''Defence Cooperation in the EU and NATO: More European, More Connected, More Capable?'' at 2018 Munich Security Conference with participation of NATO Deputy Secretary General Rose Gottemoeller
MODERATOR: Good evening. Please grab seats. Wonderful to see everybody here. We're going to have a panel tonight to talk a bit about NATO and the European Union and I hope, as always, that this will be a panel that can move across the political, the diplomatic, the military, and we certainly are well positioned to do that with this particular group of panellists. At my extreme right, my very good friend, Ambassador Rose Gottemoeller, known to I suspect everybody here as the Deputy Secretary General of NATO, former Arm Control Specialist, Ambassador to the United States in an earlier incarnation. Welcome, Rose. We then have two Ministers of Defence. Not one, but two. Frank Bakke-Jensen, Minister of Defence of Norway, and my friend from NATO days, Jüri Luik, Minister of Defence of Estonia. I think these are excellent suggestions for ministers to put on this panel, given the geopolitical positioning of these two nations and how they interrelate, both in the EU, not EU, etc. And then, to represent the European Union, if I may, we have the Chief Executive of the European Defence Agency, Jorge Domecq, of Spain. Great to have you here as well, Mr Director. And on my immediate right, if I may say so, a great friend of mine. Someone who was a mentor to me in my days as a uniformed officer, Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, of the United States, one of the leading defence experts and, of course, a leading voice in Washington on all defence issues and on the Senate Armed Services Committee. So, we put together a terrific panel tonight and the format will be as follows; I'll ask each of our interlocutors to say a word or two, kind of in the five minute range, about their views on NATO, European Union, are there challenges and opportunities here, as well as the defence environment that we see today. After each of them speaks for five minutes or so, I'll ask a couple of questions to kind of kick start the conversation and then we'll, as always, as our founder, and as Wolfgang Ischinger loves to prod us toward, this becomes a conversation for this room of real experts. We are all peers together in this conversation. With that, let me ask the Deputy Secretary General, Ambassador Gottemoeller, to lead off. Rose.
ROSE GOTTEMOELLER [NATO Deputy Secretary General]: Thank you very much, Jim, and I think you’ve got a great title for this panel, to follow up on what we've just heard this afternoon, including from Secretary General Stoltenberg just a few moments ago. So, I'd like to pick up on the name of the panel and riff on it a little bit, if I may. It is EU and NATO Defence Cooperation; European, Capable, Connected? With a question mark at the end. I'm going to answer that question yes, so I'll give you that right up front. But I want to say a few words about why. First of all, European and capable; this is not the first time this week I appeared on the podium with my colleague, the Minister of Defence of Norway, and also with Jorge Domecq, who is the Head of the European Defence Agency. In Brussels this week, we had a signing ceremony during the Defence Ministerial for the new multirole tanker and transport aircraft. This is a big deal because it brings together already, and this is the point I wanted to stress, it already brings together NATO and the EU, bending metal, putting together new defence capabilities. And so people ask, you know, can this happen? Can you do this? Can you cooperate? The answer is yes, we are already doing it. And it's not only Norway that’s a partner in this, we just welcomed Belgium this week, and there are three other NATO countries involved as well. So, I wanted to say, the first two parts of the question are already answered, European and capable, the answer is yes and we’re already out there bending metal. So, I think that’s an important thing. Next point I wanted to turn to, and talking to my old friend Jüri Luik, is to say connected, connected yes, and that’s thanks to Estonia who, from the very beginning, in our tussle with what to do about the new world of cyberwar and cyber conflict, has helped us to understand just how serious it can be, with the attack they took on a national basis in 2007. And since, they have helped us, through the Centre of Excellence in Tallinn, to really figure out this problem and to really press ahead and to make things happen inside NATO. So, connected, yes. And then the last thing I wanted to say has to do with one I wanted to add, and that is transatlantic. Again, Jens Stoltenberg talked about that a lot in the last session, but we feel that there is a strong inherent bond that has been questioned over time, but really shouldn’t be questioned over time, because it is always reinstating and reproving itself, and I wanted to say thank you to Senator Lindsey Graham, because last June he put together a very strong resolution in the US Congress, that was passed unanimously, backing up support for the NATO Alliance on a transatlantic basis. So, I like the title of this panel very, very much, but I would add not only capable, European and connected, but you’ve got to have the transatlantic in there too. So, Jim, I'll leave it at that.
MODERATOR: Perfect. Thank you very much. Mr Minister.
FRANK BAKKE-JENSEN: Thank you. And thank you for the invitation and thank you for the possibility to discuss this topic here in Munich. I am raised in born in Norway, Finnmark, 70º North, 100 kilometres from the Russia border. When I was 25 years old, served in the army. The Soviet Union was something dark, dangerous, unknown, behind the border. I have a daughter who is 30 years younger than me. For her now, Russia is the most exciting neighbour country. She knows… she has students her age, with people, with parents from Russia. She sees it differently. The difference between me and Hanna, is that Hanna, from she was born, knew that on both sides of a border there lives people like us. I needed to learn that when I was grown up, grew up. And this learning, Hanna could thank two great institutions for, for the development in Europe, it's EU and it's NATO. Because we know, without these two institutions, we wouldn’t have this development. So, when the answer is today, could we cooperate… when the question is could we cooperate, the answer is yes, we need to. Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland and Iceland, are the five Nordic countries. We have, for decades, cooperated. We have Denmark, which is a member both of NATO and EU. We have Sweden and Finland, which is a member of EU, but have not had the possibility to go into the Alliance, of historical reasons and geographical reasons, and cultural reasons. Then we have Norway and Iceland, which is [part] members of NATO. Despite this, we have been able to create one of the best regional cooperation system and one of the most integrated regions in the world, in the Nordic. And I think we could get some examples from that cooperation also, when we are discussing EU and NATO, because the Nordic countries is better when we cooperate with the Baltic countries. The Nordic, the NORDEFCO is even better in the Northern Group context. And we are really good when we can commit in the EU-NATO context. So, cooperating [the things] is one thing, I think we will see in Europe, and in the NATO-EU context, a lot of this form of cooperation. We’re building good models. This is a way for some other countries to participate. And the crises we will see in the future are different from the crises we had in the past, because it will… the border between a civil crisis and a military crisis will be blurred. We will have problems with telling when does it start, where will it end. We need to build defence forces, but we will also need to build more diplomacy, more economic aids and more communication technologies, be good at that. So, I think the next step we had to take, in Europe and in the Western world, is to cooperate as good as possible between EU and NATO. It won't be easy, but we need to be clear on what's the role of NATO and what's the role of EU. And then, in some part of the future, we need to accept that, whether you're a member of both organisations, or only one, you need to participate equally to create peace. I think that’s the main goal we need to accept. Thank you.
