Nato Strategic Concept and European Union

In its New Strategic Concept NATO recognizes the importance of a closer cooperation with the European Union and of a stronger and more capable European defence. It welcomes the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty as a framework for strengthening the capacities of the European Union to address common security challenges.

This is a very positive development taking into account the originally very critical attitude of the United States towards the development of the European Security and Defence Policy. The European Union should now respond by enhancing its complementarities with NATO.

During the last decade, the European Union has developed its capabilities of analysis, prevention, civilian and military crisis management and of post- conflict reconstruction. More than twenty civilian and military operations have been conducted using the newly developed structures of the European Union. These structures are unique in their combination of civilian and military capabilities.

The European Union has now to strengthen these capabilities in partnership with NATO. Due to the budgetary restraints in all the Member States, this will only be possible by better spending of the available budgets and by avoiding unnecessary duplications. This will mean more cooperation in Security Research and Development, standardization, certification, logistics and training as well as pooling of resources between Member States.

It also means that the application of the rules of the European Single Market has to be strengthened. What we need is a European Home Market for Security and Defence. The recent legislation of the European Union concerning defence procurement and intracommunity transfer are first steps in this direction.

With regard to the new approach to missile defence, Europe has to insist that its common security interests and its industrial capabilities in this field are taken into consideration and reflected in the structures of command. More cooperation in this field will also be a test for the new partnership with Russia.

21 November 2010