NATO IMS hosts informal military talks and scenario-based discussion with the European Union Military Staff

  • 12 May. 2016 - 14 May. 2016
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  • Last updated: 13 May. 2016 16:01

The Directors General of the NATO International Military Staff (IMS) and the European Union Military Staff (EUMS) convened on 12-13 May 2016 at NATO Headquarters for the informal EU-NATO Directors General Conference. Air Marshal Sir Christopher Harper, Director General of the NATO IMS (DGIMS) co-chaired the meeting with his EU counterpart, Lieutenant General Wolfgang Wosolsobe, Director General of the EUMS (DGEUMS).

The purpose of the Conference was to enhance the staff-to-staff interaction between IMS and EUMS on topics of current relevance and common interest related to security and defence.  The Conference was also an opportunity to take stock of recent efforts and chart a way forward for further practical co-operation. The main topics of discussion were crisis prevention and response, cyber defence, current situation on Europe’s Southern Flank and potential cooperation opportunities between the two organisations’ maritime operations.

In his opening remarks, Air Marshal Sir Christopher Harper highlighted the unique and essential partnership between NATO and EU. “Our relationship has never been as important as now, in the face of a complex and challenging security environment. Our informal talks which contribute to enhancing further our unity of purpose and promote common understanding between our two organisations in support of our mutual goals of peace and security in the Euro-Atlantic region.”

In addition to the half-day plenary sessions, EUMS and IMS co-organized the first-ever NATO-EU Scenario Based Informal Discussion. Lieutenant General Wolfgang Wosolsobe remarked on the added value of the discussion, stating that “the broad set of participants is a testimony of the will to take cooperation further. This is especially useful in the current security context which necessitates rapid decision making on both the EU and NATO side. Our discussions will lead to a compendium of lessons on what the organisations can already do together and what more could be achieved through mutual co-operation”.

A set of videos and a team of facilitators from IMS and EUMS guided participants in discussing a scenario that dealt with fictitious threats emanating from the South. Interventions around the table were lively and constructive, with overall agreement on the utility of such meetings.