MODERATOR: OK. Thank you, Frank. Mr Minister.
JÜRI LUIK: Thank you, Jim. And thank you for inviting me to this conference and to this very important panel. Now, Estonia had the EU Presidency until December last year, and during our presidency, some of the key component of the new European Defence Architecture were created, like PESCO or like the European Defence Fund. But, to be honest, we would have never worked with those projects if we would have believed that they would, in any way, step over NATO or kind of copy what NATO is doing. I think the debate, if there ever was debate about what NATO's role is, ended completely with Georgia, with Crimea, with Ukraine. I think it is crystal clear to everybody that NATO and the transatlantic Alliance is the crucial deterrent which keeps Europe safe. And I'm personally very grateful to the US for their continued commitment to the security of Europe, and obviously we are there to help and support you wherever we can. Now, I think we have found a way forward with the EU defence, which would, and this is certainly my preference, which would focus on the strong parts of EU. Because remember, EU is not a military organisation. It's a civilian organisation. So, I think EU is most capable to help in the issues where civil and military meld together. And let me mention a couple of them where I think our cooperation has a lot of perspective; First, military mobility. It's not a secret for those who work with these issues, but to move an echelon of heavy equipment from Germany to Estonia is an arduous task. There are practically, logistically… we can simplify that using the tools which EU has in its hand. I'm a bit worried because we have now gone into sort of… we have asked EU to do that, but in some ways we have also opened the door to a very kind of detailed, complicated approach to it. I hope that we could very quickly achieve some of the first results when it comes to military mobility. For instance, let's agree that all countries will give a pass, or a right to cross their territory, within five days. Now some countries have the limit of 40 days. In five days of less. Or let's agree that the document which one has to fulfil is standardised, similar to all countries, etc., etc. There are some things which can be done very, very quickly. Second, cyber. Again, there are civilian aspects to it, there are military aspects to it. That’s why EU and NATO can work together on this field so well. I would advertise here NATO's Centre of Excellent on Cyber Defence in Tallinn, because this is a body which doesn’t belong neither to EU nor NATO, but to its founders. So, all the political difficulties, which we all know are in the EU-NATO relationship, are not important there. We can use this as a platform. Why don’t we have a joint crisis response manual for cyber incidents between EU and NATO? Let's try to use the Tallinn centre to work it out. And finally, exercises. Estonia organised a cyber defence exercise for Defence Ministers. The result of that exercise fed to the NATO CMX exercise. We can do a NATO CMX exercise, which feds into EU exercises. If we cannot do it jointly, let's do them one after another, let's be creative and let's try to create this common space where we can solve real life problems. Thank you.
MODERATOR: Thank you, Mr Minister. Director, please.
JORGE DOMECQ: Thank you. Well, I would start off by saying I have the privilege to have worked on both sides of town, and I think to talk about the debate which has been in the newspapers these days, about competition between NATO and EU, is something of the past. And I went back to the [inaudible] text and I went back to the strategic concept of NATO in 1991, the first one after the end of the Cold War, and the language on a stronger European defence is very strong in that strategic concept. And if I go to the strategic concept of 2010, there, there is a sentence that says the EU is a strategic and unique partner for NATO, and there is a welcoming of the Treaty of Lisbon. And Treaty of Lisbon means PESCO. So, we should really realise that we are trying to recast what has been agreed by our member states. Now, perceptions is another thing. I think, at present, there is a need to move on defence at European level because, as we all know, three quarters of the EU citizens want the EU to do more in security and defence. It is a need, from an industrial point of view, we cannot continue with the fragmentation of military requirements and we need to harmonise them. We see that the EU industry of defence has been diminishing over time, and capabilities without the defence industries to sustain them is not a complete capability. You're always a [lame] capability. But not only that, there is a call, and we see it in the US strategy, starting in 2015, asking the Europeans to provide for their own security. So, I think PESCO is a big step, an important step, and a welcome step, for both EU and for NATO. The important thing is not that it brings in new ideas, but it needs to help us to get out old ideas. And, with PESCO, the important thing is that we have to stop planning in purely national terms, and start planning in a coherent manner in Europe, so that we can have a… an interoperable, capable, deployment group of forces. And now I come to the issue of… many times we discuss about the burden sharing debate. I think that… I'm not going to go into the issue of the investment percentage, but I think we should put more accent into other aspects also. We should be thinking of maintaining a shared vision, which is as important as a level of investment. And secondly, we need to move from a partnership which is only operational and doctrinal, into a partnership that includes technological and industrial matters. And this I have been saying for some time. I see now that there is concern that PESCO brings about industrial issues also, but PESCO can be developed in a way which is compatible with not being protectionist. The same as I have been saying in the last years, that it's very important that both sides of the Atlantic remain interoperable, and I have serious concerns with the big effort of the Third Offset Strategy, which last year devoted more than $70billion to technologies in the new domains, which might create a technological gap with us. And we have to be, as Europeans, ready to participate in this effort also, and I have made that point many times. So, burden sharing OK, but let's accompany it with a shared vision and a shared partnership in industrial and technological aspects. And then to come to the issue of detracting capabilities from what NATO needs. Well, I would only point out that in the European Defence Agency, working very closely with NATO, with all members states, we have been working on a very sensitive issue which the Minister mentioned before, which is military mobility. NATO had been working on it for a few years. It's essential for common defence, but it's essential for our day to day life, for exercises, and what we have done is come up with a roadmap, where we have actors, shortfalls and timelines, and now it will be up to the responsibility of member states to that this forward, be it in the NATO forum or in EU. So, we are working hand in hand in NATO, and it's a PESCO project also. So, I don’t see how it does not match. The important thing is that all these initiatives have to be capability driven and that we ensure the coherence for those member states which are also in NATO, that they are not contradictory to what they are doing for NATO. So… and then finally, and I'm very happy to be on the same panel as the Norwegian Minister, the role that Norway has in the agency today is among the seven more active countries in the agency, so well above the majority of member states. So, I do not see any obstacle to a very close involvement in the activities we are carrying forward, and I hope that that will be the case. And we are doing that in many other domains, in Single European Skies and many others. So, that… I will leave it there.
