Brussels, November 14 (TASR-correspondent) – Defence ministers of EU-member states joined EU foreign ministers in Brussels on Monday to discuss opportunities for closer cooperation between EU countries in the field of defence and strengthening cooperation with NATO, Slovak Defence Minister Peter Gajdos (a Slovak National Party/SNS nominee) told TASR on the same day.
EU countries are divided over the issue of making EU defence policy stronger and more independent. The issue has become more important following Donald Trump’s victory in the presidential elections in the USA on November 8, as during the election campaign he promised to limit America’s role in Europe’s defence.
Gajdos stressed that the results of the democratic election in the USA have to be accepted, but at the same time he pointed out that periods before and after elections tend to differ from each other.
“I believe that common sense will prevail and that cooperation between the EU and NATO will continue to deepen,” said the defence minister, adding that he can’t imagine this cooperation without the United States – the driving force of the institution.
Gajdos further noted that the joint meeting of ministers in Brussels is following up discussions held at an informal meeting of defence ministers in Bratislava in September, which was organised as part of the Slovak Presidency of the EU Council. The talks in Bratislava involved the EU’s global strategy, and the defence ministers are now set to discuss the implementation plan of the strategy in Brussels. “The talks will feature the EU’s ambitions to increase civil and military capabilities vis-a-vis more specific and broader cooperation with NATO,” said Gajdos.
When asked by TASR how he perceives the divided attitude of EU-member states on pursuing more autonomous defence policy in the Union, Gajdos responded that both the EU and NATO are known for their collective bargaining and collective results.
“Consensus must be reached despite the fact that some have more vigorous and some less harsh opinions. Democracy and peace deserve some sacrifice, things don’t work without it,” he said.