European Union Military Staff and NATO International Military Staff Cooperation towards Complementarity
European Union Military Staff (EUMS) and NATO International Military Staff (IMS) representatives convened last Friday, 05 December 2014, at the EU Military Staff Headquarters in Brussels for their third meeting of 2014. The meeting was co-chaired by the Director Generals (DG) of both organisations. The informal staff-to-staff talks are part of the NATO-EU strategic military dialogue that has been ongoing since 2003.
In their remarks, Air Marshal Sir Christopher Harper (DGIMS) and Lieutenant General Wolfgang Wosolsobe (DGEUMS) stressed the strong desire for enhanced EU – NATO cooperation aimed at IMS-EUMS complementarity in order to ensure coherence, mutual reinforcement and non-duplication of effort. This was emphasised in the conclusions of the European Council 2013 and at the recent NATO Summit in Wales. Regarding the NATO Summit declaration, Air Marshal Harper pointed out the emphasis of the EU therein; this highlighted NATO and the EU’s important partnership. Both sides agreed on the solid basis that has developed during their June 2014 conference and the positive opportunities on both sides for enhanced mutual cooperation. The conference was used to explore potential for further interaction.
Wrapping up the discussions, Lieutenant General Wosolsobe stated that "the conference served as an ideal opportunity for sharpening both staff's views on where to move from a military point of view in order to live up to the expectations of the highest institutional levels on both sides regarding EU – NATO engagement." He referred to the discussed topics as "triggers of overlapping interests." Air Marshal Harper agreed and concluded by stating that "opportunities for future cooperation, the risks for both NATO and EU of not doing so, need to be carefully analysed and understood."