MODERATOR: Gracias Jorge. Senator.
LINDSEY GRAHAM: Well thank you for… thank you for having me. I'm usually John McCain's sidekick, wingman, and John can't be here, and I've had so many people pass along their prayers and best wishes for Senator McCain, and I want to thank you on behalf of the McCain Family, and we all miss him dearly. Jim, thanks for having me.
LINDSEY GRAHAM: So, I'm one of 535 members of Congress and I can give you my view, I think it's shared by some anyway. Anything that can push back against this wave of nationalism throughout the world, I am for. Anything that makes Europe more engaged and integrated with NATO, I am for. I've always been reluctant to support a European Defence Force because I think it would take away from NATO. I don’t believe that anymore. I believe that some of the things that you’ve laid out, in terms of commonality and logistics and how the European Union, on the civilian side, could actually help the military capability in NATO, makes sense to me, particularly in the cyber area, where there has got to be an integration of the military/civilian response. But the main thing for me is I am appreciative of any effort that would make our European Allies think as a group. Every country is proud of itself, every state in America is proud of itself, but we're better together. And so, if this initiative can create a more coherent voice, a better deal with the common threats we face; our friends in Russia are challenging all democracies in the European Union and the United States and throughout the world, if we can coordinate our response on the cyber side better, speak with one voice with the Russians more effectively, from an American perspective, the more you can contribute to NATO, the easier it is for me to talk to President Trump. And I have been to Afghanistan and Iraq 42 times. I have seen NATO soldiers bleed for a war that started with an attack on America. I'll never forget that day when Article 5 was invoked on our behalf, so I am a big fan of NATO. I've always been wary of a European defence initiative, until now. I think it actually may be the antidote to this nationalist fever, where we [begin] to think about our commonality and our threats, but how we deal with the threats and make NATO more effective. I don’t think it takes away at all. But here's the question I have; our friends in Britain feel like the European Union is not a good economic deal for them, but they feel like NATO is, and I'm hoping that maybe they will see a value to the European Defence Initiative, that might get British friends back more integrated. So, the idea that Britain sees the European Union as a bad economic deal, but NATO being a good deal for the British, maybe this can be a bridge and maybe it can slow down some of the other countries who are thinking that the European Union is no longer a good deal for them. From my point of view, as an American who believes that democracies are under attack, the more alliances the better between democratic countries, the more integration of capabilities the better. I am glad to be with you.
MODERATOR: Well said, Sir. Yeah, I'll applaud that. Let me just make one quick observation and kind of throw out a couple of questions and then again, we'll open it up to a conference hall wide conversation. The comment I want to make, just kind of picking up on something Senator Graham said, is that… is the SACEUR for four years, and I see the current SACEUR here, Mike Scaparrotti, great to see you, Sir. I know he'd agree with this. We have seen NATO and the EU work alongside each other. We've seen them do that at sea, in counterpiracy operations. We've seen them in Afghanistan. We've seen them in the Balkans. So, we do have a kind of a model that we can use to make this work, operationally. I want to stipulate that and also echo Senator Graham's comments, and I see so many uniformed Admirals and Generals here, about the bravery of our European colleagues, troops and fellow soldiers and sailors and airmen. That’s why this will work, operationally. My countervailing comment, or my cautionary note, Jorge, would be simply, yes we're connected, yes we're capable, yes we operate together well, but I think we want to ensure we don’t duplicate, and that I think is crucial, because we are in an era of limited resources and so, as I look at a new command structure to park alongside an existing NATO command structure, I'd want to be careful, as that kind of idea matures. So, those would be a couple of operators thoughts to throw out to the panel. If I may, Ambassador Gottemoeller, let me first invite you to respond to anything you’ve heard, and then secondly, could you say where, given your expertise in arms control, about how did nuclear weapons fit into this? Is the EU going to take its nuclear side back, the [inaudible] and UK Tridents, or will that remain under General Scaparrotti? How do you think that will play in this?
