The Minister of National Defence, Mr. Nikos Panagiotopoulos, attended the Informal Meeting of EU Defence Ministers on 28 and 29 August 2019 in Helsinki, Finland, which holds the Presidency of the Council of the European Union as of 1 July 2019.
Mr. Panagiotopoulos attended the working dinner for Defence Ministers "AI and new technologies". In his address, the Minister assured his counterparts of the Government's priority for constructive cooperation on matters of Common Security and Defence Policy. Furthermore, he made proposals for cooperation among member states in AI activities.
During today's working sessions, the EU Defence Ministers discussed the "Coordinated Maritime Presences" Concept, which was recently launched, as well as "Climate and Defence".
In his addresses on the "Coordinated Maritime Presences" Concept, the Minister of National Defence, Mr. Nikos Panagiotopoulos, stressed that the matters of Maritime Security are of high priority for Greece and reminded that EU policy for Maritime Security was adopted during the Hellenic Presidency in 2014.
The Greek Minister noted that, concerning the selection of regions where the concept will be deployed in the future, after the completion of its pilot application, the selection criteria should include closeness to the EU, as is the case for the Southeast Mediterranean region. He also made it clear that the cooperations between the EU and third party countries within the framework of this concept should require the respect of good neighbourly relations and international law by them.
During the Informal Meeting of EU Defence Ministers, the Minister of National Defence highlighted the Turkish provocativeness in the East Mediterranean, with the dispatch of a fourth survey ship, as well as with its behaviour which escalates tension and security risks in the region. Mr. Panagiotopoulos stressed that the EU should include the East Mediterranean as a priority to the regions of high interest concerning the "Coordinated Maritime Presences" Concept.
Concerning "Climate and Defence", the Minister acknowledged the ever increasing consequences of Climate Change for the planet and the need for the Armed Forces to implement actions to reduce the carbon footprint of military structures, mentioning specific programmes in which the Hellenic Armed Forces participate.
During the joint working lunch with the EU Foreign Ministers that followed, the Ministers exchanged views on matters of hybrid threats and cyber defence.
The Minister of National Defence stressed in particular the importance of the Solidarity Clause and the Mutual Assistance Clause in dealing with hybrid threats. He also stressed that one of the five PESCO programmes coordinated by our country aims at enhancing the capabilities of member states in terms of cyber defence and response to cyber attacks and aims at enhancing the (national and EU) capabilities for timely detection of malicious cyber attacks.
In the margins of the Informal Meeting, the Greek Minister met with his counterparts from France, Ms. Florence Parly, Bulgaria, Krasimir Karakachanov, Croatia, Mr. Damir Krsticevic, Romania, Mr. Gabriel – Beniamin Les, and the European Defence Agency Chief Executive, Mr. Jorge Domecq, with whom he exchanged views on matters of mutual interest and future cooperation.