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7 April 2020

Conference of EU Ministers of Defence

On 6 April 2020, Florence Parly, Minister for the Armed Forces, took part in a video conference bringing the Ministers of Defence of the European Union (EU) together around the subject of Covid-19. This particularly gave her the opportunity to explain Operation Résilience to her counterparts.

The ministers shared initial feedback on the measures rolled out at national and European level alike. During these discussions, the Minister for the Armed Forces highlighted how France’s armed forces have been contributing to efforts to counter the virus. She also gave a reminder of the scale of the joint efforts already taken between Europeans, whether on a bilateral footing or EU-wide, particularly to bring home European citizens or transport patients and medical supplies.

Florence Parly underscored the significant contribution that military assistance makes within the EU, alongside civilian missions. Depending on the resources available, the armed forces of willing countries could, for example, provide support in terms of transporting medical supplies in Europe or of protecting stocks. Lastly, this was also an opportunity to reiterate France’s gratitude to Germany and Luxembourg, and to mention the help offered by Switzerland – for all receiving French patients for medical care in their countries.

The Minister for the Armed Forces also stressed the need to safeguard the operational continuity of the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP). She called for the CSDP to continue helping to support the most vulnerable countries grappling with this crisis – Africa in particular. The European missions could lend advice to local armed forces on the ground in tackling this epidemic.

On a final note, Florence Parly outlined a few points from a longer-term perspective. She called for greater European independence to cope with future challenges and protect European citizens.