EU-NATO third joint declaration
22 January 2023
2 minutes, 47 seconds
On the 10th January, the EU and NATO signed in Bruxelles their third joint declaration on cooperation in security and defense field. On the one hand the declaration condemned again Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and reaffirmed the two parties’ support to Ukraine, on the other hand it established a common view about EU and new action strategies both signers are willing to take to safeguard their own security. The two organizations are deepening and expanding their cooperation in many areas to tackle growing challenges like geostrategic competition, groundbreaking new technologies, climate change's implications in security and information handling and interferences from abroad. Resilience strengthening and critical infrastructures safeguarding in Members States of both organizations were also discussed. Moreover, the declaration addressed China's increasing aggressivity and its intensifying attempts to change the world order to its advantage.
EU Council President Charles Michel affirmed that besides the great goals achieved also in “combatting hybrid and information threats” and in operative cooperation, security dangers to be confronted are “evolving in terms of range and dimension”. It is therefore necessary to take partnership to the next level. “Make Europe stronger, make NATO stronger, as strong allies make strong alliances. We Europeans want to take more accountability about our defense, and this means strengthening the EU pilar in NATO”. In addition, NATO Secretary General Jeans Stoltenberg declared “our joint declaration clarifies that NATO stays key in our collective defense and essential for Euro-Atlantic security”.
The news was not positively welcomed by those who have always fought for an increased European strategic autonomy - for example, France would want an European Union more independent from the United States. Notwithstanding many initiatives to foster Common Security and Defense Policy and make the EU able to provide for its own safeguard, before the worst war in the continent since 1945, the EU decided to rely on Uncle Sam’s F-35s, Patriot missiles and nuclear power.
Moreover, the joint declaration goes to the opposite direction then the Strategic Compass published in March 2022. The Strategic Compass can be considered a means to boost the EU’s Common Security and Defense Policy by 2030. Its aim is to make the EU a more accountable and independent actor in security and defense and, the opposite to the European Global strategy of 2016 , it represents a reliable action plan with deadlines.
Nonetheless, the joint EU-NATO declaration refers to a more developed European security not in the views of an EU independence from the USA – rather as a positive contribution to Euro-Atlantic security, as per NATO mandate. NATO is “key in our collective defense and essential for Euro-Atlantic security”, as in Stoltenberg’s words.
To conclude, the EU has always relied on the American alley in the security and defense industry. Several steps towards an increased EU strategy have been taken, like the Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO), the European Defense Fund (EDF) or the Coordinated Annual Review on Defense (CARD). Nonetheless, NATO is the main means for keeping European security.
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NATO sicurezza internazionale difesa guerra russia-ucraina Cina Unione Europea geostrategia Charles Michel Jens Stoltenberg