Defense Minister Margarita Robles has proposed in the Foreign Affairs and Defense Council, chaired by High Representative Josep Borrell, that Spain, in cooperation with the European Service for External Action – the first Congress of Military Medicine of the European Union with the aim of coming out of the Share knowledge gained from the pandemic and propose a link to military health at European level.
The minister stressed that military health plays a big role during the pandemic, a role that needs to be expanded at European level so that once the second wave subsides, Spain can host the aforementioned Congress.
He also recalled that the Spanish Armed Forces remain heavily involved in the fight against the pandemic, in order to provide support to civilian actors while maintaining all of their defense functions and missions and operations abroad that are also affected. for this health emergency.
During her speech, the minister made two more proposals to her EU counterparts, based on the lessons of the pandemic. On the one hand, and with the aim of meeting our obligations and ensuring the health of our deployed troops, a protocol model for the preparation, deployment and withdrawal of armed forces in the COVID-19 environment is presented.
Such a protocol could also be useful in NATO and ensure a similar approach in both organizations.
Finally, on capabilities, he stressed, “The pandemic has forced our armed forces to innovate in real time, in close collaboration with the private sector, which offers many new opportunities, and we need to keep working on it.” With this in mind, he cited the Atila robot as an example, a UV disinfection system that is used by our armed forces in sensitive facilities, either because they house people with intellectual dependency or because they house certain devices.
The Minister has assured that it is important that the military initiatives in the health sector, led by the German proposal of the European Medical Command, promote common resilience and be a reference in PESCO projects.
In the second part of the video conference of the EU defense ministers, the Spanish minister congratulated the German presidency on reaching a consensus on upcoming issues such as the European peace facility or the participation of states in the projects of permanent structured cooperation.
Robles stressed that it is time for our citizens to see results and feel that the European Union is a fundamental player in ensuring their security and defending their values and interests. That is why he has insisted on the need to consolidate a European culture of security and defense that promotes unity and cohesion, for which the strategic compass can be a key tool.
He concluded his intervention with an assurance that the scale of the challenges compels us to act together to protect our democracies. And it has shown hope that Europe’s political reflection will produce results in our convergence of security and defense and in our commitment to the missions and operations of the common security and defense policy. In short, it has chosen to build bridges of trust and cooperation with the countries around us.
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