The Ukraine crisis has been a huge wake up call for the EU and NATO. Each organisation knows that it must work with the other. And for the first time in over a decade they are making a visibly concerted effort to cooperate.
It would be unacceptable if they did not. Both are headquartered in Brussels, deal with Europe’s security and defence, and share 22 member states. Europe’s security demands that they should cooperate. Yet for years they have barely managed to communicate, let alone work together.
So we warmly welcome and acknowledge last July’s Joint Declaration, last December’s Common Set of Proposals for Cooperation, and the increasingly successful efforts by the EU’s and NATO’s hard working staffs to implement these proposals.
But this is not enough, as is clear from the report by the European Leadership Network (ELN): “EU-NATO Relations: Inching forward” EU member states and NATO Allies need not just to want the EU and NATO to work together but to invest the political energy to make this happen.
The ELN report shows that this is not as hard as is often imagined. Political differences between a small minority of Allies and member states and respect for the organisations’ different mandates, decision making autonomy and institutional integrity, need not hold all progress hostage. Ultimately, the greater obstacles are lack of attention in European capitals, lack of resources and practical arrangements for collaboration in the two organisations, lack of knowledge in each organisation about the other, and a long-standing lack of cultural affinity made worse by years of diplomatic trench warfare.
These obstacles can now be overcome. And overcoming them would unlock greater efficiencies, greater effectiveness separately and jointly, powerful synergies, and genuine and much needed collaboration for the sake of Europe’s security and well-being.
This group endorses the key recommendations in the ELN report and calls on European governments to improve EU-NATO cooperation in the following ways:
Resource. Set more staff from the European Commission, the European External Action Service (EEAS) and EU agencies to work on security and defence issues, security clear more staff, train personnel to work with confidential and classified information and provide secure communications equipment. NATO, with better security but many fewer total staff, needs money from NATO Allies for extra people to implement the Joint Declaration and the Common Set of Proposals.
Educate. Mutual familiarity is crucial for long-term collaboration. Establish sustainable and sustained mutual education between and about the two institutions. Member states’ delegations in both institutions should host workshops for NATO and EU staff and for their own personnel. Staff exchange between the two institutions should be incentivised, particularly in the seven areas of the Joint Declaration. Frequent, regular visits of international staff and national delegations to each other’s institutions should become central.
Explain. Create a compelling narrative on EU-NATO cooperation that promotes a better understanding of the value added by their cooperation, dispels concerns among domestic audiences and partner countries, and supports greater transparency and sustainability of activities. Aligning the EU and NATO message would foster coherence on the seven areas of cooperation and greater will to act against common threats.
Be ambitious. If Europe’s security is to be protected as it needs to be, EU member states and NATO Allies will have to shift in thought, word and deed from mere cooperation – working together on goals that happen to overlap – to active collaboration – working together towards shared goals. The international staffs need clear guidance that the goal is collaboration for real world effect, not simply cooperation for political effect or to avoid duplication or optimise resources. Member states should be clearer that the process continues far beyond 2017 and that the shared goal in working together is better security for Europe.
17 May 2017
- Dr. Gro Harlem Brundtland, former Prime Minister of Norway; former Director General of the World Health Organisation (WHO), Deputy Chair of The Elders
- Kjell Magne Bondevik, Former Prime Minister of Norway
- Massimo D’Alema, former Prime Minister of Italy; Former Minister of Foreign Affairs
- Willy Claes, former Secretary General of NATO, Belgium
- The Rt Hon Lord Browne of Ladyton (Des Browne), Chair of the ELN and former Defence Secretary of the United Kingdom
- Sir Adam Thomson, former British Permanent Representative to NATO, Director of the European Leadership Network
- Sir Malcolm Rifkind, former Defence Secretary and former Foreign Secretary of the United Kingdom
- Ambassador Wolfgang Ischinger, Chair of the Munich Security Conference and co-chair of the Euro-Atlantic Security Initiative, former Deputy Foreign Minister of Germany
- General Sir John McColl, former NATO Deputy Supreme Allied Commander Europe (DSACEUR) and Lieutenant-Governor of Jersey
- Uffe Ellemann-Jensen, former Foreign Minister of Denmark
- Admiral Giampaolo Di Paola, former Minister of Defence of Italy
- Rudolf Scharping, former Defence Minister of Germany
- Ana Palacio, former Foreign Minister of Spain
- Professor Laurens Jan Brinkhorst, former Deputy Foreign Minister of the Netherlands
- Mogens Lykketoft, former Foreign Minister of Denmark
- Professor Dr Adam Daniel Rotfeld, Former Foreign Minister of Poland
