This being the first meeting of the Trade Council since CESI’s congress the first business to address was the matter of electing a president and vice presidents to represent the committee and its activities. Thomas Sohst (DBwV) was elected president, while Wilhelm Waldner (EUROFEDOP) and Olivier Ghirardi (FP-CGC) were elected as vice presidents. All three agreed on the importance of strengthening communication between member organisations, as well as towards relevant stakeholders to raise their concerns.
Advocacy work of the Trade Council will focus in particular on the rights of armed forces, such as human rights and freedom of association.
The outcome on the latest EU Defense summit in December 2013 was discussed with Hartmut Bühl, publisher and editor in chief of the magazine “The European Security and Defence Union”. Whereas the industrial foundations of European defence have been enhanced, participants pointed to a lack of focus on military staff and social rights.
“Even though I am aware that this is a prerogative of the individual Member States, these rights have to be fostered at the European level as well”, said Thomas Sohst. “Military staff from different countries should benefit from the same rights when they are part of common missions”.
With the European elections about to shake up the European Parliament, and subsequently the European Commission, the committee is keeping a watchful eye on the future members of the Defence committee and the successor to Catherin Ashton heading of the European External Action Service.
Discussions focused on the elections, the 2013 Defence Summit and equal rights in common defence missions