ROSE GOTTEMOELLER [NATO Deputy Secretary General]: Well, I'll begin with the line from the Warsaw Summit Statement, and that is related to "As long as nuclear weapons exist, NATO will be a nuclear Alliance" and again, Jens mentioned that in his remarks a while ago. So, but that means we have well honed ways for dealing with nuclear weapons. In the Alliance, we have obviously dual capable aircraft, we have… we have now the B61 warhead that is going through its life extension programme, so we see the future with regard to our dual capable non strategic missions in Europe. And that is an area where the Allies are working very hard now to think about the future in that regard. What does it mean? How are Allies going to be working together in the future on that particular set of missions? In addition to which, of course, we have the strategic nuclear forces that are in the hands of the United States, the UK and France, and they play their own particular role. Quite honestly, going forward I don’t see major changes in how we think about nuclear weapons in the Alliance, be they strategic nuclear weapons or non strategic tactical nuclear weapons. But what I would emphasise is the focus now in the Alliance is raising, as we say raising our nuclear IQ, because for many years nuclear weapons were more or less on the backburner and the Allies didn’t have to think about them, grapple with them. But frankly, in the way we see some of the exercise activity recently of the Russian Federation, there's been quite a bit of concern internationally, but there's been concern inside the NATO Alliance and really it's… I think it's gotten Allies to really understand and embrace the fact that the nuclear IQ within the Alliance has to be raised. That means thinking about how we train and exercise, thinking about how we discuss nuclear weapons at the NAC table, these are all issues that I think are very, very important. But I do want to emphasise the flipside of the message that NATO is a nuclear Alliance. It also means that NATO stands for continued emphasis on arms reduction, arms control, non-proliferation, and that I'd like to stress that reductions in nuclear weapons are not at all contradicting the fact that you can have, and you should have, a strong nuclear deterrent as other aspects of your deterrent need to be strong.
MODERATOR: Thank you, Ambassador. Let me just now open it up for the panellists, if they want to respond to anything they’ve heard from other panellists in initial commentary. And if not, we'll open it up. Let me just take a moment. Everybody ready to go with the audience? Here we go. So, the first question, by tradition, is asked by one of the young leaders, young Munich leaders, who may or may not be moving to a microphone.
QUESTION [Johnny Mercer, MP]: Yeah, I am. Yeah.
QUESTION [Johnny Mercer, MP]: Hi. Johnny Mercer, I'm a Member of Parliament in the United Kingdom. And yes, we have voted to leave the European Union, but we’re not leaving Europe. Europe's security is the United Kingdom's security and our Prime Minister has, time and again, reiterated her commitment and our commitment to the unequivocal defence of Europe. But there is obviously some scepticism and concern around the formation of a European defence. How are we going to make sure, and is the panel confident that there are not structures being put in place that would prohibit or make it harder for a third party to join in with that European Union defence? And secondly, look, the reality of this is that, at the moment, the vast majority… and we heard it earlier from the Head of NATO, the vast majority of European nations do not commit anywhere near 2% of GDP to NATO. So, how can we really expect them to contribute effectively to a second alliance and how are we going to work hard to make sure none of that duplication takes place?
MODERATOR: So, how do we avoid duplication and how are we doing on 2%? So, let me just go back this way, if I can, and ask Senator Graham to take a swing at those two pitches.
LINDSEY GRAHAM: Well, it's the same wallet. You know, no matter what you call it, it comes out of the same wallet in each country. And the idea of duplication is a concern. A lot of countries are getting toward 2%, some are not there yet, and we hope they will, which makes it easy for a guy like me, in the United States, to say NATO's a good deal, because I really, really believe in it. But let me throw out an idea, and I just talked to General Mattis a few minutes ago, transnational terrorism is a threat that we all face. As ISIL is diminished on the battlefield, the ones that we don’t kill are moving around everywhere. And we're capturing them. We have about 500 and it could well be… end up in thousands pretty quickly. The Syrian Democratic Forces are holding. They're not a nation state. There are a lot of ISIL members from Europe and all over the world, and we’re trying to figure out what to do with these people. So, maybe the European Defence Initiative could come up with a confinement facility or some idea of how, at least to the European component of this, you could create a facility to deal with a bunch of killers that, if somebody doesn’t deal with pretty soon, they're going to get out. And transnational terrorism, the best way to defeat it is through intelligence gathering. Most of the intelligence gathering is done by civilian organisations, so it would be nice if you could have a civilian military component to the European Union that could share intelligence with the [inaudible] in NATO, get your law enforcement officials in the EU working with military elements that could integrate NATO and the people who are in the path of terrorism… do you see where I'm headed? I could just see unlimited application of how a European Union defence component could integrate civilian law enforcement to gather intelligence, to deal with an enemy that’s on the move. We have literally 500, soon to be well over 1,000 prisoners in the hands of the Syrian Democratic Forces, who are not a nation state. And the United States will take some, but we’re not going to take all. So, somebody needs to figure out what to do with these people, and most of them come from Europe. I didn’t answer your question, but that’s OK, I'm in Congress. I don’t have to answer.
MODERATOR: Jorge, you want to pick up on Senator's Graham's very interesting initiative? I can see some antibodies emerging already, but the practicality of it is profound. Or do you want to go to the 2%?
JORGE DOMECQ: I will go, because it's more in my domain, this goes way beyond my purview. But, if you allow me to come back to the issue of duplication in general, I would, if you allow me, and it's a big lack of prudence towards the previous Supreme Allied Commander, to say that unnecessary duplication, because the military always like duplication where it's necessary. So, we should not be overkilling on that. Now, outside the agency, and I understand you were referring to having some sort of command structure within the EU, which is not the business of the agency, but I would only ask a question to all the military commanders in this room; at present, the EU missions, the executive missions, report directly to the PSC, to the Permanent Security Committee. Now, if I were a commander, and I did not have a strategic commander and I had to report directly to the North Atlantic Council, you can imagine how difficult that would be to run a mission. So, it is a purely practical issue, and I take it. That doesn’t mean that we are not… we are going to use the NATO command structure when it comes to common defence, that has been very clear. So, I think there is a question in some cases, you need some sort of line of command, that goes from the purely tactical field level to the strategic level, political level. There is a void there. And if you want a strong European defence to do the job it has to do, for example in missions in Africa etc., it has to have to some command element. Now, as far as duplication in general and… I don’t see that today. The majority of capability development programmes, which fill in those roadmaps that were agreed in the critical shortfalls, in Wales four years ago, I see the word, or the flag EDA on them. So, they have been done in the EU context. And one of them, Norway is participating, is the multinational air to air refuelling fleet, which was born in EDA, has… and will end up in the NSPA Agency of agent… of NATO. So, the same as we are doing that, we are doing it in other domains, in countering improvising explosive devices. In many other aspects which are of the common benefit. So, we are not detracting… as I was saying. And then finally, for the UK and not setting up structures that will not allow the UK to continue to contribute to the EU and to a strong European security and defence identity, at least with the Agency I think, with the example I gave before of Norway, there is a long way to go, within the existing channels. Now, what will happen, that will depend on the negotiation, which is a wider issue.
