EU defence ministers to discuss the future of defence cooperation in Helsinki

EU defence ministers will discuss new technologies and the changing world during the informal meeting of ministers of defence on 28 and 29 August. The topics of discussion include for example artificial intelligence and the effect of climate change on defence and security.

The meeting will be chaired by the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini. Finland, which currently holds the Presidency of the Council of the European Union, is represented by Minister of Defence Antti Kaikkonen.

Momentum from new technologies

Artificial intelligence and digitalisation are creating fundamental changes in society. The effects also extend to defence. During its Presidency, Finland aims to stimulate discussion on the effects of AI developments and digitalisation and to encourage their exploitation in developing EU defence.

“New technologies such as artificial intelligence are changing the operating environment of defence. We need cooperation in advancing and harnessing these new technologies. By cooperating, the EU can impact the course of international developments,” says Kaikkonen.

The informal meeting of ministers will start off with discussions on AI and new technologies. The defence ministers will deliberate the overall situation together with leading private sector experts. The talks will seek a deeper understanding of both the opportunities and challenges that AI and new technologies can offer the defence field. The meeting will be attended by representatives from NATO, the UN and a group of experts (Global Tech Panel) invited by High Representative Mogherini.

The defence ministers’ discussion in Helsinki will cover questions such as how AI can be harnessed for developing EU defence and how to ensure that the EU stays abreast of global technological developments. The ministers will also address ethical and legal questions related to digitalisation and AI.