Government’s General Political Directions in View of the European Council Debate on Defence Issues

CHAMBER OF DEPUTIES, XVII LEGISLATURE, 76th MEETING, 7 AUGUST 2013 – QUESTION TIME.

On 7 August 2013, the Minister of Defence, Mario Mauro, outlined before the Chamber of Deputies the Government’s general political directions and priorities in view of the European Council debate on defence issues to be held in December 2013.

Here follow some excerpts from the Minister’s speech:

Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, Italy is preparing for the December debate with strong dedication, not only because of the importance of the event for the common security and defense policy, but also because of the obvious impact that it may have on our six-month presidency of the European Union. Our approach is based on a clear political vision centred on three pillars. First, the strengthening of an efficient European defense dimension as an integral and essential part of the wider process of European integration. This process is incomplete without a real European defense system. I have already mentioned in a hearing before the Senate that the European Union as a whole spends more than Russia, China and Japan put together – but apparently this is not the right way because its spending is neither unitary nor coordinated.

Second, we conceive European defense within a broader security context, of which it is an essential component. Given the unique and particular nature of the European Union – relying upon several instruments of stabilization in the field of external action – foreign and defense policy is not an end in itself but rather a multiplier of stability, in the sense that an effective capacity crisis management constitutes the enabling condition for the activation of other available tools.

Third, NATO is and will remain a cornerstone of our security; therefore greater interaction and complementarity with the European Union is needed. We are actively operating on the international arena for the preparation of the discussion in December with the purpose of remaining at the center of this debate and attaining the inclusion of our instances in the documents prepared by EU institutions.

[…]

The path to the European Council meeting will consist of formal and informal consultations of the Ministers of Defence and Foreign Affairs in the course of which documents of interest will be discussed, including a possible meeting of the Steering Board of the European Defence Agency. As regards contents, Italy hopes that the Council will advance a strong signal of the political will to pursue the strengthening of the foreign and defense policy, and that a number of measures will be carried out, such as, among others, updating the European Security Strategy of 2003, promoting an awareness campaign on defence issues at the European level, developing partnerships in education and military training, transforming the EU Battlegroups into a European rapid intervention force. The creation of common military capabilities, as well as the pooling and sharing of the original European projects in high technology sectors such as drones and space, would be particularly relevant.

The full Italian version of the statement made by the Minister of Defence can be found at:

http://documenti.camera.it/leg17/resoconti/assemblea/html/sed0067/stenografico.pdf 

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