The Portuguese defence minister João Gomes Cravinho callled upon the EU to create “broad structures of partnership” with the United Kingdom on defence and security policy.
During a high level conference Gomes Cravinho stressed the need to “partner better and more strategically”. In this light he especially saw the need to intensify the cooperation with traditional partners, such as the United Kingdom, Canada and Norway. The minister also advocated the need to restore the relationship with the United States and the need for cooperation in areas such as hybrid threats or capability gaps: “The EU is the most effective ally of the US, so we believe that there should soon be a security and defence dialogue between the two regions at ministerial level”.
Cravinho emphasized the need to develop EU common security and defence policy missions and operations that match European needs. In this light the minister referred to referred to three other pillars of the future common strategy of the EU, namely crisis management, resilience and capabilities. However, he also looked towards existing multilateral organizations that can facilitate the EU’s goals, such as NATO and the United Nations. He stressed the importance for regular strategic dialogues on a ministerial this level. “More practical requirements, more robust control systems, better planning based on crisis scenarios, and more robust mandates for missions are needed,” he added.
The COVID-19 crisis illustrates the need for a resilient international approach to dealing with complex emergencies. Cravinho stressed the importance of two aspects: “Anything that is subject to enemy action, which requires us to be very dynamic in identifying possible enemy action and anything that may require the extensive application of military capabilities.”
At the same time, he also believes that the pandemic has shown examples of good practice to respond to complex emergencies. “We should hold regular exercises to speed up procedures. We need to develop mechanisms, for example, that allow us to rapidly incorporate military capabilities from one country into another [country] in response to civil emergencies”.