by NATO Deputy Secretary General Mircea Geoană at the virtual session of the European Parliament's Committee on Foreign Affairs (AFET) and the Subcommittee on Security and Defence Committee on Foreign Affairs (SEDE)

  • 28 Jun. 2021 -
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  • Last updated: 30 Jun. 2021 15:39

(As delivered)

NATO Deputy Secretary General Mircea Geoană, participates in a virtual session of the European Parliament's Committee on Foreign Affairs (AFET) and the Subcommittee on Security and Defence Committee on Foreign Affairs (SEDE), in association with the Delegation of the European Parliament for relations with the NATO Parliamentary Assembly

NATHALIE LOISEAU : [EU Parliament translator] Mes chers collègues, je souhaite la bienvenue au Secrétaire général adjoint de l’OTAN, M. Geoană pour cette réunion conjointe de la sous-commission sécurité et défense de la Commission des Affaires Étrangères et pour cet échange de vue qui portera sur les suites du sommet de l’OTAN du 14 juin dernier et sur le lancement de la réflexion sur la révision du concept stratégique de l’OTAN. Monsieur Geoană, le sommet de l’OTAN a été caractérisé par une réaffirmation de l’engagement des États-Unis au sein de l’alliance atlantique. Ce fut aussi un sommet de clarification et d’apaisement des relations entre alliés et c’est aussi un sommet qui se déroule dans un contexte de préoccupations face à la menace de la Russie, face à l’attitude de la Chine et face à la situation périlleuse que connaît l’Afghanistan. La déclaration adoptée à l’issue du sommet appelle à une coordination renforcée entre l’OTAN et l’Union européenne, en particulier pour la protection des infrastructures critiques et pour maintenir l’avancée technologique des démocraties occidentales. Surtout le paragraphe 64 de la déclaration insiste sur la contribution d’une défense européenne plus forte et plus capable à l’Alliance. Cette reconnaissance de l’importance du pilier européen dans l’OTAN était attendue. Vous nous direz quelles perspectives de coopération entre l’Alliance et l’Union européenne vous semblent prioritaires. Notamment en matière de coopération opérationnelle sur les théâtres d’opération mais aussi en matière de cyber défense. Comme vous le savez l’Union européenne adoptera sa boussole stratégique en mars de l’année prochaine. De son côté l’OTAN a lancé la révision de son concept stratégique qui devrait aboutir lors du sommet de 2022. Nous serons particulièrement intéressés de connaître vos réflexions sur le sujet, notamment sur l’articulation entre la future boussole stratégique et OTAN 2030. Monsieur le Secrétaire Général adjoint, les sujets abordés sont nombreux et nous avons hélas peu de temps, aussi je passe sans plus attendre la parole au Président de la Commission des Affaires Étrangères, David MacAllister.

DAVID MACALLISTER: Merci, Nathalie Loiseau. Dear Mircea Geoană, on behalf of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, I would also like to welcome you to today’s exchange of views. It’s a pleasure to have you here in this joint AFET/SEDE committee meeting, where we in March already welcomed NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg. I would like to also appreciate your readiness to discuss security and defence issues with us. Nathalie Loiseau just mentioned, of course, we specifically hope to hear more about the NATO Summit held here in Brussels on the 14th of June. My impression is that the statement by the heads of state of the NATO members, all 30, was very comprehensive. We all are aware that the global security scene has changed and last year reminded us that the European security environment is today more volatile, more unpredictable, more complex and more ambiguous than at any time since the end of the Cold War. Covid-19 has caused a global pandemic, which is not only affecting millions of human lives, but also triggering systemic tensions of global governance with far-reaching and also long-term consequences for international relations. I just want to make one final remark. Allow me to highlight one point from the statement adopted at the NATO Summit in June. NATO wants to enhance, quote, ‘its ability to contribute to preserve and shape the rules-based international order in areas that are important to Allied security. Further, NATO will increase dialogue and practical cooperation with existing partners, including with the European Union.’, unquote. So I look forward to hearing more from you, how you see that tangible progress might be made in these areas. It is my strong belief that in the European Union we need to consolidate our strategic alliances with likeminded partners across the world and to diversify our cooperation on an ad hoc basis. And NATO is for us in the European Union a very, very important cooperation partner. That’s why our exchange is so important today. And now I give you the floor, dear Mircea Geoană.

MIRCEA GEOANĂ [NATO Deputy Secretary General]: Thank you so very much, Mr Chairman. Chère Madame la Présidente, merci pour l’invitation, je suis toujours toujours intéressé, je fais avec beaucoup de plaisir ces entretiens entre l’OTAN et l’Union Européenne. It’s always a pleasure to . . . to be with you. And thank you for convening this debate. And also thank you for steering our conversation a little bit. But let me tell you where we are. First, here in NATO, we fully recognise the important role that your institution is playing in the European Union’s foreign and security policy, including on the transatlantic partnership and NATO-EU relationship as a whole. I applaud the new draft report on EU-NATO cooperation in the context of transatlantic relations. And the report, that I understand will be debated promptly, will add an important perspective on NATO-EU relationship from European Parliament. I also see our interaction today as another important contribution to strengthen political dialogue between NATO and EU, to foster transparency, trust and mutual situational awareness. Over the past months, the NATO-EU partnership continued to move forward with a very good pace. High Representative Borrell and Secretary General Stoltenberg published the sixth progress report on NATO-EU cooperation. We also had the overview of the progress made in implementing our 74 already-common actions. Also, our Secretary General participated in a European Council meeting on February 26th. He addressed the Interparliamentary Conference on CFSP in March, with many of you participating, and he joined the EU defence ministers in Portugal in May. Also, the Secretary General addressed the joint AFET/SEDE meeting like the one I’m privileged to be part of today on March 2021. And I also participated in a joint AIDA/SEDE meeting on AI on 4th of March. Also just after the Summit, the [inaudible] Summit, Secretary General Stoltenberg debriefed President Charles Michel and President von der Leyen, shortly after the Summit. I also have done the same, in debriefing the PSC last week and following, in the following days, I will be chairing, co-chairing a NAC-PSC meeting on China, on the next . . . on the next few days. So you mentioned also the final communiqué. It reflects the importance of NATO-EU partnership. It’s abundantly reflected in . . . in the communiqué. And the final communiqué not only reconfirmed the principles underlying our strategic partnership between NATO and EU, but also set a new level of ambition to further develop our cooperation, including areas such as resilience, new technologies, climate change or strategic competition. On the Summit itself, you know that this Summit took place in person at our headquarters. Leaders opened a new chapter in the transatlantic relationship. They demonstrated unity and resolve in the face of complex global challenges, including Russia’s aggressive actions, terrorism, cyber threats and the rise of China. And the strong determination to work together in NATO to meet these challenges in defence of both our common values and our shared security. Now on Russia, leaders continue to see Russia as a threat. They condemn Russia’s destabilising actions, including its repressive domestic policy, its military build-up, cyberattacks and attempts to influence elections. Also at the NATO Summit, our leaders reaffirmed the Alliance’s dual-track approach of defence and deterrence on the one side and dialogue with Russia – because keeping our defences strong while also remaining ready to talk. Leaders expressed concerns about the situation in Belarus. They also expressed support for Ukraine and Georgia, including to help them move closer to NATO in line with previous Summit decisions. NATO leaders welcomed the recent US-Russia decision to extend the New START Treaty, and they expressed the hope that this would create new momentum on international arms control. The trilogy of the G7 meeting in Cornwall, the EU-US Summit and the NATO Summit provided a very powerful backdrop to President Biden’s meeting with President Putin in Geneva. On China, NATO leaders agreed that there are opportunities to engage with China on such issues as arms control and climate change, but also leaders agreed that China does not share our values: its military build-up, lack of transparency and coercive policies, present challenges to Alliance security. There was broad agreement that we should meet these challenges together as Allies. NATO leaders made a strong call on China to uphold its international commitment and to act responsibly in the international system, in keeping with its role as a major power. This refers, inter alia, to space, cyber and maritime domains. On Afghanistan, after almost 20 years, NATO military operations are coming to an end. NATO leaders paid tribute to all those who have lost their lives or been wounded, and they expressed their appreciation to all those who have served under the NATO flag, Allies and partners alike. Withdrawing our troops does not mean we are ending our relationship with Afghanistan. We’ll continue to stand with Afghanistan, its people and its institutions, including with training and financial support for Afghan forces and institutions, and funding to ensure the continued functioning of the international airport in Kabul. NATO also approached the two last operational domains in NATO: cyber and space, and they also took decisions on these two very important operational domains in NATO, including by affirming that attacks from those domains could lead to the invocation of the Article 5 collective defence clause in our founding treaty. NATO’s new cyber policy, which was adopted by our leaders, recognises that cyberspace is contested at all times and it ensures that we have strong technical capabilities, political consultations and military planning to keep our systems secure. And by the way, this is also a topic where NATO and EU should… are, should and will cooperate more. On NATO 2030, our leaders at the Summit agreed an ambitious agenda for reform in eight broad areas under the generic title of NATO 2030. First, Allies agreed to enhance NATO as the transatlantic forum for consultations and joint action on all matters related to our security and to strengthen and broaden Allied political consultation and coordination, including by more frequent high level meetings and closer engagement with Allied capitals. Second, we will reinforce our deterrence and defence by the full and speedy implementation of agreed plans to strengthen our military posture and the readiness of our forces, and by recommitting to the defence investment pledge made at the Wales Summit in 2014. Third, we’ll also strengthen the resilience of our societies – another topic of joint interest and mutual interest between NATO and EU – by developing concrete national goals and implementation plans based on clearer and more measurable NATO-wide resilience objectives, including to safeguard our critical infrastructure. Fourth, we’ll sharpen our technological edge, including through a Defence Innovation Accelerator that will work with start-ups, industry and universities to promote transatlantic cooperation and help avoid gaps amongst Allies, and by establishing a NATO Innovation Fund to invest in start-ups working on emerging and disruptive technologies. Again, this is, new technologies, that’s another major area where NATO and EU are, will and should cooperate together. Fifth, to help safeguard the rules-based international order, we want to deepen NATO’s partnerships in the Asia-Pacific with Australia, Japan, New Zealand and the Republic of Korea, seek new relationships with countries across Latin America, Africa and Asia, build upon our existing partnerships and, very importantly, further deepen our cooperation with our strategic partner, the European Union. Six, we will substantially step up training and capacity-building for partners in areas like counterterrorism, crisis management and defence reform. Seventh, for the first time, leaders agreed that addressing the security impact of climate change will be an important task for NATO. We will do regular assessments of the impact of climate change on international security, on our installations and our missions and our activities, and integrate climate change into our exercises, defence planning and procurement. And also develop a methodology for assessing greenhouse gas emissions from our military activities. Again, a topic where NATO and EU are natural partners and we hope to engage even further on that topic. Allies made a clear commitment to significantly reduce military emissions and to set concrete targets for NATO to contribute to the goal of net zero emissions by 2050. Eighth, it was referred by Madame La Presidente, NATO leaders invited the Secretary General to lead the development of the next NATO Strategic Concept in time for our next Summit in Spain in 2022. The NATO 2030 agenda sets a high level of ambition for NATO’s continued adaptation, and it is agreed that the decisions must be underpinned by adequate resources through national defence expenditure and increased NATO common funding. 2021 is the seventh consecutive year of growing defence spending across European Allies and Canada, with over 260 billion US dollars extra on defence since 2014. Allies are also contributing to NATO missions and operations and they are investing in new capabilities through national and multinational projects. The Summit showed a strong resolve to maintain this momentum and to continue to work for fairer burden-sharing across the Alliance. To do more together, Allies also agreed to invest more together in NATO to shore up all three NATO budgets – military budget, civil budget and infrastructure budget – to be able to support more joint training and exercises, stronger cyber defences, more capacity-building for our partners, amongst other things. With this, I try to condense a little bit the critical, historic and pivotal decisions that our leaders took. Speaking of higher level meetings, we decided that our next Summit will be in Spain. We thank our Spanish friends and Allies. 2023 will be Lithuania. We thank our Lithuanian friends and Allies for hosting this . . . this issue. And also our leaders decided to continue to consult very closely. And again, NATO-EU, the strategic partnership between our two organisations is paramount for the joint interests of the political West, for the peace, security in . . . in Europe and across the world. And with that, I’m in your hands. Merci infiniment pour cette opportunité, je suis très très intéressé à répondre aux questions et commentaires faites par tout le monde. Thank you so very much.

DAVID MACALLISTER: Thank you, Deputy Secretary General. Nathalie Loiseau and I will be chairing this meeting together. I will now give the floor to the Chairman of our Delegation to the NATO Parliamentary Assembly, our colleague, Tom Vandenkendelaere and afterwards Nathalie Loiseau will give the floor to other colleagues who have requested the floor and she will run for the meeting. Tom, please.

TOM VANDENKENDELAERE [Chairman of Delegation to NATO Parliamentary Assembly]: Merci Monsieur le Président, Monsieur le Secrétaire général adjoint, lors de notre dernière rencontre bilatérale, vous avez marqué votre disponibilité à venir échanger avec les membres du Parlement et plus spécifiquement avec les membres de la Commission de sécurité et de défense ainsi que les membres de la délégation pour les relations avec l’OTAN que j’ai l’honneur de présider, j’espère nous pourrons mettre en pratique ces intentions rapidement. Vous avez fait état des conclusions du communiqué du sommet qui en effet sont très longues, négociées et adoptées à l’unanimité. Les sujets que vous avez évoqués sont nombreux, la Chine, la Russie, l’Ukraine, le retrait d’Afghanistan, l’impact du changement climatique pour les armées, l’espace entre autres. Je souhaiterai vous demander Monsieur le Secrétaire général adjoint quel sera la processus de révision du concept stratégique de l’OTAN dont l’adoption est en effet prévue pour le prochain semestre de l’OTAN en 2022, donc après l’adoption de notre boussole stratégique de l’Union européenne. Pourriez-vous nous indiquer quel est le calendrier d’adoption de ce concept stratégique, quelles sont les procédures de consultation, également avec l’Union, le COPS et le SAAE, notamment pour éviter les duplications avec la boussole stratégique et comment comptez-vous associer l’assemblée parlementaire de l’OTAN à cet exercice de réflexion ? Merci

