15 November 2022
By Tom Collins
The Minister for Defence, Simon Coveney TD, today (15 November) attended a meeting of EU Defence Ministers in Brussels.
Ministers discussed the situation in Ukraine and what further steps the EU can take to increase support to Ukraine. The Ukrainian Defence Minister, Oleksii Reznikov, and the Secretary General of NATO, Jens Stoltenberg, also joined for this discussion.
Speaking about the current situation in Ukraine, Minister Coveney said that “what we have seen more recently is a focus on attacks on civilian populations and critical infrastructure, which, apart from representing serious violations of international law and international humanitarian law, seem aimed only at terrorising the civilian population.”
The Minister welcomed the recent establishment of an EU Military Assistance Mission in support of Ukraine, which he described “as an important signal of unwavering EU support and solidarity with Ukraine.” Minister Coveney also confirmed that the Defence Forces would participate in the new mission, though the nature and scale of that participation have yet to be finalised.
Defence Ministers also discussed the operationalisation of the EU Rapid Deployment Capacity by 2025, EU defence capabilities and the possible establishment of a new EU mission in Niger by the end of this year.
Speaking about defence capabilities, Minister Coveney noted that “Ireland is embarking on an ambitious programme of investment in our armed forces.”
Referring to the European Peace Facility, the Minister said that while “the EPF gave us the flexibility to respond to the urgent needs of Ukraine, we must also maintain our level of ambition in other parts of the world, notably Africa”. In that regard, Mr Coveney also confirmed his support for the establishment of a new EU mission in Niger, which would answer to that country’s request from international partners to support its security and defence efforts.