VILNIUS 's Defense Minister Gediminas Kirkilas told a visiting military delegation from the European Union on Thursday that Lithuania was ready to take part in the development of the rapid-reaction troops.
the establishment of a joint combat group. The joint Polish-led group might be founded after 2009, the Defense Ministry said.
Kirkilas met with the EU's military committee chairman, General Rolando Mosca Moschini, as part of the latter's official visit to Vilnius.
According to the ministry's press release, Lithuania is also ready to assign military capabilities to the joint group along with the Netherlands, Germany and Finland, though the Baltic country's specific contribution still under discussion.
Moscow stressed that the EU's rapid-reaction units should complement rather than overlap with NATO's capabilities in order to save resources of member states.
A total of 13 high-readiness multinational combat groups for independent conduct of operations are to be established by the EU. The first two should be shaped next year, and the following two in 2006.
Moschini, former commander of Italy's armed forces, was appointed to head the EU Military Committee in spring this year. The committee was founded in April 2001 as a permanent political and military structure.