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EDA Chief Executive holds talks in Lithuania

EDA Chief Executive, Jiří Šedivý, visited Lithuania today for high-level talks with Defence Minister Arvydas Anušauskas, Deputy Minister of Defence Vilius Semeška, Defence Policy Director Vaidotas Urbelis and the Director of the Lithuanian Defence Material Agency (MND), Sigitas Dzekunskas. He also met with the Chairman of the National Security and Defence Committee of the Seimas (Parliament), industry representatives as well as cyber security experts from the MND and national/regional Cyber Security Centres.

The exchange of views with Minister Anušauskas and Deputy Minister Semeška was mainly focused on Lithuania’s involvement in EDA’s current and future activities, the war in Ukraine and its potential impact on EU defence cooperation and spending, future defence investment programmes and cooperation opportunities to mitigate the defence gaps. Also, they discussed the EDA’s role in the implementation of the Strategic Compass as well as the initial phase of the new Hub for European Defence Innovation (HEDI) within EDA, as agreed by the Agency’s Steering Board in May.

To date, Lithuania participates in six EDA projects and one programme: EU Multimodal Transport Hub Network, Governmental Satellite Communication Demonstration Phase, EU Satellite Communication Market, Diplomatic Clearances, Common acquisition of Carl Gustaf 84 mm ammunition and C27J Spartan Cooperation (C27J). The total value of EDA programmes and projects in which Lithuania participates and where a project arrangement has been agreed currently stands at roughly €51 million. Lithuania also participates in four PESCO projects, one of which are even led by it: Cyber Rapid Response Teams and Mutual Assistance in Cyber Security.

“I am thankful to Minister Anušauskas and all my other interlocutors here in Vilnius for the possibility to personally exchange views about our work at EDA, the importance of enhancing EU defence cooperation, and the need to urgently fill existing defence investments gaps in Europe. I believe that with the massive security and defence challenges Europe is facing, especially now with the war in Ukraine, cooperation remains the best and most effective way of addressing them. Even though Lithuania already participates in six EDA projects and programmes, I am sure that there is much more cooperation potential to be exploited, for the benefit of Lithuania and all our other Member States. I therefore can only encourage the country to further benefit from collaborative opportunities in defence, and to use the Agency to its full potential”, Mr Šedivý commented.

Lithuanian Defence Minister Arvydas Anušauskas stated: “The return of war to Europe is a tectonic shift which will have a long term implications for European security. We have to adapt European defence architecture accordingly and ensure necessary defence capabilities are in place. We are grateful for the role EDA plays in this respect, including through PESCO and CARD. We believe that the most recent analysis of defence investment gaps is a good basis for exploiting further possibilities for cooperation, especially as regards replenishment of stocks, which is a key priority for us at the moment. Finally, I would like to stress the importance of EDA’s work on defence innovation which is highlighted by the creation of the European Defence Innovation Hub (HEDI) – a platform that would help to further stimulate and increase cooperation and investment in this field.”