CESI to AFET Council: Don’t forget about a social dimension in PESCO

On November 19-20 the Foreign Affairs Council met in Brussels to discuss a number of key issues for European security, reviewing EU-NATO cooperation with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg as well as the EU’s Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) missions and operations, in particular the EUNAVFOR MED Operation Sophia. In a joint session, the defence and foreign ministers discussed the implementation of the EU Global Strategy in the area of security and defence. Reacting to the meeting, the President of CESI’s Defence trade council, Thomas Sohst, who is affiliate of CESI’s member DBwV (German Armed Forces Association), highlighted the importance of a social dimension in EU defence and security policies and measures.

After having signed 17 Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO) projects one year ago, the defence ministers agreed on additional 17 projects to foster cooperation within EU.

Thomas Sohst welcomed the additional projects: “Cooperation and training between armies is always a good tool to strengthen the common understanding and the trust in each other in light of future operations. Common developed and procured equipment on the one hand can save money on the long run.”

Yet, he also added with regard to the armed forces personnel of the member states working together in joint operations: “Don’t forget that PESCO should also have a social dimension, as we stated already in December 2018. Progress in this area should be evaluated by the defence ministers as well. The armed forces personnel has to be convinced that PESCO is of benefit for them as well, looking to comparable working conditions in peacetime as well during and after operations.”

The conclusions which the Council adopted the at the end of its meeting are available here.

Picture: Trade council ‘Defence’ President Thomas Sohst (DBwV) © CESI 2018