Presenting the priorities of the EU Presidency for the next six months, on 6 January, Czech Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek included security and defence (ESDP), even though this policy area is not at the top of the list of priorities (see Europolitics 3621).

Defence Minister Vlasta Parkanova outlined in greater detail, in a document forwarded to members of the Political and Security Committee (PSC), the Presidency's three priorities in this sector: capabilities development and the European Defence Agency, operations and cooperation with strategic partners, "with the focus on NATO".

This classic trio corresponds to the usual Defence Council agenda. The aim is to "carry on the work accomplished by the previous Presidencies, notably the French EU Presidency," explains the minister.


The Czech EU Presidency wishes to "support and facilitate continuation of European capabilities development with special emphasis on certain capability areas such as helicopters and the European Air Transport Fleet (EATF) project". The development of civilian capabilities, as set out in the 2010 Headline Goal, is also on the agenda.

On the European Defence Agency, the Czech Republic intends to give special attention to the development of the European defence industrial and technological base (EDITB) and to promote the role of small and medium-sized enterprises in the armaments sector.

It also intends to "continue to take forward the idea of the Erasmus programme," the recent initiative launched by the French EU Presidency to enhance interoperability through exchanges of officers.

Assessment and preparation of the crisis management exercises CME 08 and CME 09 will be reviewed, as usual. The Presidency also wishes, in broader terms, to turn attention to the EU's programme of training and exercises.

Another important point is the evaluation of recommendations on the Military Staff's planning capabilities (post-Wiesbaden measures), which will be steered by the Czechs.


The Czechs will have responsibility for bringing to conclusion, or at least taking forward, two military missions that are particularly important for the EU: Bosnia (Althea) and Chad-Central African Republic (EUFOR).

Logically, the Czech Republic is "aware of the particular importance" of the Balkans and will "be closely watching the security and political situation in the area". It intends to "support the discussion on the further evolution of Operation Althea,"...

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