Zagreb, May 13 (IANS) European defence ministers exchanged views on the actions taken in response to the COVID-19 pandemic via a videoconference on Tuesday, the Croatian Presidency of the Council of the European Union (EU) said in a statement.
Josep Borrell, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, chaired the videoconference that included defense ministers of EU member states, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, and officials from the United Nations and European Commission, Xinhua reported.
The theme of the videoconference was the strategic implications of the COVID-19 pandemic in the field of security and defence, including existing defence initiatives and the implementation of European Union missions and operations.
The ministers welcomed the establishment of a task force led by the EU Military Staff to better exchange information and share best practices among EU member states on the contribution of the armed forces in dealing with the pandemic.
Croatian State Secretary Zdravko Jakop, who represented the Croatian Defence Ministry after the minister here resigned last week, said that solidarity and coordination between member states are the key criteria in successfully dealing with the pandemic.
Jakop said security risks have not disappeared with the pandemic. He noted that it is necessary to continue EU defense initiatives such as the Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO), and the European Defence Fund (EDF). These initiatives are a good platform for improving cooperation and developing operational capabilities for a rapid and effective response to the crisis, he said.