On Tuesday, 12 May 2020, the Minister of National Defence Mr. Nikolaos Panagiotopoulos participated in the Informal Meeting of EU Defence Ministers, held via video-conference.
The main subject of the EU Defence Ministers Informal Meeting was the pandemic impact on the defence-military field on which the Ministers exchanged views regarding its management. NATO Secretary General Mr. Jens Stoltenberg and UN Under-Secretary General for Peace Operations, Mr. Jean – Pierre Lacroix, were called to participate in the discussion.
The key aspects of the discussion were the challenges that the defence field is asked to face in the context of the pandemic, as well as its consequences on the Common Security and Defence Policy operations-missions.
In his intervention, the Minister of National Defence emphasized the need of the EU member-states to demonstrate solidarity and the importance of the Armed Forces contribution in the battle against the pandemic, while at the same time he pointed out the need of utilizing the lessons learned that will arise from the pandemic management, through the EU’s competent structures and mechanisms.
He did not omit to mention the importance of preserving EU’s resilience towards the multiple challenges looming over during such a crisis, especially the hybrid threats, referring mainly to the mass and organized pressure through people’s movement to Evros borders, instigated by Turkey, as well as to the well-organised misinformation campaign of the latter.
Concluding, the Minister of National Defence Mr. Nikolaos Panagiotopoulos highlighted the importance of ‘IRINI’ operation regarding security and stability in the Eastern Mediterranean, as well as Greece’s substantial contribution, having assumed the Operation’s Force Command, in rotation with Italy, despite the challenges faced, inviting at the same time the member-states to participate more actively and reminding them of the role that the EU must play in the wider region.