The NATO Summit’s overlooked success
Most international media outlets failed to cover the joint EU-NATO declaration. It is a shame that a wider audience did not have the opportunity to learn about the document, as its announcement was a very important event.
The joint declaration was the first of its kind. It was the result of numerous meetings and long lasting negotiations held at the highest level. The declaration signaled willingness for closer cooperation between the EU and NATO in the turbulent times of unprecedented threats coming from South and East. The declaration was signed by the President of the European Council Donald Tusk, the President of the European Commission Jean Claude Juncker, and the Secretary General of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization Jens Stoltenberg. US President Barack Obama and the summit’s host – Polish President Andrzej Duda were firm supporters of the document.
“The Declaration we sign today sends a clear message: a stronger European Union means a stronger NATO, and a stronger NATO means a stronger European Union”, said Jean-Claude Juncker in his remarks after the signature of the Declaration. “These are the many areas where EU–NATO cooperation is practical and urgent. Our roles are complementary, but we have every reason to work more closely together”, Juncker concluded.
The areas of cooperation include the threat of hybrid warfare, cooperation in cybersecurity and common actions in the Mediterranean Sea in order to stop the migration crisis. The Joint Declaration starts as follow: “We believe that the time has come to give new impetus and new substance to the NATO-EU strategic partnership.” It continues: “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 organisations and without prejudice to the specific character of the security and defence policy of any of our members.”
As we can see, cooperation between two great institutions such as the EU and NATO is climbing to another, higher level. How did the discussions on the declaration look like on the sidelines of the NATO Summit? Well, it is obvious that the EU does not have its own foreign policy (I am not talking here about their sanctions policy as it does not count as a foreign policy). Moreover, it is difficult to find in the EU officials who think according to the logic of common, European security. Also, the EU’s pacific slogan “wars are a thing of the past, we now have eternal peace” is not an ample response to recent threats coming from Russia, terrorism or uncontrolled immigration. One of the issues discussed on the sidelines was also that the EU should stop its constant criticism of NATO which is a common practice by many European high-level clerks.
These two great institutions must live in friendship, co-operate and be complementary. For the good of nearly a billion people who live in the EU and NATO member states, including 38,5 million Poles. The recent joint declaration is therefore a step in right, safe direction.
Joint declaration by the President of the European Council, the President of the European Commission, and the Secretary General of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization
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 organisations and without prejudice to the specific character of the security and defence policy of any of our members.
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.
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 neighbours' and partners' stability in accordance with our values, as enshrined in the UN Charter, contributes to our security and to sustainable peace and prosperity. So that our neighbours 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.
In fulfilling the objectives above, we believe there is 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 defence including in the context of our missions and operations, exercises and on education and training.
- Develop coherent, complementary and interoperable defence capabilities of EU Member States and NATO Allies, as well as multilateral projects.
- Facilitate a stronger defence industry and greater defence 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 defence 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 endeavour.
We will review progress on a regular basis.
We call on both organisations to invest the necessary political capital and resources to make this reinforced partnership a success.
Signed at Warsaw on 8 July 2016 in triplicate.
President of the European Council
President of the European Commission
Secretary General of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization