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Central European defence ministers aim to strengthen joint border protection to combat illegal migration

On 19th June, members of the Central European Defence Cooperation (CEDC) arrived at Prague Castle, the seat of the Czech President, to discuss European border protection strategies. Minister of Defence Martin Stropnicky welcomed the Austrian Minister of Defence and Sports, Hans Peter Doskozil, as well as the representatives of the defence ministries of Croatia, Hungary, Slovakia and Slovenia.

Participants at the CEDC meeting
Participants at the CEDC meeting

The Ministries of Defence of the Slovak Republic, Hungary and Slovenia were represented by the State Secretary, Marian Salon, Deputy Minister Defence Tamas Vargha, and the Secretary of State Milos Bizjak, respectively, and Petar Mihatov represented the Croatian Defence Minister.

The group discussed the security situation in Europe, particularly that of the Western Balkans which is one of the main migratory routes to Europe. They examined the various ways of enhancing joint defence procedures in dealing with illegal migration, improving management processes, and strengthening the European Union’s border protection. They confirmed their commitment to continuing their joint cooperation in the ‘Joint Declaration of the Ministers of Defence of the Central European Defence Cooperation’ document.

“In the past, when the migration crisis was at its peak, we demonstrated our ability to help and support one another. This Declaration sums up our view of the security situation in Europe, especially with respect to the Western Balkans,” said Minister Stropnicky at the close of the meeting.

Declaration and Action Plan

Minister Stropnicky also mentioned the fact that Austria had come up with an action plan which defines the tasks of the armed forces of the individual member states in the event that direct action is called for in order to protect their external borders. It would include the involvement of the police, the military and/or civilian organisations.

“We will also present this approach to Brussels. We will insist that this plan be implemented as a task of the European Union, but, we will not wait until then to take action. We have already reached an agreement on how we should proceed. We want to be able to declare that we are already operational and, perhaps in two months or so, we will organize a joint exercise to demonstrate how we imagine border protection should be in the future,” said Austrian Defence and Sport Minister Hans Peter Doskozil.

The representatives of the defence ministries of Croatia, Hungary, Slovakia and Slovenia welcomed the possibility of a joint exercise and agreed to the proposed Declaration.

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By Nuala Casey and Oldrich Holecek

Downloadable files

CEDC Declaration - Prague, June 2017 155 kB


June 23, 2017


Photo Gallery
  • Participants at the CEDC meeting Participants at the CEDC meeting Participants at the CEDC meeting
  • Austrian Minister, Hans Peter Doskozil and Czech Minister, Martin Stropnicky Austrian Minister, Hans Peter Doskozil and Czech Minister, Martin Stropnicky Austrian Minister, Hans Peter…
  • Czech delegation was led by Martin Stropnicky, Director of MoD Defence Policy Department, Jan Jires (left) and Adviser to the Chief of the General Staff, Major General Jiri Verner (right) Czech delegation was led by Martin Stropnicky, Director of MoD Defence Policy Department, Jan Jires (left) and Adviser to the Chief of the General Staff, Major General Jiri Verner (right) Czech delegation was led by Martin…
  • Slovak delegation at the meeting Slovak delegation at the meeting Slovak delegation at the meeting
  • Croatia was represented by the Ambassador to the Czech Republic, Ines Troha, and Petar Mihatov and Drago Kelemen from its Ministry of Defence Croatia was represented by the Ambassador to the Czech Republic, Ines Troha, and Petar Mihatov and Drago Kelemen from its Ministry of Defence Croatia was represented by the…
  • Hungarian Deputy Minister of Defence, Tamas Vargha, with his colleagues Hungarian Deputy Minister of Defence, Tamas Vargha, with his colleagues Hungarian Deputy Minister of…
  • Slovak Minister of Defence Secretary voicing his agreement with the joint anti-immigration exercise Slovak Minister of Defence Secretary voicing his agreement with the joint anti-immigration exercise Slovak Minister of Defence…
  • Hungarian Deputy, and Austrian and Czech Ministers of Defence Hungarian Deputy, and Austrian and Czech Ministers of Defence Hungarian Deputy, and Austrian and…
  • Press Conference after the meeting Press Conference after the meeting Press Conference after the meeting