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EU defence ministers discussed new technologies and the developing of defence cooperation

EU2019FIMinistry of Defence
Publication date 29.8.2019 17.34
News item
Photo: Jarno Saarinen / Prime Minister’s Office, Finland

The topics of discussion during the Informal Meeting of Ministers of Defence were artificial intelligence and new technologies, hybrid threats, maritime security and the effects of climate change on defence. The meeting, held in Helsinki on 28–29 August, was chaired by High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini. Finland was represented by Minister of Defence Antti Kaikkonen.

New technologies are changing the defence sector

The meeting started with a working dinner, where the defence ministers discussed, together with representatives from NATO, the UN and a group of private sector experts, the opportunities of artificial intelligence and other new technologies. During its Presidency of the Council of the European Union, Finland aims to stimulate discussion on the effects of digitalisation and artificial intelligence on the defence sector.

Strong support for developing defence cooperation

On Thursday 29 August the ministers discussed EU defence cooperation from three perspectives: hybrid threats, maritime security and climate change.

EU foreign and defence ministers discussed countering hybrid threats over a joint working lunch. The EU defence ministers also held a working session on maritime security. It is an important topic for Finland because of our dependency on well-functioning maritime transport.

In the spirit of the meeting’s overall approach to developing defence cooperation, a working session on the impact of climate change on defence was also held. Climate change plays a part in fuelling the cycle of conflicts and fragility. This cycle has a direct impact on the security and prosperity of EU citizens. Among other topics, the ministers discussed efforts to reduce the carbon footprint of the defence sector. Climate change mitigation is one of the key objectives of the Finnish Presidency.