One of our goals at the Ministry of Defence is to further strengthen and promote the active and substantial participation of Cyprus in all actions and programs of the Common Defence and Security Policy (CSDP) pillar of the EU, the Minister Michalis Giorgallas said on Monday, addressing a CSDP orientation course in Larnaka between 15-19 May. He said that Cyprus seeks to advance and upgrade the operational capabilities of its National Guard and highlight the role of the Republic of Cyprus, as a pillar of stability and security in the wider Eastern Mediterranean region. The Minister also added that we strongly support the strategic autonomy of the EU, which will provide security to all EU Member States and stability and peace in the wider Euro-Mediterranean area. The EU Strategic autonomy, as the High Representative Josep Borrell underlined 'is not a magic wand but a process, a long-term one, intended to ensure that Europeans increasingly take charge of themselves' said the Minister, adding that "he is correct. The concept as such is not new. In fact, strategic autonomy has been part of the agreed language of the EU for quite a long time.' Giorgallas also added that Cyprus invests heavily in promoting the creation of a common European security and defence culture, especially via common training and in this context, the last two years our Security and Defence Academy organized with the support of local and international institutions, twelve international training activities and conferences, all of them open to all EU member states and most of them also accessible to other partners especially from our neighbourhood. Topics of high interest include, as he noted, Cyber Security, Climate Change and Security, Project Management in EU Missions and Operations, Future of the EU Security and Defence, Leadership, Gender mainstreaming in the Military training and in the CSDP Missions and Operations. The Minister also said that building on this experience and network Cyprus decided to increase its efforts and has already scheduled numerous international activities for the current calendar year, three of them in partnership with Austria and the rest with different partners from Belgium, Romania, Poland, UK, USA, the European Commission and the European Defence Agency. 'These common endeavours proved to have great added value, not only at the level of participating actors and institutions, but also on a higher political level. They create trustful bonds between our state institutions and people, common understanding of our challenges and threats and have always had a positive impact on the relations between our States', he said. Giorgallas also said that the cooperation between Cyprus and Austria is a longstanding and multidimensional one, adding that in cooperation with the Theresan Military Academy Cyprus and Austria developed the curriculum of the 'Common Module on Leadership Course'. Under this joint effort, he said, the two countries co-organized the module in Cyprus as a pilot activity in 2015 and 2016. In 2017, that curriculum was approved as a Common European Module, implemented fully or partially, by a number of military academies in the EU. This activity is being organized since, on an annual basis, always in cooperation with Austria. Cyprus has also contributed to the Austrian initiative of the CSDP handbook series - a reference document which is broadly distributed in Europe and beyond. Furthermore, Cyprus Security and Defence Academy and the Austrian National Defence Academy, decided to continue their cooperation in 2023, through the joint organization of the 'European Armaments Cooperation Course' to be held in Cyprus in November 2023 and to jointly organize the second module of the CSDP high level Course in November 2024. A joint organization of a new course on Defence Geo-economics, will also be held in Brussels in November 2023 with a third partner from Belgium, the Egmont Royal Institute for International Relations, which has always supported Cyprus CSDP courses since 2009. The participants in the seminar in Larnaka come from 11 EU member states (Cyprus, Greece, Spain, Ireland, Poland, Slovakia, France, Croatia, Hungary, Portugal and Latvia) and Iraq. On the part of the Republic of Cyprus, personnel from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Defense, the Defense Committee of the House of Representatives, the National Guard, the Cyprus Police and the University Institutions of Cyprus are participating. The speakers come from 17 institutes, universities, embassies and organizations. Participants will be informed about the CSDP institutional framework, current policies, as well as structures, processes and activities. In addition, they will have the opportunity to share views and assessments with each other, as well as with CSDP professionals in the Middle East and North Africa region. On the last day, certificates signed by the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs Josep Borrell will be awarded to those participants who successfully complete the seminar and the online courses of the European Security and Defense College.
Source: Cyprus News Agency