Raimonds Vējonis, Minister of Defence of the Republic of Latvia and Jorge Domecq, Chief Executive of the European Defence Agency (EDA) met in Riga yesterday to discuss preparations of the upcoming European Council on defence as well as the role of the EDA in fostering European defence cooperation.
“The European Defence Agency has great potential to serve as a valuable platform for initiating, developing and implementing joint European cooperation projects. I believe that the EDA can be an active agent in improving the mutual trust and understanding that is crucial for international cooperation projects at this time of increased concerns about the security in Europe,” Raimonds Vējonis stressed
The Latvian Minister added: “Having had successful cooperation within the Baltic States that we consider the cornerstone of our security, we are looking forward to cooperating within this format. Furthermore, by increasing the effectiveness of our cooperation, we will be able to make the European defence industry more competitive, consolidate the demand and requirements, and use the innovative potential of the small and medium companies and research institutions in Europe, which will increase the competitiveness of the European defence industry in the world."
EDA Chief Executive Jorge Domecq also provided a feedback on the important meeting: “This is a crucial moment for European defence generally and defence capabilities specifically. Defence budgets are under pressure and so is our security environment. Through increased cooperation, Member States are able to acquire together the critical capabilities that are out of reach individually. The European Defence Agency is an instrument of the Member States and we stand ready to best support them. We are committed to working closely with Latvia, holding the Presidency of the Council of the European Union, to provide our expert input to High Representative / Vice President and EDA Head of Agency Federica Mogherini ahead of the next European Council. I also take this opportunity to thank Minister Vējonis for his commitment to defence cooperation and EDA”.
The discussion between Minister Vējonis and Jorge Domecq took place shortly before the start of the informal meeting of the EU Ministers of Defence who discussed current security issues and prepared for the upcoming European Council. Riga will also host the biannual EDA meeting of National Armament Directors on 9-10 March.