises. We know there is a real risk of continued instability in different regions, which are directly relevant for our own security.

Borrell says the EU should enhance its resilience to prevent and respond to changing security threats and challenges: We have to guarantee secure access to the global commons, in particular cyber, the high seas and space. For instance, we see a growing demand for the EU to expand its role as a maritime security provider. 

According to Borrell, the EU should also link defence and ‘space’ better and move forward with the implementation of the EU Cybersecurity Strategy. Besides, the EU should step up cooperation with partners bilaterally and with international organisations, starting with NATO.

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