EU defence ministers met here Tuesday and discussed about the security and defence industry in Europe and EU operations in Mali and Somalia. General Patrick De Rousiers, Chairman of the European Union Military Committee, told a press conference: “The focus was really on the two missions – EUTM Mali and ATALANTA, just because both of them are going under scrutiny and there is a strategic review coming up.” “There has been no political decision to extend the missions, there were discussions by Ministers. And what I heard around the table was a global support of the idea of extension and for a duration which was for the two missions highlighted at two years,” he said.
EUTM Mali was launched in February 2013 and is part of the EU’s comprehensive approach to the crisis in the Sahel region. The European Naval Force Somalia – ATALANTA, launched in December 2008, aims to improve maritime security, by preventing acts of piracy and armed robbery off the Somali coast and in the Indian Ocean. Today’s meeting was chaired by EU High Representative for foreign and security policy, Catherine Ashton, but she left earlier for Geneva for talks on Iran’s nuclear issue.