Opening the conference, Lieutenant General Hans-Werner Wierman welcomed participants back to NATO HQ for the first IMS-EUMS in-person meeting since the start of the pandemic and highlighted the ongoing work and determination demonstrated by respective staffs, throughout the health crisis, as an indication of the importance placed on this relationship by both institutions. For his part, Lieutenant General Giovanni Manione opened the meeting on behalf of Vice Admiral Hervé Blejean, the Director General of the European Union Military Staff and thanked Lieutenant General Wiermann for the warm welcome. Both Generals acknowledged the work done by the EUMS and the IMS in maintaining, fostering and developing the collaborative staff-to-staff relationship that has grown between both organisations.
Today’s meeting provided a forum for both Directors General and their respective staffs to report on the progress of the tasks in the joint work plan agreed by the EUMS – IMS as well as exchange views and discuss the ongoing cooperation between NATO and the EU. One of the key issues discussed was the development of the two strategic reflections, for the EU its Strategic Compass and for NATO, the renewal of its Strategic Concept. Each organisation briefed on the reflection process and the ongoing development of their own strategies, which led to a discussion on the importance of complementarity and cohesion between both documents.
The agenda also included a briefing by the EEAS Security and Defence Policy Branch on monitoring and coordinating the implementation of the NATO-EU Joint Declarations. In the current strategic environment, facing new challenges and threats, cooperation between the EU and NATO remains essential. With 21 common members, the security of the EU and NATO is clearly inter-connected and working together on key issues only strengthens their common response.
This was followed by a briefing from the Supreme Allied Command Transformation on the NATO’s Space activities. NATO needs good situational awareness, reliable access to space services and it must keep its technological edge. NATO has declared space an operational domain alongside air, land, sea and cyber and also established a NATO Space Centre in Germany.
This bilateral meeting is a key enabler in strengthening the already positive working relationship between the EUMS and the IMS. Today’s event is the first IMS-EUMS in-person meeting held since the start of the COVID 19 Pandemic and followed strict health measures to protect all participants. The next meeting is scheduled in May 2022.