Participation of CHOD at the EU Military Committee at CHODs level

   The Chief of the National Guard General Staff (NGGS), Lieutenant General Ilias Leontaris, participated in the Second Semester 2018 Summit of the European Union Military Committee (EUMC) at the Chief of Defence level, held on 24 and 25 October 2018 in Brussels, chaired by the President of the Military Committee, General Mikhail Kostarakos.

   The main issues addressed by the Committee were EU-led military operations and missions aimed at promoting peace, disrupting human trafficking, and creating a safe maritime environment. General Leontaris raised that the Republic of Cyprus supports EU - NATO cooperation but stressed the need to revise the "BERLIN PLUS" arrangements as it is out of date and has practical, legal and political consequences for the Republic of Cyprus.

   In addition from the above works of the Summit, the Chiefs had the opportunity to exchange views on the state of implementation of the EU - NATO cooperation, while being briefed on the Common Security and Defense Policy (CSDP) operations and missions by their respective Commanders.

   The Chief of the National Guard in his intervention under the EU - NATO cooperation issue stated that any cooperation should be based on the principles of reciprocity, involving all Member States while maintaining both the decision-making and decision-taking autonomy of both international organizations. In addition, Chief Leontaris demonstrated that Turkey, as a NATO member state and despite its wishes to join the EU, by exploiting its participation in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization operations, violates the national airspace of the Republic of Cyprus and the air traffic rules. He also pointed out that Turkey with its actions prevents the Republic of Cyprus from exercising its sovereign rights in its territory and its Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). In conclusion, he said that "when the Republic of Cyprus is limited, it amounts to a limitation of the EU, with all that this implies" and called on its counterparts to help establish the cooperation of the two organizations on the basis of the above principles.

   There followed an exchange of views on Permanent Structured Cooperation PESCO and the Coordinated Annual Review on Defence (CARD), which would enable the Union to address effectively the wide range of challenges that it faces and to protect both the security and the interests of European citizens.

   Other issues addressed by the Summit included cooperation between the EU and the United Nations, Military Mobility as well as issues of interoperability and cooperation.

   On the sidelines of the Summit, General Leontaris had contacts with the Chiefs of Defence of the EU Member States and bilateral meetings with the Chiefs of Defence of Austria and of the United Kingdom.

   Finally, the summit was marked by the handover of the Chairmanship of the Military Committee by General Mikhail Kostarakos (GR) to General Claudio Graziano (IT).

   The next Summit will be held in May 2019.