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Joint statement of the V4 ministers of defence

Brussels, 4 June 2013

The Ministers met in Brussels to sum up the defence-related results of the V4 cooperation and set down priorities for the future.

They reaffirmed their determination to further strengthen this cooperation, by building on the political impetus that V4 leaders gave to the defence cooperation at the Summit in Warsaw on 6 March 2013. The joint statement adopted at that meeting by V4 defence ministers and their French and German counterparts, identified principles, means and priority areas for advancing the cooperation in defence area.

Objectives and Principles

The cooperation provides greater defence synergies among V4 states. Over the last 20 years the V4 Group has become instrumental in leveraging the efforts of its individual members, and ensuring complementarity of their activities. As a result, it was also conducive for more deliberate and rational choices regarding their defence and security.

The V4 defence cooperation will continue to strengthen NATO and the EU in performing the full spectrum of their tasks and missions. As collective defence remains NATO’s key task, the V4 countries will make an effort to ensure that the Alliance is able to meet the challenges of modern era. Their active contribution to the NATO efforts in Afghanistan and involvement in cooperation with partners illustrates their willingness to contribute to NATO’s crisis management and cooperative security. The V4 countries also speak with one voice on the future of NATO, supporting forthcoming strategic discussions on the Alliance in the post-ISAF period.

The V4 cooperation will also be aimed at increasing our countries’ contribution to the EU Common Security and Defence Policy. CSDP has proven its utility to contribute to the security of Europe, requiring a comprehensive approach from its Member States, combining military and civilian activities. The defence ministers fully share the objectives of the V4 cooperation expressed by the ministers of foreign affairs in their Bratislava declaration of April 19, 2013.

The V4 countries remain open for cooperation with their neighbours aimed at stability, integration and capability development.

Main areas of cooperation and way forward

We have achieved a lot so far but there is still more room for improvement in a number of areas:

The V4 EU Battle Group which is to be prepared for 2016 is the most prominent and visible example proving that our multinational formations advance the V4 cooperation. It should be a vehicle for an increased cooperation in the area of training, exercises and development of capabilities. The preparation for the 2016 roster will be completed as soon as possible. It will embrace closing the remaining capability gaps, and identifying possibilities for non V4 contributors. The live exercise of the V4 BG planned for 2015 can reinforce their efforts related to the NATO Connected Initiative (CFI). The V4 states will utilize the experiences and knowledge gained throughout the preparation for the stand-by period and will examine whether elements of the battle group could be sustained in the post-battlegroup period.

Education, training and joint exercises will be given more prominence on the V4 agenda. With the termination of ISAF, maintaining the interoperability of Allies and their ability to execute a broad range of operations will grow in importance. As a result, the V4 will remain committed to the development of CFI and look at the possibilities to cooperate throughout all the stages of its development and implementation. The possibility of a closer V4 cooperation within the Multinational Corps North-East in Szczecin (MNC-NE) will be assessed in order to contribute to the implementation of the CFI. The extent to which the V4 academies and national training centres might be used for the implementation of CFI will be a subject of further analyses. The forthcoming Steadfast Jazz 2013 exercise of the NATO Response Force and the Capable Logistician 2013 exercise are expected to pave the way for the implementation of CFI. The NATO exercises should be properly connected with larger scale national exercises opened for participation of Allies and Partners.

The V4 countries will expand mutual cooperation in the area of aviation training in order to achieve economies of scale and enhance interoperability. The establishment of the Multinational Aviation Training Centre, as a Smart Defence Program, should be fully exploited.

The V4 countries will look for further opportunities to expand and deepen cooperation in the development of capabilities for the defence of their territories, and contribution to the operations and missions of NATO and the EU. Although the development of such capabilities remains national responsibility, multinational projects often provide a valuable approach to developing military capabilities in the era of financial austerity. For that reason, the V4 states are committed to NATO Smart Defence and EU’s Pooling and Sharing initiatives. The cooperation will be particularly focused on:

  • CBRN capabilities. The V4 countries have played an active role in the area of CBRN defence. Significance of pooling CBRN capabilities has already increased as it was included into the pool of the most promising Smart Defence programs (tier 1). Successfully implemented, the CBRN battalion will provide vital, certified capabilities to NATO. It may also constitute, just like the Visegrad Battle Group, a vehicle for continuous military cooperation between our states. Having this in mind, our efforts should be focused on implementing the adopted schedule so that the battalion is to achieve the initial operational capability in 2016 and the full operational capability in 2018. The V4 states should also capitalise on experiences gained through participation in the NATO response force, establishment of the Joint CBRN Defence Centre of Excellence and deployments in operations over the last decade.
  • Common Logistics. The possibility of a common logistic support in multinational operations will be analysed based on the experience drawn from the Capable Logistician 2013 exercise, the Visegrad Battle Group and the Multinational Logistic Coordination Centre in Prague.
  • Countering Cyber Threats. The V4 countries will tighten their cooperation in countering cyber threats at political and operational level as cyber security becomes extremely vital. Their activities should be closely linked with the NATO Smart Defence Multinational Cyber Capability Development program as well the EDA-led Cyberdefence Project Team.
  • Armament cooperation as an area for delivering specific projects. The V4 armament policy directors identified the most promising projects on which our cooperation should be focused.Wheeled and tracked platforms, ammunition, personal equipment, C-IED systems were indicated. Furthermore, there is a significant potential for collaboration in developing new capabilities such as unmanned systems and the C4ISR.
  • Air and missile defence as providing significant capabilities for effective defenceboth of our countries and NATO. The V4 countries will consider opportunities for enhancing cooperation in this field.

The list presented above is not an exhaustive one. The areas indicated as priorities should be explored further. These projects will be taken forward by the appropriate V4 experts.

The Ministers expressed their gratitude to Poland for its efforts to advance the defence cooperation. It would not have been possible without the achievements of the preceding Presidencies.

The V4 countries declare their continuing support for the Hungarian Presidency to further develop their cooperation.

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