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Chief Executive starts ‘tour des capitales’ with visit to France

Jiří Šedivý, EDA’s Chief Executive, was in Paris today for talks with the French authorities. It was not only his first official visit since he took office in March but also the first of a ‘tour des capitales’ which will see him paying visits to all Member States in the coming months.

Mr Šedivý was received at the French Ministry of Defence where he had meetings with Alice Guitton (Director General for International Relations and Strategy), General François Lecointre (Chief of Defence Staff), Lieutenant General Eric Bellot des Minières (Deputy Chief of Defence Staff for Defence Planning), General Eric Charpentier (Capability Director at the Defence Staff) as well as Thierry Carlier (National Armaments Director and Director for International Relations at the Direction générale de l'armement, DGA). Mr Šedivý also had meetings at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs with Philippe Setton (EU Director) and David Bertolotti (Director for Strategic Affairs, Security and Disarmament).

We are at a key moment in the implementation of EU defence initiatives: the PESCO strategic review is underway, the first CARD report will be published in November and important aspects related to the European Defence Fund will have to be decided upon later this year. The challenge is further exacerbated by the ongoing Covid-19 crisis and its potential repercussions on defence planning and spending in our Member States. These difficult circumstances call for more European defence cooperation, more joint planning and more pooling and sharing of resources and capabilities. During my ‘tour des capitales’ in the coming months, I will listen to all our Member States’ specific ideas and suggestions and exchange views on how we can further improve collaborative capability development in Europe and strengthen the Agency’s role in it. My first stop today in Paris was a very good and promising start”, said Mr Šedivý.

Director General Alice Guitton stated "The year 2020 will be a milestone in strengthening European defence. The COVID-19 crisis has shown the need for deeper European cooperation, decreasing our dependencies, and more efficiency in defence spending, and many critical projects must now be completed. EDA’s work will be critical to help the EU Member States identify, prioritize and develop the key capabilities needed to face future crises and to strengthen European strategic autonomy, in a deteriorating security context, including by ensuring the success of the most recent initiatives, such as the EDF programme and PESCO.”