- Louis Michel, Former European Commissioner for Development and Humanitarian Aid; Former Foreign Minister; Current MEP
- Elisabeth Rehn, former Defence Minister of Finland, current Chair of the Board of Directors of the Trust Fund for Victims at the International Criminal Court
- Professor Todor Tagarev, former Defence Minister of Bulgaria
- Dr Solomon Passy, former Foreign Minister of Bulgaria
- Hikmet Cetin, former Foreign Minister of Turkey and leader of the Republican People’s Party (CHP)
- Imants Lieģis, former Defence Minister of the Republic of Latvia, serving Ambassador to France
- János Martonyi, former Foreign Minister of Hungary
- Fatmir Mediu, former Defence Minister of Albania
- Budimir Loncar, Former Minister of Foreign Affairs of former Yugoslavia
- General Vincenzo Camporini, former Chief of the Joint Defence Staff of Italy
- Admiral (ret.) Juhani Kaskeala, former Commander of Finnish Defence Forces, former member of the Military Committee of the European Union
- Admiral the Lord Boyce (Michael Boyce), former Chief of Defence Staff and First Sea Lord, Crossbench Peer in the UK House of Lords
- General Klaus Naumann, former Chief of Staff of the German armed forces, Former Chairman of the NATO Military Committee
- Lord Richards of Herstmonceux (David Richards), former Chief of the Defence Staff, member of the House of Lords
- Ricardo Baptista Leite, serving Member of Parliament, Portugal
- Marietje Schaake, serving Member of the European Parliament
- General (Ret.) Bernard Norlain, former Air Defence Commander and Air Combat Commander in the French Air Force and Military Advisor to Prime Minister Michel Rocard
- Lord Arbuthnot of Edrom (James Arbuthnot), former Chairman of the Defence Select Committee of the United Kingdom; serving member of the House of Lords
- Lord Campbell of Pittenweem (Sir Menzies Campbell), former leader of the UK delegation to the NATO Parliamentary Assembly and member of the Foreign Affairs Committee; serving member of the House of Lords
- Lord Hannay of Chiswick (David Hannay), former British Ambassador to the EU and to the UN
- Ambassador Giancarlo Aragona, former OSCE Secretary General, Ambassador to the UK and Russia; and former Italian representative to the Albright Group for the drafting of NATO’s “New Strategic Concept”
- Lord Kerr of Kinlochard (John Kerr), former British Ambassador to the EU and the US; former FCO Permanent Under-Secretary
- Stefano Stefanini, former Italian Permanent Representative to NATO; former Diplomatic Advisor to the President of Italy
- Sir Tony Brenton, former British Ambassador to Russia
- Tom McKane, former Director General for Strategy and Security Policy at the UK Ministry of Defence
- Dr. Klaus Wittmann, former Bundeswehr General, Senior Fellow Aspen Institute Germany
- Karsten Voigt, former German-American coordinator in the Federal Foreign Office of Germany; Former President of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly
- Lord Triesman (David Triesman), former Under-Secretary of State in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office of the United Kingdom
- Ambassador Tedo Japaridze, serving Member of Parliament, Chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee and former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Georgia
- Faruk Loğoğlu, former Turkish Ambassador to the US; serving member of The Grand National Assembly of Turkey
- Lord Wallace of Saltaire PC (William Wallace), former Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for Defence and Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs; serving member of the House of Lords
- Ambassador Özdem Sanberk, former Undersecretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Turkey
- Ambassador Carlo Trezza, former Member of the Advisory Board of the UN Secretary General for Disarmament Matters and Chairman of the Missile Technology Control Regime
- Lord (David) Ramsbotham, Crossbench peer in the House of Lords
- Ambassador Henrik Salander, former Ambassador to the Conference on Disarmament, Secretary- General of the Weapons of Mass Destruction Commission
- Vahit Erdem, Ambassador, former head of the Turkish Delegation to the NATO Parliamentary Assembly and former Secretary General of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey
- Wolfgang Petritsch, former EU Special Envoy to Kosovo and former High Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina
- Ambassador Balázs Csuday, current Permanent Representative of Hungary to the United Nations Office and other International Organizations in Vienna
- Ambassador Jaakko Blomberg, former Finnish Ambassador to Canada and Estonia
- Ambassador Elena Poptodorova, Director of Euro-Atlantic Affairs, the Atlantic Club of Bulgaria
- Stefano Silvestri, President of the International Affairs Institute of Italy, consultant for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministries of Defence and Industry
- Professor Raimo Väyrynen, former Director at Finnish Institute of International Affairs
- Mustafa Aydın, Rector of Kadir Has University (Istanbul) and President of the International Relations Council of Turkey
- Professor Ivo Šlaus, Croatian former member of parliament and member of the Foreign Affairs Committee
- Mustafa Nayyem, Member of the Ukrainian Parliament
- Jaakko Laajava, former Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Security Policy and Facilitator of the WMDFZ in the Middle East
This statement is published in the name only of those who have signed, and not on behalf of all of the members of the European Leadership Network.