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Minister Paul Kehoe attending Foreign Affairs and Defence Council in Brussels
Tuesday 6th March 2017

The Minister with Responsibility for Defence, Paul Kehoe, T.D. will attend the Foreign Affairs and Defence Ministers Council in Brussels on Tuesday 6th March. The meeting will involve discussion of a range of ongoing developments in relation to the EU Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP). A Council Decision on the first list of PESCO projects and Member States’ participation will be considered for approval and a Council Recommendation on the way forward for PESCO as a cooperative initiative will be put forward for acceptance. The agenda includes discussions on the security and defence aspects of the EU’s Global Strategy on Foreign and Security Policy and an exchange of views on the current status of CSDP missions, during which the Minister will inform Council colleagues of Government approval for a further deployment to Operation Sophia. There will also be a discussion on EU/NATO Cooperation.

Subject to Council agreeing the decision on projects and participation, Ireland intends to participate in two PESCO projects; 1. European Union Training Mission Competence Centre (EU TMCC); which is being led by Germany, and 2. Upgrade of Maritime Surveillance; which is being led by Greece.

Commenting on the two PESCO projects that Ireland intends to participate in, Minister Kehoe stated that:

“All PESCO projects will contribute to improve the capacity of the EU and Member States to support international peace and security, both as EU and as troop contributors on UN mandated missions. Through our anticipated participation in the two selected projects, Ireland will continue to enhance our interoperability and ensure that our troops are equipped with the latest and best equipment and training. The selection of which projects to participate in involved careful planning and consideration, and the two projects chosen reflect Ireland’s current capability requirements."

Concluding, the Minister said:

“Ireland has and continues to be a major contributor to EU operations and participates actively in all aspects of CSDP. I am pleased to be able to inform my European colleagues of Ireland’s continued active participation in the CSDP mission in the Mediterranean, Operation Sophia for 2018."



PESCO was formally launched at the 11th December Foreign Affairs and Defence Council. Participation by Ireland was approved by the Government of Ireland last November followed by Dáil Éireann approval in December 2017.

PESCO is a Lisbon Treaty mechanism providing a framework for groups of EU Member States to come together and, on a project by project basis, jointly develop military crisis management capabilities for use in support of CSDP Operations. It is designed to provide the Union and its member States with greater efficiency and enhanced capabilities to enable the Union to respond more rapidly to major crises in support of international peace and security.

The framework recognises the centrality of the UN in relation to international peace and security and the importance of multilateralism. It also recognises that Defence and defence expenditure remains a national prerogative and that PESCO participation has no implications for the specific defence policies of member States.

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