Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defence François Bausch participated in the Foreign Affairs Council (FAC) in its defence configuration on 17 May 2022 in Brussels. Discussions focused on the EU's Strategic Compass, the security situation in Mali and Russian aggression against Ukraine.
The Council started with discussions on current affairs, in particular the situation in Mali. The Defence Ministers discussed the EU Training Mission (EUTM) in Mali and the EU's future engagement in the country. "Luxembourg has decided to extend its participation in this mission until the end of 2022, without withdrawing troops, particularly in view of their crucial role in force protection," explained François Bausch during his speech and added: "At the same time, it is becoming increasingly difficult to justify the mission, especially as I no longer see a clear objective. Thus, there should be a redefinition of the mandate in this region."
Subsequently, the EU Defence Ministers discussed the implementation of the Strategic Compass, focusing on the effectiveness of future Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) missions and operations. In order to be able to better act as a global actor in the field of security and defence, the EU must evolve its CSDP missions and operations. In this context, the ministers discussed, among other things, the importance of:
- allowing executive tasks, which will provide more flexibility for missions and control over trained troops;
- allowing for preventive CSDP in relatively stable environments, to prevent the emergence of conflicts;
- expanding common costs in favour of force generation.
Minister François Bausch concluded: "We identified shortcomings related to the flexibility of CSDP missions and operations, force generation and financial solidarity, as well as limitations related to the equipment that could be provided to trained troops. The Strategic Compass gives us the framework and the means to fill these gaps, and as such, Luxembourg welcomes the proposals of the European External Action Service on the effectiveness of military missions, which we can endorse."
In the afternoon, at an informal working meeting, together with their Ukrainian counterpart, Oleksii Reznikov, and NATO Deputy Secretary General Mircea Geoana, the Council took stock of the situation on the ground in Ukraine. In this context, François Bausch said: "Luxembourg has so far delivered equipment and weapons amounting to 10% of its annual defence budget, i.e. over 50 million euros. We will continue to support Ukraine and we should further coordinate our joint efforts."
Press release by the Directorate of Defence