Annual Meeting of the CEDC Ministers, together with the Ministers of the Western Balkans
On 1 and 2 December 2022, Defence Minister Klaudia Tanner welcomed the ministers of the “Central European Defence Cooperation” (CEDC) and the Western Balkan states in Krems. During the working talks with the twelve ministers from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Croatia, Montenegro, Northern Macedonia, Poland, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, the Czech Republic and Hungary, Tanner emphasised the need to restore and improve stability in the Western Balkans. Other topics of the conference were Russian aggression against Ukraine and the protracted war, the promotion of regional cooperation and finally, the handover of the presidency to the Czech Republic.
“This year’s Presidency has presented Austria with a special challenge under the aspect of Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine. It is clear that this war has shaken Europe and all of us. Nevertheless, we must not suppress what is happening right at Austria’s gates! Our goal was therefore to move from talk to action. We must continue to ensure resilience and progress in the Western Balkans region and thus, remain committed to our Western Balkans Initiative,” said Defence Minister Klaudia Tanner.
Within the framework of the CEDC Presidency 2022, Austria has set itself the goal of operationalising the defence cooperation through jointly implemented projects. A further goal was to improve the CEDCs visibility in general. As the main focus lays on the strengthening and inclusion of the Western Balkans, several initiatives and projects were discussed. One of hese projects is the founding of a “Western Balkans Defence College” – for which the “Non-paper on the Western Balkan Defence College” was drafted and submitted to the EU in August and received positive responses from the EU External Action Service.
Next year, the Czech Republic will take over the presidency and will be in charge to recommend future cooperation.