On Tuesday 17 May 2022, Luxembourg's Deputy Prime Minister François Bausch, took part in the Foreign Affairs Council meeting in Brussels, in his capacity as the Minister of Defence of Luxembourg.
At the centre of the discussions were the "Strategic Compass" of the European Union (EU), the security situation in Mali and Russian aggression against Ukraine.
The Council began with discussions on topical issues, in particular the situation in Mali. Defence ministers discussed the EU Training Mission (EUTM) in Mali and the EU's future engagement in the country. "Luxembourg has decided to extend its participation in this mission until the end of 2022, without withdrawing troops, in particular in view of their crucial role in the protection of the Force", explained Minister Bausch during his speech. He continued: “At the same time, it is becoming increasingly difficult to justify the mission, especially since I no longer see a clear objective in it. Thus, there should be a redefinition of the mandate in this region.”
Subsequently, EU Defence Ministers discussed the implementation of the Strategic Compass, focusing on the effectiveness of future Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) missions and operations. In order to be able to better act as a global actor in the field of security and defence, the EU must evolve its CSDP missions and operations. In this context, the ministers notably conferred on the importance of:
- to authorise executive tasks, which will allow more flexibility for the missions and control over the trained troops;
- the idea of a preventive CSDP in relatively stable environments, to prevent the emergence of conflicts;
- expand common costs, in favour of force generation.
Minister Bausch concluded: "We have identified shortcomings linked to the flexibility of CSDP missions and operations, to the generation of forces and financial solidarity, as well as to the limits linked to the equipment that could be provided to trained troops. The strategic compass gives us the framework and the means to fill these gaps, and thus, Luxembourg welcomes the proposals of the European External Action Service on the effectiveness of military missions, to which we can subscribe.”
In the afternoon, during an informal working meeting, together with their Ukrainian counterpart, Oleksii Reznikov, and the Deputy Secretary General of NATO, Mircea Geoana, the Council took stock of the situation on the ground from Ukraine. In this context, Minister Bausch said: “Luxembourg has so far delivered equipment and weapons to the tune of 10% of its annual defence budget, i.e. more than €50 million. We will continue to support Ukraine and we should coordinate our joint efforts even better.”