MODERATOR: Indeed. Thank you. Mr Minister.
JÜRI LUIK: Thank you. First, I'll tackle the Brexit issue. I think it's extremely important to keep in mind, as the British government has always reminded us and I think it's absolutely true, that Great Britain, while leaving the European Union, is not leaving Europe. And the situation in Estonia is the best proof to it. There is a British framework battalion, 1,000 men, 150 kilometres from the Russia border, protecting NATO, Estonia, Europe, European values. I think it's a great testament to the fact how involved Great Britain is in our mutual security and defence cooperation. So, I would hope, as a Defence Minister, I don’t want to get bogged into details of Brexit, I know there are people in the room and here in the building who know much, much more about it than I do, but I would like these security and defence issues to be kept somewhat separate from the other aspects of our cooperation. I think it’s natural that in trade there are lot of nuances which can also get acrimonious, let’s not beat around the bush, but I would like to have security relationship negotiated from the basis of joint values. Obviously there are certain legal issues, there are certain financial issues which have to be hammered out, but I think we should look at these issues with a fresh pair of eyes and with a very positive and constructive look, and I think… I really think it’s doable. Now, when it comes to duplication of NATO and EU, has been mentioned several times here, I mean I don’t want to get you into the deep, or depth, of defence planning, and again there are people who know more about it than I do, but the fact is, that the two, the NATO Defence Planning and EU Defence Planning, are not necessarily totally sort of from two different times and from two different ways, because if you do NATO planning in the modern circumstances, you would focus more on what you might call heavy. If you do EU Defence Planning, then looking at what type of operations EU would operate in, you would go more on light, or very light, so there is a theoretical possibility that these two processes will start to interfere with each other. That’s why I think when we say there should be no duplication, the expert should make clear and should guarantee that there is actually no duplication, not only in sort of high political terms, but in actual sort of nuts and bolts terms, because there are certain risks here.
MODERATOR: Thank you. Mr Minister, anything to add there?
FRANK BAKKE-JENSEN: Thank you. Yeah, I was tempted to give the young leader some views on how to be a country outside the European Union, but you will… you will see. I think this is an important question and defence will be one of the arenas where we will have to cooperate well. I think science would be the next, where UK and EU and other countries would have to cooperate, because we can’t… we need the knowledge and we need the knowledge to work together. For the question on duplication, I think we have a national command and then I think, for military Operations we should use the NATO command. That’s it. And I think to engage EU, yes, we could have a broader approach to a different crisis and we got brilliant examples on what EU could participate in. So, I think that’s a… the job we have to do. NATO’s role, EU’s role, but a broad approach to any crisis, and I think that’s the way we could go forward.
MODERATOR: Thank you. And Ambassador, you want to kind of wrap up this question, which we will not duplicate by answering again.
ROSE GOTTOEMOELLER [NATO Deputy Secretary General]: OK, that’s fine. I just want to pick up on Senator Grahams point about NATO and EU cooperation on counterterrorism, it’s actually an area that NATO and the EU are putting already a tremendous amount of emphasis on. We’ve done a lot of work over the last year in setting out a list of priorities, and counterterrorism is front and centre. So, one of the interesting things is… and Senator Graham pointed this interesting… you know, there's this kind of difference in what the responsibilities of the two organisations are. Obviously EU has the inherent link to domestic law enforcement, protection of borders, these types of issues, and for NATO, you know, it’s a somewhat different set of responsibilities, so to say. But how do you bring the two organisations together so that they can serve the priority of the fight against terrorism together? And I think there are some important ways that are already emerging, for example in the sharing… we’re looking at sharing a biometric data for the use of law enforcement and biometric data that has… has emerged from field operations, so I think… I think these are some very practical kinds of projects we are going to be working on in the coming months. And you’ll see, as we run up to the July… well, we have June Ministerial again from the Defence Ministers, but the July Summit, that this whole story about how we can together work counterterrorism will be front and centre.
MODERATOR: Thank you. So, I have a question from the audience, from a member of the Ukrainian Parliament, who says:
“Do you believe Ukraine will ever join NATO or will Russia do everything it can to prevent this?”
I should mention that we will be privileged to have President Poroshenko make a final comment upon conclusion of this panel, but this will set him up very nicely one way or the other.
ROSE GOTTOEMOELLER [NATO Deputy Secretary General]: Well, maybe I’ll start with that one. That’s an obvious one for me I suppose, at least to begin with. But this is the tenth anniversary this year of the Bucharest Summit, at which four countries were essentially put on, we call it a list of countries who are interested in joining NATO and whom NATO would welcome. They included… they included… sorry ... Georgia and Ukraine, as well the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia(1), and also Bosnia and also Herzegovina. So, that’s the tenth anniversary this year. We are, as always, thinking about our open door, NATO has an open door policy. I will note that of all of those four countries, we have four countries who all have an interest in NATO, but one, and that is Ukraine, has not officially stated, as a matter of national policy, that it is seeking a membership action plan, and that is the step you take as a country to begin on the road toward NATO membership.
