The Director General of the European Union Military Staff (EUMS), Lieutenant General Esa Pulkkinen (DGEUMS) and the Director General of NATO’s International Military Staff (IMS), Lieutenant General Jan Broeks (DGIMS), met on 29 May for the first of this year's bi-annual conferences.
Following on from the Joint Declaration (JD) of Dec 2016, reaffirmed in July 2018, the EU and NATO continue to develop their cooperation and complementarity through the implementation of the agreed 74 actions including a call to "Continue and further enhance staff-to-staff dialogue on the implementation of the common proposals, including between the NATO and EU military staffs". Progress reports on implementation are regularly submitted to the respective Councils of the two organisations. These reports clearly demonstrate the substantive changes in EU-NATO cooperation and highlight the notably increased quality and quantity of engagement resulting in reinforced interaction and concrete and practical results.
EUMS and NATO IMS interactions occur across many domains and meetings. Staffs from the respective Directorates and Branches conduct a variety of informal activities within the joint work plan agreed at the EUMS – IMS Director Generals' biannual conferences.
In this specific context and in accordance with the Joint Declaration (JD), the main effort has been dedicated to ensuring the coherence of outputs between NATO and EU Defence Planning Processes thus increasing synergies and avoiding the duplication of work.
The discussions centred on the implementation of the common set of proposals as stated in the JD on EU-NATO cooperation, including the enhancement of CIS interoperability, particularly in enabling the exchange of classified information and further developing EUMS participation in NATO’s CWIX interoperability exercise. In the Logistics domain the focus concerned the cooperation and consultation at the military staff level, on military mobility and medical issues to ensure a coherent approach and the development of synergies between the EU and NATO.
EU-NATO cooperation in the field of military education and training continues to evolve through the hosting of Induction Courses for IMS and EUMS newcomers as well as the ongoing reciprocal exchange of educational courses, at the NATO School Oberammergau (NSO) and the European Security and Defence College (ESDC). With the aim of strengthening the IMS-EUMS’s Educational Exchange Programme, further cooperation in the academic, training, and e-learning domains are being developed. Mutual participation in exercises and Scenario Based Informal Discussions (SBID) have successfully been undertaken in recent years, providing opportunities for both staffs to exchange experiences, knowledge and understanding on specific subject matters.
The second part of the conference was dedicated to open discussions and information briefs, including a presentation from the NATO standardisation Office (NSO) and the scheduling of a a high level seminar on the theme of implementing a Women, Peace and Security and Gender perspective in the military leadership role for Oct 2019. Discussions were also held on the informal EUMS and NATO IMS Defence Capabilities Cooperation Plan
Both generals complimented the staffs for the hard work in making these meetings a strong pillar of EU - NATO military cooperation on issues of common interest. Lt Gen Broeks stated that these conferences are "an essential activity, because not only does it guide the cooperation between our two staffs, but also more importantly, it is a key part of the larger effort to increase the overall level of EU - NATO cooperation".
Since 2013, the DGs’ Conference has been held twice a year with the participation of the Directors of all EUMS Directorates and IMS Divisions. It is organised in turn at the premises of the EU or NATO. The next meeting will be hosted by NATO in late 2019.
This was Lt Gen Broeks' final DG's conference as he will shortly be succeeded as DGIMS by Lt Gen Hans-Werner Wiermann (DE) who was also in attendance. The EUMS would like to thank Lt Gen Broeks' for his invaluable contribution to progressing EUMS – IMS cooperation and wish him well in his retirement from the military and looks forward to working with Lt Gen Wiermann as he takes up the post of DGIMS.