With the joint declaration - signed by Presidents of the European Council and the Commission and Secretary General of NATO - the European Union and NATO are giving a new impetus to their partnership by stepping up cooperation to meet today's unprecedented challenges, such as hybrid threats, cooperation at sea, cyber security, migration and fostering greater research and industrial cooperation in the defence sector.
"We believe that the time has come to give new impetus and new substance to the NATO-EU strategic partnership," stresses the declaration. “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."
Stronger NATO and EU mutually reinforcing
The Declaration goes onto say that as "our security is interconnected…a stronger NATO and a stronger EU are mutually reinforcing. Together they can better provide security in Europe and beyond."
The EU and NATO committed themselves to take the following steps:
- Boost ability to counter hybrid threats, including by bolstering resilience, working together on analysis, prevention, and early detection.
- Broaden and adapt operational cooperation including at sea, and on migration, through increased sharing of maritime situational awareness as well as better coordination and mutual reinforcement of activities in the Mediterranean and elsewhere.
- Expand coordination on cyber security and defence including in the context of 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 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 partners in the East and South.
"Speedy implementation is essential"
The Declaration finishes by stating: "Speedy implementation is essential. The European External Action Service and the NATO International Staff, together with Commission services as appropriate, will develop concrete options (which will 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."