Portugal wants EU defence, security partnership with UK

Citing the examples of Canada and Norway, the minister said in the future the EU should create the “necessary corporate mechanisms and broad partnership structures” with the United Kingdom as well. [EPA-EFE/OLIVIER HOSLET]

The European Union should create “broad structures of partnership” with the United Kingdom on defence and security policy, Portuguese defence minister João Gomes Cravinho said on Friday (19 February).

Speaking at a high-level conference to discuss the future of EU security and defence, he stressed the need to “partner better and more strategically” by intensifying cooperation with traditional partners.

Citing Canada and Norway, the minister said the EU should create the “necessary corporate mechanisms and broad partnership structures” with the United Kingdom as well

Moreover, he advocated the need for a stronger relationship with the United States, especially in areas such as hybrid threats or capability gaps.

“The EU is the most effective ally of the US, so we believe that there should soon be a security and defence dialogue between the two regions at ministerial level,” he said.

As for multilateral organisations such as NATO and the United Nations, Cravinho believes there should also be regular strategic dialogues on a ministerial level there as well.

He said that the EU’s so-called Strategic Compass, which includes three phases – an analysis of threats, the definition of strategic objectives, and the establishment of political guidelines for military planning – should be developed together with “a review of NATO’s strategic concept”.

In addition to partnerships with other countries, he also referred to the other three pillars of the future common strategy of the EU, namely crisis management, resilience and capabilities.

Cravinho emphasised the ability to develop EU common security and defence policy missions and operations that match European needs.

“More practical requirements, more robust control systems, better planning based on crisis scenarios, and more robust mandates for missions are needed,” he added.

According to the minister, the pandemic highlighted the need to do better in dealing with complex emergencies and, in this context, resilience should include two aspects.

“Anything that is subject to enemy action, which requires us to be very dynamic in identifying possible enemy action and anything that may require the extensive application of military capabilities.”

However, he also believes that the pandemic has shown examples of good practice to respond to complex emergencies.

“We should hold regular exercises to speed up procedures. We need to develop mechanisms, for example, that allow us to rapidly incorporate military capabilities from one country into another [country] in response to civil emergencies,” he said.

The minister also proposed constructing an EU cyber unit to supplement and coordinate national efforts of the 27.

[Edited by Frédéric Simon]

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