The Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP)

EU and NATO for defence of Europe: coherent, complementary and interoperable

11/07/2018 - 15:53

The Presidents of the European Council and Commission and NATO Secretary General on 10 July issued a second Joint Declaration highlighting substantial progress in cooperation between the two organisations since 2016, welcoming EU efforts to boost the Union's security and defence capabilities and agreeing to increase work in the areas of military mobility, counter- terrorism, countering chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear-related risks and the promotion of the women, peace and security agenda. The capabilities developed through the defence initiatives of the EU and NATO should remain coherent, complementary and interoperable, agreed the leaders meeting in Brussels.

Since the first EU-NATO Joint Declaration signed in 2016 in Warsaw, cooperation between the two organisations has developed substantially in key areas such as countering hybrid and cyber threats or defence capability research and development. The objective is to protect Europe and its citizens in the face of unprecedented challenges emanating from the South and the East. The EU and NATO are highly complementary, ideal partners in this context, the leaders acknowledged, with EU efforts to boost its autonomous defence capabilities also strengthening NATO. The second EU-NATO Joint Declaration signed on 10 July ahead of a NATO summit on 11 July takes stock of the achievements made and charts the way forward.

Following the first Joint EU- NATO Declaration of 2016, a total of 74 concrete common action points in seven areas has been agreed and are currently under implementation. Three progress reports were submitted highlighting the main achievements and added value of EU-NATO cooperation in the different areas. For example, the EU and NATO now exchange real-time warnings on cyber-attacks, coordinate and participate in each other's exercises, and work together in the Mediterranean in fighting migrant smuggling and trafficking.

The Joint Declaration confirms the ongoing work. It puts particular emphasis on swift and demonstrable progress in priority areas such as military mobility, counter-terrorism, resilience to chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear-related risks and the promotion of the women, peace and security agenda.

Amongst the EU Member States 22 are also NATO Allies. The declaration encourages the fullest possible involvement of the EU Member States that are not part of the Alliance in its initiatives as well as that of the NATO Allies that are not members of the EU.

The EU as a global actor and security provider

EU High Representative Mogherini submitted in June 2016 the new "Global Strategy for the EU's Foreign and Security Policy" which outlined a new approach for a higher level of ambition in the area of security and defence. Since then a range of new mechanisms and instruments have been developed, including reinforced cooperation with partners of which NATO is the most prominent.  This is not the beginning of a militarisation or an arms race with third countries, but a coordinated response to the demand for security and stability by European citizens and partners in the world. In this context, defence or cooperation with NATO are just two elements in the EU’s much wider toolbox of instruments to tackle today’s complex security challenges.