MODERATOR: Let me open the question up to any of the other panellists. Minister and then Senator.
FRANK BAKKE-JENSEN: I very much believe that Ukraine will be in NATO. Obviously, I can not predict the time, but I have always said to my Ukrainian and Georgian colleagues, that be patient, work for it, be ready, if there is an opportunity you have to use it, I mean you have to be ready to use it. Take for instance the Baltic states, it wasn’t a given that the Baltic states will be members of NATO. I mean, at some point it would have sounded absurd, even in a scientific conference. What happened was, for a miniscule… for a miniscule year, President Bush and President Putin were almost buddies, I mean they looked at each other so… you remember the story. The important thing here is that when we joined, Present Putin said only one thing, he said “well we don’t like it, but we certainly won’t start a war for it… against it”. So, times are very different, obviously. And the other point was that we had President Bush as a figure in US politics, who was so focused on values that when he was presented with the option of taking the Baltic states, he, based on his own views and values, had no problem in saying “yeah, let’s take them”. So, this was a moment, this was a window, and if you are ready, this window will open itself. I understand than the Ukrainian and Georgian situation at the moment is very different because of the military aggression. But as a general point, you should never lose hope.
LINDSEY GRAHAM: Yeah, I know, this is a difficult question, but I’d just like to reinforce what you’re saying. To our friends in the Ukraine, I want it to be your decision, not Russia’s decision. To our friends in Georgia, I want it to be your decision and not the United States’ decision. And to Russia, you may feel a bit under siege here, but you’ve got to ask yourself, how does this boogie end? The Ukrainians gave up a nuclear weapon arsenal, with the understanding that if I do this, I’m good to go, and we signed up and everybody else did, and our friends in Russia stepped all over that. So, the rule of law means nothing to the Russians. Now, does it mean anything to us? So, I’d like to have a better relationship with Russia, but it's very difficult right now. Yesterday, in my country, the entire Intelligence community, the Trump people, said Russia is interfering in our election for 2018. So, I used to worry a lot about antagonising Russia, I don’t worry about that anymore. You’re going to get what you deserve, if you keep this up. So, to our friends in Ukraine and Georgia and everywhere else, be patient. Hopefully the rest of us will get a little bit of a backbone and push back against aggression that I think is just simply unwarranted.
MODERATOR: And now we’ll up it up to the audience for further questions. We have some microphones available. Sir?
KARL KAYSER [Harvard University]: I have a question to Rose Gottemoeller. During the Cold War, there were various agreements on conventional forces between East and West, [inaudible] conventional forces between… My question to you is, is there any chance to go back to that effort, to deal with some of the problems that we have now?
ROSE GOTTEMOELLER [NATO Deputy Secretary General]: Well I think we already have some raw material well in place and there are treaties in the conventional realm that continue to operate. Of course, the Russians walked away from implementing the Conventional Forces in Europe Treaty in 2007 and so that is an issue, but the superstructure of the Conventional Forces in Europe Treaty is still in place, it still provides for security in places like the South Caucasus that have been of concern between Armenia and Azerbaijan, for example they are conducting inspections on each other’s territories, so it continues to play a security role. Not the security role that it could play if it were being fully implemented. Now, there are other mechanisms in place. There is the Open Skies Treaty, also provided for transparency, and finally the Vienna Document, which is a whole realm of transparency and confidence building measures, again, I have concern, NATO has concerns, and I think many countries who are… have signed up to the Vienna Document are concerned that the Russians are not fully implementing it. It is a political commitment, not a legally binding treaty, but the point I want to make is we have the superstructure still in place; the raw material is still in place to have conventional confidence building and transparency in Europe, as well as maintenance of certain levels. But I do want to say here that the Conventional Forces in Europe Treaty, we have long ago, you know, basically dispelled those limitations with the end of the Warsaw Pact and what has happened in the years since. So, I think it is worthwhile to think about the future of conventional arms control in Europe, there is a structured dialogue that the… actually the German Ministry of Foreign of Affairs has been organising, it’s carried out under the umbrella of the OFCE. I would just caution us all though to think about what we have available right now that we should be making better use of, and we should be concerned about making better use of and we have to bear in mind that we need also to raise confidence in the process itself. If there’s been years and years going on where these regimes have not been properly implemented, where there have been compliance problems and concerns, and in some cases violations, you know, is it the right moment to engage in further discussion of this matter? I do welcome the structured dialogue though, because it is helping us think together about what the threats are out there, it’s helping us talk together about doctrine and strategy and the differences, and what kinds of perhaps problems may ensue from that lack of understanding. Very valuable to have that structured dialogue going on, but I think we must also bear in mind that whatever we do in the future on conventional arms must be built on this solid baseline that we already have available, and must also bear in mind that we really need to be confident in what’s going to happen, both at the negotiating table and afterwards in the implementation process. If we are afraid that implementation would not take place, why even bother?
JÜRI LUIK: Can I very quickly…
MODERATOR: Of course.
JÜRI LUIK: I have a feeling that we sometimes misread Russians when it comes to arms control, especially at the present time. We are all used to think that arms control is a good thing, and when we go to Moscow with an arms control proposal it's a good thing, we are doing something positive. I have a feeling that, from the Russian point of view, Russia which is very interested in propping up its defence structure quickly and forcefully, and in big volumes, they see it more as a trick. You know, we bring them a piece of paper and try with this paper to limit their right to rebuild their armed forces. So, what we see as a positive move, they would often see as a negative move. At least, that’s my understanding of the situation.
