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Romania's Defence Minister Vasile Dincu participated in an informal meeting of the European Union defence ministers on Wednesday and Thursday, in Brest, France.

The event began with a working dinner attended by representatives of NATO, the UN and the European Parliament to discuss challenges posed by the interference of state and non-state actors in EU military areas, according to a statement released by the Romanian Defence Ministry (MApN).

The attending ministers highlighted the negative impact of groups such as the Wagner Group in areas of strategic interest to the European Union - Ukraine, Libya, the Central African Republic and, most recently, in Mali. The secretary-general of NATO also presented the main conclusions of a recent meeting of the NATO-Russia Council.

In his remarks, Dincu also highlighted the negative influence of the above-mentioned group in conflict areas, which contributes to the deterioration of the security state and has a destabilising effect, interfering with the EU's operational efforts. The Romanian official also stressed the importance of close co-operation and dialogue with NATO and the UN, as well as synergies between operational efforts to combat the negative effects of the interference by these actors, voicing Romania's support for such efforts.

On the second day of the meeting, debates began with a session on current issues, during which the defence ministers discussed the security situation in Ukraine and the country's border with the Russian Federation generated by the massive deployment of troops, including the outcomes of a recent visit to Ukraine of the High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Josep Borrell.

Dincu reiterated his concerns over the strengthening of the Russian military presence in the Eastern Neighbourhood, saying that along with other hybrid actions, such actions are part of a broader strategy of the Russian Federation to increase influence in areas of interest, while limiting the European journey of the neighbouring states. He also underscored the importance of co-operation and coordination with NATO and the US in order to de-escalate the situation in the area.

Discussions continued with a session dedicated to strategic areas of interest to the European Union (maritime, cybernetic, outer space), in which there is an increase in global competition. The ministers focused on space challenges, including current and future threats and the capabilities needed, as well as the process of reflection on the EU Space Security and Defence strategy.

In view of the increasing threats from space and the emergence of technologies that allow the overlapping of civilian and military activities, Dincu underscored the importance of the part of the European Union Satellite Centre (EU SatCen) in developing the EU's space capacity as it is an important tool for substantiating the planning and decision-making processes at European level.

The meeting ended with a joint session of defence and foreign ministers on the EU's Strategic Compass. Discussions were based on the revised version of the document, with ministers providing policy guidance for further negotiations on the text in council working formats. The member states emphasised the importance of agreeing this March on an ambitious but realistic document that will guide the EU's efforts to develop security and defence for the next five-ten years.

Dincu highlighted the role of this instrument, emphasising the importance of strengthening the EU's capacity for action in tandem with NATO. The Romanian official stressed the relevance of properly reflecting on the security situation in the European Union's Eastern Neighbourhood with defence and security consequences, especially in the Black Sea region, which must remain an area of strategic interest to the EU.

On the sidelines of the informal meeting, Dincu had a meeting with the French Minister of the Armed Forces, Florence Parly, to discuss items on the bilateral agenda in a NATO and EU context. AGERPRES (RO - author: Oana Ghita, editor: Florin Marin; EN - author: Corneliu-Aurelian Colceriu, editor: Adina Panaitescu)

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