“To fulfil priorities that are defined by the Strategic Concept for National Defence (CEDN) the Portuguese Armed Forces must reinforce their operational capacity”, said Portugal’s Minister for National Defence José Pedro Aguiar-Branco speaking during a ceremony in Lisbon.
“We do not intend to dismantle the armed forces but increase their operational capacity (…) to allow a stronger intervention in the Assigned National Forces” which are considered a priority for “collective and cooperative security” as agreed under the recently-approved CEDN.
In the Minister’s view “today there is greater national defence beyond the geographical frontiers to which the country is limited”, and for which it is “fundamental that we face up to our vulnerabilities and properly understand where our potential lies.”
Europe, NATO and Portugal’s strategic partnership with the US were underlined as priorities by the Minister in terms of National Defence policies, for which “the system of national forces should benefit from a structure based on the ability to work together.”
Stressing the importance of the European Council that will take place in December, given that it is “a very opportune and relevant way” to address matters relating to common defence policies, Aguiar-Branco said that the meeting will also serve to test “the convictions that stretch the purse-strings.”
“We are arriving at the moment when we will know if we are able to take a more consistent step within a Common Defence Policy that will lead to the consolidation of a Europe that will stop being a Europe that is purely one of interests, to one that is of trust”, the Defence Minister reflected.
He added that “Portugal must play a pro-active role” that is not based on the weight of a nation “in terms of demography, wealth or GDP, but on the conviction with which it undertakes those projects.”