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The EU's defence and security challenges discussed with General Kostarakos

On Monday, 26 and Tuesday, 27 March, Chief of the General Staff of the Slovenian Armed Forces (SAF), Major General Alan Geder hosted a visit of General Mikhail Kostarakos, Chairman of EU Military Committee. General Kostarakos was also received by Minister of Defence of the Republic of Slovenia Andreja Katič with whom General mainly discussed the development of military capabilities within the EU.

Chief of the SAF General Staff, General Geder, and Chairman of EU Military Committee, General Kostarakos, exchanged views on Common Security and Defence Policy with particular focus on military capability development. Later on, General Kostarakos met with the Minister of Defence Ms Andreja Katič and members of the Defence Committee and finally, held a lecture on the EU's defence and security challenges for students of the SAF General Staff Course and the SAF’s commanding officers.

General Kostarakos opened his presentation with Tukidid’s quote “The strong do what they can and the weak suffer what they must.” adding that the latter option was not a good choice.  He presented the EU’s strategic priorities and the comprehensive approach concept which the EU wishes to use to provide for the security of its member states by eliminating the causes not just the consequences.  The concept incorporates diplomacy, the military, financing and development (of health care, education, economy…) and is based on the belief that security in Europe will be established only by establishing adequate living conditions and a safe environment in in the countries where this is still not the case. Unlike in NATO, in the EU, the military are only one of the tools used to achieve the goals.

Additionally, General Kostarakos presented the role of the EU Military Committee and EU operations which include almost 4,000 military from the armed forces of EU member states. SAF members are present in three out of six EU operations. General Kostarakos highlighted the irreplaceable role of SAF members in operation Althea in Bosnia and Herzegovina, where they can contribute the most to the operation due to the common history of both countries.