Budget Crisis Highlights Need for Improving NATO-EU Partnership


From Anders Fogh Rasmussen, NATO: [A] NATO-EU strategic partnership would be a major cost-saver, especially in the area of military capabilities. We have already seen with the Strategic Airlift Capability Initiative that cooperation between NATO and the European Union is possible. Ten NATO nations, nine of which are also EU nations, as well as two EU non-NATO partner nations, have combined their efforts and operate three C-17 large body transport aircraft.

Both NATO and the European Union now have a capability they would otherwise not have had – and significant savings are achieved. Through this collective approach, participating nations have saved on operating costs, on command and control, on logistics and on maintenance costs. This is a perfect example of spending smarter.

Similarly, through our combined efforts to improve the availability of mission-capable helicopters we have improved our operational capability, avoided duplication, and shared costs. With NATO focussing on the upgrade of the helicopters, and the European Union focussing on the pilot training, we are able to maximise the return on our scarce resources.
But these two examples are rare – and I believe, we can, and we should do more. In many cases, NATO and the European Union share the same capability requirements – so let us identify the priority areas and agree that wherever possible, any capability work in one organisation shall be open to all members of the other organisation too.
We have made some progress. We have created a NATO-EU Capability Group – but this is essentially a forum for information exchange. We now need to move it to the next stage – where this Group becomes a forum for active cooperation. And where mutual cooperation is no longer the exception, but the norm.
Excerpts from ”Security policy in an era of budgetary constraint” speech by NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, Brussels 21 June 2010. (graphic: French Presidency of the Council of the European Union 2008)

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