EU foreign and defence ministers discussed the situation in the Sahel with their counterparts from the G5 Sahel countries (Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger). The meeting was the opportunity to reaffirm the strategic importance of the Sahel for the EU, which stands by the G5 Sahel countries in their efforts to address multiple challenges.
EU foreign and defence ministers met with their counterparts from the G5 Sahel countries.
It was a very positive, deep, and frank discussion. We highlighted the support we can give to redeploy state authority and ensure the provision of basic services, as their absence hits the livelihoods of local populations. We agreed that we need to work together on security sector reform and on certain aspects of the behaviour of the armed forces, which must be exemplary. We agreed that there will be no room for impunity.
Federica Mogherini, High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy
Ministers discussed in particular how to address the recent deterioration in the security situation in the region, including the increased presence of terrorist groups, as well as the increase in intercommunal violence. They reaffirmed their strong determination to step up efforts to combat jihadist and other terrorists groups and to restore stability, including through further work to operationalise the G5 Sahel Joint Force. They also mentioned the important role of the MINUSMA in supporting security efforts in Mali and the region. The need for states' presence to be reinforced throughout the Sahel's territory was also highlighted, as well as the importance of addressing human rights' violation.
Defence ministers discussed PESCO after its first full year of implementation. They reviewed the progress made, including the implementation of the 34 projects agreed within this framework. They took stock of the ongoing discussion on the general conditions under which third States could be invited to participate in individual projects, and reaffirmed their commitment to complete this work as swiftly as possible.
The Council adopted a recommendation assessing the progress made by the participating member states to fulfil commitments undertaken in the framework of Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO).
Defence ministers discussed EU-NATO Cooperation with NATO Deputy Secretary General Rose Gottemoeller. They focused in particular on ways to counter hybrid threats.
European Defence Agency Steering Board
The European Defence Agency's steering board met after the Council meeting:
In the margins, 22 member states signed a new EDA military mobility programme: