In the light of a possible Brexit, how do you envisage the future development of the NATO-EU relationship?
Cooperation between NATO and the European Union has become even more important in the wake of the UK referendum. Unity and cooperation are essential to deliver the defence capabilities we need. Our security is interconnected, and today we face security challenges of a magnitude and complexity much greater than only a few years ago. Neither NATO nor the EU are entirely equipped with the tools to tackle these challenges, but together we have the full tool-kit. Our partnership will continue to grow. By working together, we make the most efficient use of our resources.
While it will take time for the consequences of ‘Brexit’ to become clear, the importance of a strong European Union has not changed. NATO provides a platform for transatlantic cooperation and I welcome more cooperation within Europe. The United Kingdom will continue to play an essential role in NATO – and hence in Euro-Atlantic security.
The EU Global Strategy calls for EU defence cooperation to become ‘the norm’. How can NATO support the EU in the enhancement of defence cooperation in Europe?
I welcome the EU Global Strategy. It highlights the importance of a strong European Union and cooperation between the EU and NATO. For decades, NATO has provided a framework and standards for strengthening defence cooperation, ensuring that Allied forces can work together seamlessly. This also helps strengthen the capacities of those Allies who are members of the European Union. I also want to underline that increased defence spending is important for European Allies because without more investments in our security, we will not be able to deliver the capabilities we need in the long-run.
The Warsaw NATO Summit 2016, will it be remembered as the moment when EU-NATO relations and cooperation entered a new era?
Yes. At Warsaw, we took NATO-EU cooperation to a new level. The Joint Declaration we signed will give new impetus and substance to the NATO-EU partnership. It sets out concrete areas for cooperation and outlines measures for implementation. This will enable us to work closer together than ever before.
We will boost our ability to counter hybrid threats, including through timely information sharing, and cooperation on civil preparedness, cyber defence, and strategic communications. Our respective Playbooks on hybrid threats will identify how we interact with each other if our nations come under attack.
To project stability, we both agreed to do more to foster the resilience of our partners, including by strengthening maritime capacity. To strengthen our own defence capabilities, we will expand our coordination on cyber defence, and train our cooperation through linked exercises.
We will also expand our cooperation in the Mediterranean Sea, which will make us more effective in tackling illegal migration, terrorism and other challenges. We agreed, in principle, on a possible NATO role in the Central Mediterranean, to complement or support the EU’s Operation Sophia.
At Warsaw, I also shared with the President of the European Commission NATO’s baseline requirements for national resilience on issues such as energy security, food and water supplies and continuity of government, to enable better coordination.
So at Warsaw, we set out clear ambitions for the future of our relationship with the European Union. The Summit should indeed be remembered as the moment when we took our cooperation to a new level.