Belgian and German defence ministers meet in Brussels
On April 19, 2021, the Belgian and German defence ministers, Ludivine Dedonder and Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, met in person for the very first time. They discussed the close bilateral collaborations and current political issues such as:
the withdrawal of the Belgian and German forces from Afghanistan,
the reinforcement of European defence in the four baskets discussed in the important guiding document of the Strategic Compass: crisis management, resilience, capabilities and partnerships,
the cooperation in EU PESCO projects in particular in the medical and logisitic fields,
the importance of the current NATO reflexion process and the connections with the Strategic Compass to avoid duplications and enhance cooperation, national challenges of modernizing the army, in particular to attract new recruits and retain them; the development of a cyber command in Belgian Defence; the update of a strategic vision to cope with the new threats and challenges.
Minister Kramp-Karrenbauer states: “I am delighted that we have been able to meet in person here in Brussels, in spite of the adverse circumstances. This shows the important role we play for each other as friends, neighbours and allies. Our excellent cooperation is based on trust and has evolved over decades. Together, we intend to establish a firm position for both the EU and NATO in the upcoming strategic processes. Our armed forces conduct operations together and actively build on our tried and tested cooperation and our close contact.”
Minister Dedonder states: "Our two nations maintain multiple collaborative relationships: bilateral but also within the framework of European partnerships and of the Atlantic alliance. I welcome this constructive dialogue allowing for positive advances in operational matters which demonstrate our common desire to collaborate. This meeting allows us to reaffirm our common vision of a global and multilateral approach to crises and to underline the importance of strong relations between partners and allies for a strong Collective Defence."
Germany and Belgium share many fruitful defence partnerships, both strategically and operationally. Within the Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO) Germany and Belgium, collaborate in seven projects. Both countries are also Eurocorps framework nations and are collaborating in a multilateral framework on the NH90 program or the 8 MRTT planes (Multirole Tanker Transport).
The Belgian Defence's participation in the NATO Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan is carried out in collaboration with the Bundeswehr. A coordinated withdrawal will be elaborated together with Germany. Both forces are collaborating in Mali (Minusma), in Lithuania (NATO enhanced Forward Presence) and in Jordan as part of the Inherent Resolve Operation conducted by the Coalition against Da'esh where the detachment of 4 Belgian F-16s is integrated into a German camp on the Azraq air base.