Minister Kehoe attends meeting of EU Defence Ministers and participates in Strategic Cyber Table-top Exercise, EU CYBRID 2017, in Tallin, Estonia.

The Minister with Responsibility for Defence, Mr. Paul Kehoe, T.D., today, (Thursday 07th September 2017) attended the Informal meeting of EU Ministers of Defence, hosted by Estonia which currently holds the Presidency of the EU. The Minister also participated in an EU Table-top Cyber Exercise which formed one element of the meeting agenda.

The exercise, based on a fictional cyber attack against an EU Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP)Mission Operational Headquarters, focussed on EU level responses to a cyber and hybrid threat to a CSDP operation. The purpose of the table-top exercise was to raise strategic situational awareness at the political level and improve understanding of the EU’s crisis response mechanisms and the importance of coordinated strategic communication. Lessons learned from the exercise, the first of its kind at the level of EU Defence Ministers, will be used to further develop the EU’s policies in the area of Cyber and Hybrid defence.

Commenting after the exercise the Minister stated that

Cyber threats respect no borders. Today’s exercise was a timely reminder of the threats posed by such attacks and the need for constant vigilance and awareness. The exercise served as an important reminder of the critical importance of cyber security, addressing the importance of the resilience of the EU and individual member States in the face of such threats.”

The informal meeting also offered an opportunity for Defence Ministers to discuss the EU’s response to the security challenges in the Sahel and Horn of Africa regions in particular how the EU might enhance its engagement in these key strategic areas. United Nations Under Secretary-General for peacekeeping operations, Jean-Pierre Lacroix also participated in this part of the meeting, alongside the Secretary General of NATO, Mr Jens Stoltenberg.

At a joint session attended by Defence and Foreign Ministers, there was an extensive discussion on current initiatives being advanced by member States and the EU institutions under the Common Security and Defence Policy. The discussion focussed on the establishment of Permanent Structured Cooperation, new Defence capability assessment and review procedures under the Comprehensive Annual Review on Defence and the establishment of the European Defence Fund including the Commission’s proposal for a Regulation on a European Defence Industrial Development Programme.

Minister Kehoe also had a bi-lateral meeting with Mr Lacroix, where UN issues, including Ireland’s ongoing deployments in Lebanon and the Golan Heights, and the upcoming peacekeeping summit in Vancouver were discussed.

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