Österreichs Bundesheer

Bundesheer auf facebook

"Handing Over the Baton" to Finland

19 July 2006 - 

Marking the end of Austria's 2006 EU presidency from a defence perspective, Minister of Defence Günther Platter handed over a symbolic relay baton to his Finnish colleague Seppo Kääriäinen in the course of a ceremony in Helsinki on 28th June. Platter put great emphasis on the role of the European Security and Defence Policy in European integration.

Improvements in Disaster Management

During the two-day visit, the ministers discussed the most important aspects of European defence policy. Platter detailed how the joint initiative for Civil-Military Cooperation (CIMIC) of the United Kingdom, Austria and Finland has significantly improved crisis management within the European Union and as such represents a milestone of European Security and Defence Policy. He then went on to illustrate how the first few hours are pivotal especially when reacting to natural disasters and how the civil-military cabinet of the EU Military Staff provides a crucial coordination point for such matters.

The Importance of Stabilisation

Kääriäinen lauded Platter for his "key role" in the composition of the EU mission in Congo and stated that assuring stability in this region during the imminent elections was a significant duty of the EU during the Finnish presidency. This, so Kääriäinen, represents the European support for the African democratisation process.

Ensuring a Stable Balkan Region

The western Balkans mark another priority in the months to come, and Platter points out how it is vital for the EU to succeed in ensuring a stabilised Balkan region. With its EUFOR/Althea operation, the European Union currently has around 7,000 soldiers stationed in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the analysis of the upcoming elections is of great importance for future planning of military operations.

Günther Platter and his successor Seppo Kääriäinen. (Image opens in new window)

Günther Platter and his successor Seppo Kääriäinen.

Ministry of Defence | Rossauer Laende 1, 1090 Vienna
Imprint | Contact us