EU’s ministers for defence and foreign affairs discussed permanent structured cooperation

On 13 November, EU’s ministers for foreign affairs and defence met at the Foreign Affairs Council (FAC) in Brussels. At the meeting, Sweden was represented by the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Margot Wallström, and the Minister for Defence, Peter Hultqvist.

Swedish Minister for Defence Peter Hultqvist and Swedish Minister for Foreign Affairs Margot Wallström during the signing ceremony.
Swedish Minister for Defence Peter Hultqvist and Swedish Minister for Foreign Affairs Margot Wallström signed a joint declaration of intent that Sweden intend to participate in EU's Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO). Photo: European Union

In conjunction with the meeting, Sweden and the other EU countries that intend to participate in EU's Permanent Structured Cooperation (Pesco) signed a joint declaration of intent to the Council and the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy. The government will soon submit a proposition to gain Riksdag's approval for Sweden to join the cooperation.

The cooperation is to develop the EU's operational capacity for military crisis management tasks, which can also be at the disposal of UN missions, for example. Pesco offers a framework for cooperation on the development of military capabilities but also the potential for tangible security and defence policy projects.

The Permanent Structured Cooperation is a phase in the implementation of EU's global strategy, for which Sweden has been a driving force and places major emphasis. The Union's collective capability to prevent conflicts and manage external crises with various instruments is to increase within the framework of the follow-up.

The government believes that Pesco will fulfil two strategic objectives: to strengthen the joint security and defence policy and to contribute to strengthening European solidarity. The Swedish participation will enable Sweden to better influence EU's joint foreign, security and defence policy. The cooperation is inter-governmental and fully in line with Sweden's military policy of non-alignment.

At the Council meeting, the ministers of foreign affairs held a separate discussion on the relationship between the EU and Africa, and how the Union's strategic communication is to be strengthened.

In a separate session, EU's ministers for defence also discussed the cooperation that exists between the EU and Nato in order to strengthen European security and international crisis management capability. In conjunction with the meeting, the European Defence Agency (EDA) held a board meeting in a Defence Ministers format.

The Foreign Affairs Council (FAC)

The Foreign Affairs Council, FAC, comprises the ministers for defence of all EU countries and is one of the constellations within the EU’s Council responsible for foreign policy, defence and security, trade, development cooperation and humanitarian aid and led by the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini.