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Romania's Defence Minister Nicolae Ciuca participated on Friday in a VTC videoconference meeting of the EU's Foreign Affairs Council (EAC), the defence ministers configuration, highlighting in his speech Romania's contribution to strengthening European defence through active participation in EU defence initiatives.

The ministerial meeting was preceded by a meeting of the European Defence Agency's (EDA) ministerial Steering Board, according to a press statement released by the Romanian Defence Ministry.

At the EDA Steering Board's meeting, the defence ministers endorsed the council's guidelines on the work of the EDA in 2021 and approved a final report on the 2019-2020 Coordinated Annual Review on Defence (CARD).

In his speech to the meeting, Ciuca highlighted Romania's contribution to strengthening European defence by actively participating in EU defence initiatives - the Permanent Structured Co-operation - PESCO, European Defence Fund - EDF, the coordinated annual review on defence, and military mobility - indicating that the results of the CARD process allow the visualisation of a comprehensive picture of the European picture of defence capabilities and will contribute to the definition of the short, medium and long term development priorities in the European Union's Common Foreign and Security Policy.

The defence meeting started with a review of the developments in files of interest, with discussions later focusing on two main subjects: starting off the drawing up of the strategic guide-lining document in the field of Common Security and Defence Policy - Strategic Compass, and the conclusions of the strategic review of the Permanent Structured Co-operation (PESCO).

At the Strategic Compass session, the ministers had a consistent exchange of views and provided guidelines on the EU's security and defence needs, focusing on ways in which relevant EU policies, initiatives and instruments can be boosted in order to ensure a symmetrical response to future challenges.

Ciuca expressed his support for increasing the EU's capacity to respond to crises and threats to the security environment in a comprehensive manner, with particular emphasis on the union's immediate neighbourhood.

He also highlighted the potential of using the Strategic Compass as a tool for further strengthening the planning and capability development process at EU level in full complementarity with NATO. Last but not least, the Romanian official highlighted his support for strengthening resilience and called for a more comprehensive strategic approach with partners.

Regarding the Strategic Review Process of Permanent Structured Co-operation (PESCO), the defence ministers welcomed the results after its development and put forth political guidelines and directions for achieving the objectives for the second stage of the initiative (2021-2025).

The strategic review process of PESCO represents a detailed diagnosis of the initiative at the end of its first implementation phase (2017-2020), including ambitious recommendations and objectives for stimulating, consolidating and streamlining European co-operation in 2021-2025.

In his speech, Ciuca also welcomed the results of the first stage of the PESCO review process and said that PESCO, together with the European Defence Fund (EDF) and the Coordinated Annual Review of Defence (CARD), remain the main tools in the European Union's defence architecture. AGERPRES (RO - author: Oana Ghita, editor: Mihai Simionescu; EN - author: Corneliu-Aurelian Colceriu, editor: Adina Panaitescu)

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