MODERATOR: Others. While we're waiting, I'd like to ask a geographic question to the panel, and it's about the Arctic, in the High North. And Mr Minister, I'll start with you, if I may. If we look at the Arctic and the nations that surround the Arctic Sea, it's United States, Canada, Norway, Denmark, via Greenland, Sweden, Finland, these are the members of the Arctic Council, along with Iceland. Some are NATO members, some are EU members, Russia obviously not a member of either. How does the panel kind of view the Arctic as a geographic region, as we think this, where we see EU, NATO and Russia, in an area of the world where, here's a newsflash, the ice is melting? We can have an argument about global warming and the causes I guess, but as a mariner I'll tell you the ice is melting. It's going to open up geopolitical competition. Say a word, if you would, Mr Minister, about the Arctic and this organisation.
FRANK BAKKE-JENSEN: Well, we see the Arctic as an area of low tension still and that’s why we try to communicate on a lot of levels and a lot of… there are… we have a military discussion with Russia, they are… they have… they are aggressive in Ukraine. We have our hotline from our headquarters to the North Fleets to avoid misunderstandings. But then, the same time, in the Arctic Council we discuss everything else and we have good discussions in the Arctic Council because we can discuss science, we can discuss geographical agreements.
MODERATOR: Search and Rescue.
FRANK BAKKE-JENSEN: Search and Rescue, yeah. We also have, in the North, Norway and Russia are cooperating very well in managing the fish stocks, which is important and very successful. So, we try to talk to Russia on a lot of… to keep a lot of channels, because it's important we think for… we are… geographically, we are located in their strategic area, so… and they are a nuclear power. So, we don’t reckon Russia are military threats to Norway today. But something could happen elsewhere in the world which, for Russia, which will make Russia act for them in a defensive way and which, for us, will be an offensive or an aggressive way. So, we’re trying to keep the contact and the Arctic Council I find is really useful and really important.
MODERATOR: I agree.
FRANK BAKKE-JENSEN: Because you could take the military and the defence out of the room and discuss other things. And then the Arctic will be of higher value, because when the ice is melting, the value of the fish, minerals, energy…
MODERATOR: Unavailable. Exactly
FRANK BAKKE-JENSEN: And a lot of [inaudible] agree on borders and that stuff, so yeah. It's coming, but for now we reckon it's an area of low tension, really low tension.
MODERATOR: Question from the audience:
QUESTION: How important is it that Great Britain fully participates in EU defence, even after Brexit? How far should the EU go to make it possible?
MODERATOR: Jorge, can I start with you on that one?
JORGE DOMECQ: Well, here you're bringing to, into a very dangerous area where I can lose a step, but I would say that…
MODERATOR: No one is listening, it's OK.
JORGE DOMECQ: It's a completely crystal ball at present. I can say several things which have been clearly stated both by the UK government and the industry that they want to remain, as far as possible, near to the EU [inaudible] on defence. And we see it now, for example, in the building of PESCO, they have a big interest of the rules of governance being established, once the rules of governance of the projects and PESCO are established. And the same thing goes for the participation in projects related to research or to capability development with the agency, there they want to have a relationship with the agency and they have stated that very clearly. If you look at the five priorities that the Industry Association of the UK has given the government as homework, one of them is in the future to establish an [inaudible] arrangement with EDA. So, how that will be built, we will probably have to see it in the political declaration that they will have to negotiate with member states now.
MODERATOR: Fair. Senator?
LINDSEY GRAHAM: I think this would probably be a good test as to whether… what value this European Defence Component brings. If the British say the European Union as an economic entity is not good for us, NATO is, and if they see the European Defence Initiative more like NATO, then I think you’ve done your job. I think the canary in the coalmine is to how well you do your job, is to whether or not our friends in Britain would feel like it's good for them to invest. And as to the Arctic, I don’t know anything about it, other than its cold, and that'd be a good place to send these prisoners from Syria.
MODERATOR: Any other comments on anything we’ve discussed, Mr Minister?
FRANK BAKKE-JENSEN: I said it earlier, and I think we have to treat countries from EU and NATO equal in this topic, and I think it's difficult to argue otherwise because we're not being protectionalistic and I don’t think we should build barriers when we are talking events and development of this. So…
MODERATOR: Let me open it up for one last question. Right here, this woman in the white sweater.
QUESTION: Thank you. [inaudible] from the European Council on Foreign Relations. I'd like to hear your view on a proposal by Emmanuel Macron, namely this idea of funding a European DARPA to develop technology, military technology in Europe. Is that something, in your view, that makes sense? And if it does, how could that look like?
ROSE GOTTEMOELLER [NATO Deputy Secretary General]: Well again, maybe I'll start on that because I am a great admirer of DARPA and for those of you who don’t know that acronym, the Defence Advanced Research Projects Office, in the Department of Defense. It's existed for many years and well, as some say, that’s the organisation from which the internet sprang in the first case, or from one of its predecessor organisations. So, I think it has played really an amazing role in the US system, in terms of driving thinking about new technologies, and driving thinking and into implementation. And so it has been a very, very important entity in the United States. Frankly, I don’t know enough about the structures of science and science organisation here in Europe to say whether there's anything that matches that now on the European scene, but I would say that there is an abiding worry now, I think, among all in NATO, and among all the member states, of both NATO and the European Union, that we are seeing new technology rapidly advancing in areas like artificial intelligence. We’ve been talking a lot today about cyber, that’s only one area, but there are many new frontiers of technology now that I think we all feel that we have to keep a sharp eye on. We have to try to understand the implications, we have to understand how they could emerge into the defence sphere, either as threats, as weapons in the hands of our enemies, or as perhaps useful military technology going forward. So, I think in general it's a good idea, but I base that comment on my admiration for the history and for really the benefits that the Defence Advanced Research Projects Office has had for the United States.
MODERATOR: Yeah, I think that’s well said and I'll add if I could, that one of the emerging areas in which the European scientific community is extremely capable is in bio, biology, biotech, fighting pandemics, using various elements of biotechnology. I think that has applications, both for good and for real in the defence sector as well. I think we got a question right back here, this gentleman. Yes, sir?
QUESTION: Thank you. Andrew [inaudible], The Marshall Center. I'd like to come back to the money question and Senator Graham said that ultimately it all comes out from the same budget. We had the Wales Summit, where we committed to 2%. We had Warsaw, I suspect in Brussels we'll also have the 2% affirmation. We recognise when we talk about the threats that the environment has deteriorated considerably and yet it is so hard to actually get the Allies to that level of commitment, when it comes to the bottom line, which is money. Without discounting everything that’s been achieved, are we not actually failing to move fast enough? What is the opinion of the panel to actually address the threat that is in front of us, precisely in terms that you, Senator, mentioned, money? Commitment? Thank you.
LINDSEY GRAHAM: Well, I just want to say this. Again, I've been sceptical of… that the European Defence Force would duplicate NATO, it would be money that really doesn’t add capability and it'd be more of a political exercise than it would be adding military value. My opinion has changed. I think the biggest benefit from this exercise; it gets Europe acting together again. Anything that will stop this wave of nationalism. Now, I'm a proud American and I'm sure you're proud of your country, but we’re literally all in this together. The people, who want to kill you, want to kill me. So, I do believe it can add capability to NATO. I want you to get to 2% so Trump will be quiet, but you should be at 2%. And I know that some things are not counted that probably should be counted. It's not just a monetary number that I'm trying to achieve, it's an attitude. I'm trying to restore an attitude that served mankind well. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, we're sort of adrift. What relevancy does NATO have? You know, why do this anymore? Then along comes 9/11 and you came to our aid. So, to the extent that you can meet your 2% obligation under NATO, please to the extent that you're going to create capability outside NATO that would make NATO more effective, that could take civilian and military components, to make them work together, actually I encourage you to do it and it's money well spent. And if you have to pick between the two, I would say put some money on the European Defence Initiative because the reason I am so excited about this, it gets you back in the game of being together, not separate.
MODERATOR: Others would like to comment on this. Please, Jorge,
JORGE DOMECQ: Yes, I could not agree with you more, Senator. And there's one piece of data which shows that when we go, when budgets went down and there was less money being devoted to defence in Europe, we spent less together. Cooperative programmes [inaudible] were half in those years, in eight years it went down by half, by 50%. Now that defence budgets are climbing, we should not make the big mistake of spending inefficiently. The second thing is research in the defence domain is key, because it is not worth developing and investing on capabilities which are on the market now, but will not get us to do the job with the challenges we have ahead. And that requires investing now, and that is low. So again, there is a qualitative aspect that we should not forget when this surge in investment happens. And the third thing I will say is not all member states have the capability to manage this increase of defence budget. This is a problem. This is a problem because they don’t have big procurement agencies, they don’t… so, we should not try and put one size fits all for this issue, because it doesn’t work.
JÜRI LUIK: It is clear that 2% has a strong symbolic meaning. It's a political statement. It's also of practical need. But I very much agree that we should spend it as effectively as possible and there are really many challenges to it. Let me just bring up one, which is the arms industry. I mean the money goes up now, the prices go up. There is no real competition in the way how the arms industry is structured. The older equipment which was in the market is now almost gone, for instance years and years you could have bought a used tank relatively cheap, now it's all in use. People have stopped sort of scrapping tanks. It's all back in use. So, there is a real challenge how we could meet that process in being more effective with the tools we have been discussing here, work jointly, work more effectively, but the fact is every nation has its own arms industry. You cannot… a politician cannot go home and say, look guys, we discussed in Brussels it would be great to have only one APC, one type of APC, so we'll close this great factory here. It's impossible. So, I think with this effectiveness, we are facing a number of structural problems, structural issues, which need further discussion.
MODERATOR: Others on this point, Minister and then Ambassador.
FRANK BAKKE-JENSEN: I'll just briefly add that I think the 2% is an important wake up call and it was a really good meeting, it was a wake up call and many are struggling and I agree, if this could get us Europeans to cooperate better together, to improve better, that’s good. And as I read the discussion, we need to reach that 2% goal. So…
ROSE GOTTEMOELLER [NATO Deputy Secretary General]: Two very quick points. I always like to remind people that 2% is not an unattainable goal. As recently as 2000, every single NATO Ally was spending 2% of their defence… of their budgets on defence, so… of gross national… I'm sorry, gross domestic product on defence. I've got to get my statistics right here. So, 2000, it wasn’t that long ago. We've been through a lot since then, obviously, with a profound economic crisis in the period between 2008 and 2011, but GDPs are coming back now. So, we need to look hard and dig deep, in my view, inside the NATO Alliance on this. And we are moving in the right direction, there's no question about it, but there's more work that has to be done. And that was a clear message out of our Defence Ministerial this week. The other point, and I hope it will ring alarm bells in European capitals, is once the UK leaves the EU, 80% of defence budget for you know, NATO, will be outside of the European Union, so UK, Canada, Norway, etc. and of course the United States, so it's really going to be important, I think, for the European capitals to pay attention to that wake up call and realise that more needs to be done on the defence budget story.
MODERATOR: Wonderful comments from the panel. I'll just underline with a quote from the First Supreme Allied Commander of NATO, General Eisenhower, as the Alliance was being formed, he said:
"The greatest global strategic advantage of the United States is a unified peaceful, Europe"
What a great point. We're going to have to leave it there. We've been joined by President Poroshenko, who will make a kind of closing comment, a chapeau if you will, for this session. Please join me in a wonderful round of applause for these great panellists. They’ve done a great job. Thank you.
- Turkey recognises the Republic of Macedonia with its constitutional name.