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EU-NATO cooperation as the key to Euro-Atlantic security

By MAJ Solár, LTC Oujezdský (Ministry of Defence & Armed Forced of the Czech Republic)

Identifying specific options designed to improve cooperation of EU and NATO defence planning, enhancing planning of the EU defence capabilities and stepping up the implementation of EU capability development targets: those were the objectives of the international seminar called The EU and NATO Defence Planning Coherence held in Prague on September 19-20, 2022, and organised by the Czech Ministry of Defence as part of the Czech Presidency of the Council of the European Union. Besides representatives and experts from the EU Member States and NATO Nations, the seminar was attended by representatives of the European Defence Agency, EU and NATO staffs and the academia.

The key goal of the seminar was to provide the venue for discussion among the EU, NATO and national defence planning and capability development experts. Chairing the seminar, the Director of Czech MoD Capabilities Planning Division, Major General Miloslav Lafek, welcomed the audience of over one hundred.

Synchronisation of defence capability and deepening of multilateral cooperation are a must

The opening address was delivered by EDA Chief Executive, Mr. Jiří Šedivý. The Russian war against Ukraine changed the strategic environment, which both the European Union and the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation have to adapt to. With a view to the current situation, both organisations seek to achieve a better coherence of defence planning and to synchronise development of military capabilities for the existing and future missions and operations. The EDA Chief Executive underscored that the current security environment is shaping the priorities for Member States to develop military capabilities and will continue to do so. While the expeditionary capabilities which have been developed so far need to be maintained, a much broader spectrum of essential military capabilities and a higher intensity of tasking now must be embraced. The efforts designed to develop new capacities have to incorporate new generation capabilities.

Coherence of EU and NATO defence planning, development of EU capability planning in the coming decade and options to enhance the implementation of EU capability development

The seminar was divided into three panels, of which the first was dedicated to the very cohesion of EU-NATO defence planning. The war in Ukraine could be, according to some, the “last call” for EU and NATO. While the two organisations differ, their assets included, they share the fundamental values and interests that drive their cooperation. At the same time, they commonly face similar opponents and challenges. It is therefore necessary to strive for an enhanced synchronisation and coherence in the capability domain, achieve more intensive information sharing and higher transparency. To ensure a single and coordinated approach by both organisations is one of the objectives of the Czech Presidency of the Council of the EU.

The second panel entertained the document that evaluates capability development plans – the Coordinated Annual Review on Defence (CARD 2022) Aggregated Analysis. This policy document provides an assessment of EU Member States’ plans, and offers recommendations on the course of action in capability planning in the upcoming decade. The objective is to focus capability development on multinational cooperation and attain joint acquisition in order to reduce the costs of procurement and do away with excessive divergence of military equipment in Europe.

The third panel discussed the options to enhance implementation of the European Union’s capability development targets and deliberated proposed solutions, including a strengthened coordination among individual Member States.

A single coordinated approach by the European Union and the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation is essential for Euro-Atlantic security, as resounded throughout the Prague seminar. It is clear than an enhanced cooperation between the two organisations will use the resources and instruments they both have available more effectively to better tackle challenges which both the EU and NATO have to face and to improve security of citizens in the member countries. The Czech Presidency seeks to strengthen and deepen this cooperation and expand strategic partnership as well as political dialogue.

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