Defense Council and SummitEU Defense (Doctrine)

The position of the “Visegrad” on the Defense Summit

Hungarian Defense Minister Csaba Hende in Sarajevo
Hungarian Defense Minister Csaba Hende in Sarajevo (credit: Hungarian Defense Ministry)

(BRUSSELS2) “ Giving new impetus to European Union cooperation ". This is how the Prime Ministers of the four countries making up the Visegrad space (V4) summarize the challenge of the summit devoted to " European defense and security ". In a letter addressed to Herman Van Rompuy, the President of the European Council, the "4" support  « the involvement of the European Union in global security and defense issues and encourage « the European Council (to) take measures ». « The European Council should not be a stand-alone event “they underline, thus calling for a” regular discussion on these topics. But they also formulate specific nuances on the strengthening of the transatlantic partnership, a more balanced industrial base or support for the countries of the Eastern Partnership...

For a more effective CSDP

Use all European instruments. To reinforce " CSDP effectiveness, impact and visibility (...) and improve our ability to act in a timely manner », one must use " the full range of military and civilian instruments in a flexible way », underlines the document. CSDP “ must [thus] be well integrated into the implementation of the various European instruments available in accordance with the overall approach of the European Union ».

A regular review of CSDP missions and operations. Increasing the effectiveness of the CSDP notably involves reviewing the operations and missions of the CSDP: European performance in the planning and conduct of CSDP missions and operations "should thus be reviewed" on a regular basis ».

Develop civil activities. For the Visegrad countries, the civilian dimension of the missions constitutes " the potential and unique tool of the European Union ". They highlight his role in " crisis prevention and post-conflict reconstruction » and wish « adequate, flexible (...) and efficient funding ». The V4 does not disdain the military operation. But we feel that it is not their priority. " Work on improving usability as well as flexibility of European Battlegroups " must " Carry on they point out.

Support for capability programs and the defense industry

European capabilities. The V4 clearly refers to the four capability programs (drones, tankers, satellite communications, cyber-defence) identified by the European Defense Agency and displays its support for the " development of European military capabilities (...), coordination and cooperation ».

A more balanced industrial base. Countries are calling for further efforts on strengthening the European Defense Technological and Industrial Base (EDIBD) ". The notions of fairness and balance are particularly highlighted. Thus, the opportunities offered by the EDITB must be provided “ for all EU member states ».

SMEs. The V4s state that " the strengthening of the European defense industry should be carried out hand in hand to ensure wider access and participation of SMEs in the European defense market and to establish balanced, transparent and fair conditions for all users of the market ". Access that should be supported by “ better use of structural funds ».


Transatlantic axis. Far from asking for greater autonomy for the CSDP vis-à-vis NATO, the V4 forcefully asserts: We cannot and do not wish to act alone. A strong and stable transatlantic partnership remains a vital shared interest ". And it goes through increasing (...) the use of common standards for capability planning and development ».

Eastern Partnership. The V4 States have reaffirmed their will  « to intensify the dialogue on security and defense between the EU and partner countries, including those in the EU's neighbourhood, and encouraging their broad participation in European missions and operations. In this context, we welcome the creation of a “Panel” on CSDP under the Eastern Partnership. » (NB: on the subject: An initiative to create an “Eastern Partnership” PSDC fund)

(Loreline Merelle and Nicolas Gros-Verheyde)

Download the letter

Nicolas Gros Verheyde

Chief editor of the B2 site. Graduated in European law from the University of Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne and listener to the 65th session of the IHEDN (Institut des Hautes Etudes de la Défense Nationale. Journalist since 1989, founded B2 - Bruxelles2 in 2008. EU/NATO correspondent in Brussels for Sud-Ouest (previously West-France and France-Soir).

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