Portugal’s defence minister, João Gomes Cravinho, held a videoconference with his German counterpart and the Slovenian secretary of state on Wednesday (3 February) to take stock of “developments in European defence policy”.
The presidency trio comprises the current presidency of the Council of the EU (Portugal) along with the previous (Germany) and the next (Slovenia).
According to a statement issued by the ministry of defence, this meeting took place around a month before an informal meeting of defence ministers, scheduled for 2-3 March in Lisbon, under the Portuguese presidency.
Cravinho, Germany’s Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, and the Slovenian Uroš Lampret discussed the developments related to the Strategic Compass, the EU strategy for maritime safety and transatlantic relations.
The ministers said they want to deepen the dialogue on the Strategic Compass, “based on the first EU threat analysis”, to identify concrete steps to move the process forward and ensure the participation of the 27 member states.
Presented by EU defence ministers in June 2020, the Strategic Compass covers three phases: a threat analysis of the EU, the establishment of strategic objectives to strengthen the EU as a security and defence actor, and the creation of political guidelines for military planning procedures.
The communiqué said that “possible measures allowing a rapid operationalisation of the initiative in the Gulf of Guinea”, defined by the EU as the first Maritime Zone of Interest of the Union, were also discussed, following the adoption of the Coordinated Maritime Presences by the Council of Foreign Ministers.
Concerning transatlantic relations, the trio of presidencies examined a number of topics which will be addressed at the next meeting of defence ministers, in particular the relationship with the new US administration under President Joe Biden, and the European Union’s relationship with the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO).
Measures for the new European Peace Facility “to train and equip partners in training missions” were also discussed.