NATO summit marks start of closer cooperation with EU

NATO summit marks start of closer cooperation with EU

NATO summit marks start of closer cooperation with EU

European Council President Donald Tusk, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker pose for a picture following the signing ceremony of EU-NATO Joint Declaration in Warsaw, Poland July 8, 2016 - REUTERS photo

The presidents of the European Council, the European Commission and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization have signed a joint declaration on the eve of the official opening of NATO summit in Warsaw, declaring that the time has come to give new impetus and new substance to the NATO-EU strategic partnership.

“We believe that the time has come to give new impetus and new substance to the NATO-EU strategic partnership. In consultation with the EU member states and the NATO allies, working with, and for the benefit of all, this partnership will take place in the spirit of full mutual openness and in compliance with the decision-making autonomy and procedures of our respective organizations and without prejudice to the specific character of the security and defense policy of any of our members,” Donald Tusk, the president of the European Council, Jean-Claude Juncker, the president of the European Commission and Jens Stoltenberg, secretary general of NATO, said in the joint declaration released July 8.

“Today, the Euro-Atlantic community is facing unprecedented challenges emanating from the south and east. Our citizens demand that we use all ways and means available to address these challenges so as to enhance their security.

“All allies and member states, as well as the EU and NATO per se, are already making significant contributions to Euro-Atlantic security. The substantial cooperation between NATO and the EU, unique and essential partners, established more than 15 years ago, also contributes to this end,” said the three presidents.

“In light of the common challenges we are now confronting, we have to step-up our efforts: we need new ways of working together and a new level of ambition; because our security is interconnected; because together we can mobilize a broad range of tools to respond to the challenges we face; and because we have to make the most efficient use of resources. A stronger NATO and a stronger EU are mutually reinforcing. Together they can better provide security in Europe and beyond.

“We are convinced that enhancing our neighbors’ and partners’ stability in accordance with our values, as enshrined in the U.N. Charter, contributes to our security and to sustainable peace and prosperity. So that our neighbors and partners are better able to address the numerous challenges they currently face, we will continue to support their sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence, as well as their reform efforts,” they said.

According to the three presidents, in fulfilling the objectives above, there was an urgent need to:
“Boost our ability to counter hybrid threats, including by bolstering resilience, working together on analysis, prevention and early detection, through timely information sharing and, to the extent possible, intelligence sharing between staffs; and cooperating on strategic communication and response. The development of coordinated procedures through our respective playbooks will substantially contribute to implementing our efforts;

“Broaden and adapt our operational cooperation including at sea, and on migration, through increased sharing of maritime situational awareness as well as better coordination and mutual reinforcement of our activities in the Mediterranean and elsewhere;

“Expand our coordination on cyber security and defense including in the context of our missions and operations, exercises and on education and training;

“Develop coherent, complementary and interoperable defense capabilities of EU member states and NATO allies, as well as multilateral projects;

“Facilitate a stronger defense industry and greater defense research and industrial cooperation within Europe and across the Atlantic;

“Step up our coordination on exercises, including on hybrid, by developing as the first step parallel and coordinated exercises for 2017 and 2018;

“Build the defense and security capacity and foster the resilience of our partners in the east and south in a complementary way through specific projects in a variety of areas for individual recipient countries, including by strengthening maritime capacity;

“Cooperation in these areas is a strategic priority. Speedy implementation is essential. The European External Action Service and the NATO International Staff, together with commission services as appropriate, will develop concrete options for implementation, including appropriate staff coordination mechanisms, to be presented to us and our respective councils by December 2016. On the EU side, the high representative/vice president of the commission will steer and coordinate this endeavor,” they said in their joint declaration.

“We will review progress on a regular basis. We call on both organizations to invest the necessary political capital and resources to make this reinforced partnership a success,” ended the declaration. 

In the wake of Brexit

In the wake of Brexit, Europe’s two most important multilateral organizations must deepen their partnership, Dr. Beyza Ünal, a research fellow at the London-based Chatham House, the Royal Institute of International Affairs, argued In a July 7 article titled “NATO Summit Can Mark Start of Closer Cooperation with the EU.” 
“For decades the EU has focused on political and economic integration whereas NATO prioritized its efforts on collective defense and security. New security challenges, however, require a common political, security and defense posture. The outcome of the U.K.’s referendum (Brexit) while unwelcomed by many, could be an opportunity to strengthen NATO-EU relations and to take the current strategic partnership to a political level,” Ünal said. 

‘Building on Berlin Plus’

“One avenue would be to apply a similar model to the 2003 Berlin Plus agreement to new areas of arrangement. This agreement has allowed ‘the EU to have access to the alliance’s capabilities for EU operations’ in cases of crisis. More specifically, it allows the EU to access NATO planning, assets and capabilities. Agreement on sharing operational plans and capabilities through a transparent system increases trust in both organizations. A new form of arrangement could involve peacetime cooperation, channeling support to a NATO-EU joint action framework. NATO has developed external cooperation mechanisms before, such as the Partnerships for Peace program,” she said.

‘Refugee deal between Turkey and EU a good example’

“In practice, non-EU member states in NATO are already contributing to the EU system in many ways, but not always through a recognized NATO-EU joint action framework. A good example is the refugee deal between Turkey and the EU. Despite its problems, Turkey contributes to the peace, security and stability of Europe by accepting and keeping refugees at its borders, and in return receiving EU financial aid. Given that Turkey is in NATO and not in the EU, this deal could have been framed as a joint action of cooperation of the two organizations, rather than a bilateral agreement between Turkey and the EU,” said Ünal.

“The forthcoming NATO summit is the ideal opportunity to begin this conversation and plant the seeds for further enhanced NATO-EU cooperation. The two should take the opportunity to discuss options for areas of political partnership and create an agreed agenda, program of action and working groups, focusing particularly on how NATO could be a bridge for the U.K. to stay formally involved in EU security. They cannot wait for another crisis in Europe before they start instigating some of these mutually beneficial partnerships,” concluded Ünal.