Why partners matter: four
where the experts come to talk

Why partners matter: four foreign ministers explain

What are partners? And why are they important? NATO Review asked four foreign ministers past and present to explain why partners have a key role in security, where they can help and what the partners get out of their involvement.

Why partners matter:

four foreign ministers explain

What are partners?

Well, all of the operations you can

see here are NATO operations,

but none of the people you see here

are from NATO countries.

They’re from partner countries.

And these countries are

becoming increasingly important.

To find out why, I caught up

with four foreign ministers,

past and present, old and young,

and from partner and NATO countries,

to see why partners

are becoming so key.

Partnerships have

become more important.

Do you see this as a lasting trend?

I’ve been from the beginning

as Foreign Minister of Italy

a strong supporter of partnerships.

I think they represent an added value,

exactly because there are

many, many regions in the world

where NATO cannot be

as the global cop

intervening always and everywhere.

We have to rely on reliable partners.

How important do you feel the use

of partnerships is to operations?

They are very important.

They are very important for

many reasons, one them is practical.

That means the more partners

we have, the stronger we are.

The second one,

even more important, is political.

That means that our vision

of the world or our mission

is understood and supported

by non-members of NATO and the EU.

So, that makes our message stronger

and our impact stronger.

If we don’t help,

if we don’t enable these partners

to become strong partners,

capable to contribute

to our common security purposes,

we fail a very important political goal.

In the Mediterranean, in Africa,

in what we used to call the broader

Middle East... there are partners.

More partners

means spreading costs.

So, how much has

the financial crisis played a role

in making partners more important?

Do you think it’s not just a choice,

but actually a necessity

because there’s

a lack of money in the EU?

It is a necessity,

but not because of money.

We will always

find the money we need,

but it’s a necessity

to show that we are not isolated

in our understanding

of things around us.

There’s not much money in Europe.

How can Europe defend itself better?

I will tell you something.

Still there’s quite a lot

of money around in Europe.

It’s a question of will.

The real question is:

Are we ready to give more money

to our own defence and security?

With partner countries

having such heavy involvement,

is being a NATO partner

just like being a NATO member?

In practical terms, yes.

In political terms, no.

Because in political terms,

the fact that you are part

of this currently 28 members club is

very important to everybody who is

perceiving the country from outside.

They treat you as a NATO member

state or a non-NATO member state.

Especially important

for the South-East-European context.

Therefore,

I would not underestimate

the importance of this formal bit.

And what does this mean

for the potentially biggest

of the partnerships,

between NATO and the EU?

We must not ignore the fact

that there is no real formal

framework for NATO and the EU

to work and cooperate together,

to share information,

which is not normal.

Both NATO and the EU are based

on the same values and principles

and the membership

is largely identical.

Nonetheless,

because of bilateral problems

we are wasting huge potential.

Why partners matter:

four foreign ministers explain

What are partners?

Well, all of the operations you can

see here are NATO operations,

but none of the people you see here

are from NATO countries.

They’re from partner countries.

And these countries are

becoming increasingly important.

To find out why, I caught up

with four foreign ministers,

past and present, old and young,

and from partner and NATO countries,

to see why partners

are becoming so key.

Partnerships have

become more important.

Do you see this as a lasting trend?

I’ve been from the beginning

as Foreign Minister of Italy

a strong supporter of partnerships.

I think they represent an added value,

exactly because there are

many, many regions in the world

where NATO cannot be

as the global cop

intervening always and everywhere.

We have to rely on reliable partners.

How important do you feel the use

of partnerships is to operations?

They are very important.

They are very important for

many reasons, one them is practical.

That means the more partners

we have, the stronger we are.

The second one,

even more important, is political.

That means that our vision

of the world or our mission

is understood and supported

by non-members of NATO and the EU.

So, that makes our message stronger

and our impact stronger.

If we don’t help,

if we don’t enable these partners

to become strong partners,

capable to contribute

to our common security purposes,

we fail a very important political goal.

In the Mediterranean, in Africa,

in what we used to call the broader

Middle East... there are partners.

More partners

means spreading costs.

So, how much has

the financial crisis played a role

in making partners more important?

Do you think it’s not just a choice,

but actually a necessity

because there’s

a lack of money in the EU?

It is a necessity,

but not because of money.

We will always

find the money we need,

but it’s a necessity

to show that we are not isolated

in our understanding

of things around us.

There’s not much money in Europe.

How can Europe defend itself better?

I will tell you something.

Still there’s quite a lot

of money around in Europe.

It’s a question of will.

The real question is:

Are we ready to give more money

to our own defence and security?

With partner countries

having such heavy involvement,

is being a NATO partner

just like being a NATO member?

In practical terms, yes.

In political terms, no.

Because in political terms,

the fact that you are part

of this currently 28 members club is

very important to everybody who is

perceiving the country from outside.

They treat you as a NATO member

state or a non-NATO member state.

Especially important

for the South-East-European context.

Therefore,

I would not underestimate

the importance of this formal bit.

And what does this mean

for the potentially biggest

of the partnerships,

between NATO and the EU?

We must not ignore the fact

that there is no real formal

framework for NATO and the EU

to work and cooperate together,

to share information,

which is not normal.

Both NATO and the EU are based

on the same values and principles

and the membership

is largely identical.

Nonetheless,

because of bilateral problems

we are wasting huge potential.

quotes
Queen Elizabeth II
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