Speech by Javier Solana (EU High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy, head of the European Defence Agency and Secretary-General of the Council of the EU) to the informal meeting of EU defence ministers in Gothenborg, Sweden, on 28 and 29 September 2009.
Points to note include:
I am very impressed by the ongoing and evolving cooperation in the field of maritime surveillance, particularly the work being carried out in the Baltic Sea region. There is a great deal that the European Union can learn from this effort, in which Sweden is taking a leading role. It is in all our interests to develop the collection and sharing of maritime information across borders and between authorities and agencies, including customs, coast guards, police and fisheries.
I should like to thank all the Member States and all the institutions and agencies that are working so hard in this field, particularly the European Commission, the FRONTEX border agency, the Satellite Centre and the European Defence Agency (EDA). I look forward to the report on the European Security and Defence Policy (ESDP) aspects of maritime surveillance being drawn up for the EDA by the five admirals or “wise pens” and I welcome the EDA’s work on the Future Unmanned Aerial System.
Everyone agrees that we will all benefit from pulling together all these efforts and sharing accurate information and situation awareness as part of a global, comprehensive approach that only the EU is capable of developing, in order to tackle the threats and dangers that face us all.
The European Defence Agency (EDA) is exploring ways to connect Defence Research and Technology Investment with Technology Investment in the civil sector in order to increase interoperability.
We have discussed battlegroups at a number of meetings in the past. I should like to thank the Swedish Presidency for focusing the discussion today on some specific points. We devote a great deal of effort to maintaining our battlegroups in a state of readiness and we must ensure that we make full use of this potential, without reducing our level of ambition. Any battlegroup deployment must meet the operational needs of the moment. We want to explore ways of developing our flexibility so that our battlegroups can be deployed rapidly when needed for operational purposes.