Lithuanian Defence Minister Raimundas Karoblis said EU defence initiatives should be open to all NATO allies and partners, according to the ministry's press release.
”We have to make sure that flexible rules are provided for third states, especially NATO allies, to take part in PESCO projects,” Karoblis said during a meeting of defence ministers in Brussels on Wednesday.
“Only the participation of NATO allies can ensure the quality of implementation in prioritised PESCO projects, such as military mobility or cybersecurity, and ensure the proper level of cooperation and transparency.”
His comments came after the European Council endorsed 13 new projects under the Permanent Structured Cooperation on Defence and Security (PESCO). Lithuania is currently the lead nation in the creation of EU Cyber Rapid Response Teams.
“EU attention to security and defence is very welcome – I hope the EU will stay the course, especially in reducing threats in such areas as cybersecurity, disinformation and propaganda countermeasures, energy security, and climate change,” said Karoblis.
However, the EU has to set itself clear priorities or “risk losing pace and concrete results,” he added.
The Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO) is an instrument laid out in the Treaty of Lisbon to deepen the cooperation in security and defence. There are currently 34 different PESCO projects, including European-wide military mobility improvement that is a priority for Lithuania.