NATHALIE LOISEAU: Merci et avant de passer la parole à mes collègues, je vais moi-même en profiter pour poser une question au Secrétaire général adjoint de l’OTAN sur le front de l’innovation que vous avez mentionné, j’aimerai en entendre un peu plus sur son objet, sur son financement, sur son mode de gouvernance et sur les pays membres de l’Alliance qui auraient déjà pris des engagements pour contribuer à son financement. Mais je passe tout de suite la parole au coordinateur de CD pour commencer, pour le PPE c’est [inaudible]

ŽELJANA ZOVKO (EPP):  Merci, Madame La Presidente. So, the NATO 2030 Agenda states that NATO should devote particular attention to countering destabilisation, including especially by hybrid means and disinformation across the Western Balkans. How is the cooperation and information-sharing with our partners in the Western Balkans on these matters and what aspects should be improved? In your opinion, where are these campaigns mostly present? What can NATO additionally do to assist our partners in the region in their fight against disinformation campaigns? And the other question goes to the situation in Sahel. It was stated at the Summit… in the Summit communiqué that NATO will enhance its engagement with G5 Sahel and it remains open, upon request, to consider further engagement in the region. What are the current activities in the Sahel region and are there any plans to expand the presence in the future to raise the engagement? And how does the recent decision of President Macron to withdraw French troops affect NATO activities in the region? I would like to have your thoughts on these decisions. Thank you.

NATHALIE LOISEAU: Merci [inaudible]

SVEN MIKSER (S&D): Yes, thank you, thank you very Madame Chair. I will limit myself to one very particular question. The Summit communiqué says that, given the deteriorating security environment in Europe, a credible and united nuclear alliance is essential. And this is a statement with which I very much agree. But nonetheless, it’s a . . . it’s a rather broad statement. And obviously, when the proper discussions start regarding the new Strategic Concept, the . . . the Alliance cannot escape going into some more detail and being more concrete. Obviously, the role of nuclear weapons in defence and deterrence is a topic that is very hotly debated in Europe and here in the European Parliament in particular – obviously, the US nuclear weapons on the European soil, but also more broadly, the issue of nuclear non-proliferation. So I would like to perhaps hear your views as to how you see this debate shaping up ahead of the adoption of the new Strategic Concept and also, perhaps more particularly, what role or . . . or how do you see the upcoming US . . . the new US Nuclear Posture Review to impact or affect this process? Thank you.

NATHALIE LOISEAU: Merci pour [inaudible]

MALE SPEAKER: [inaudible] I will continue in English. I really appreciated the fact that you spoke about the influence of climate change, because in our Alliance, we are only as strong as the partners are. Can you imagine the United States being incapacitated by a major climatic event and what that will do to its readiness to intervene in accordance with the obligations of the treaty? But my . . . my questions relate mostly to NATO’s engagement in the Black Sea area, because there is a shift of focus, as you said, to project stability where it matters. I’m thinking about different actions such as Sea Breeze 2021 and others that will increase our presence and project our power in the Black Sea area. So I would like to ask you, in what ways can NATO and EU member states collaborate in the region? And what other joint military exercises and activities which contribute to the strengthening of our joint forces are expected to take place in the region in the near future? Lastly, how do you see the cooperation within NATO, on the other hand, Ukraine and Georgia as partners? And lastly, what other elements do you continue . . . consider vital in developing a clear security strategy in the Black Sea Region? Thank you.


ANNA BONFRISCO (ID): Thank you, Madame Chair. [EU Parliament Translator] We want to work as well everywhere we can, including in space. We have different helicopters. The only thing that we’re lacking is we need to be able to develop more vaccines, mRNA. Certainly, China’s participation will change the balance of power around the world. And in fact, the role of China around the world is already a reality. Now, they are also the second largest budget for defence around the world and also various involvements in Europe and the doctrine here is . . . their doctrine lacks transparency. They don’t have enough discussions and they don’t have open public control and monitoring. And so the Alliance should insist that there should be a base . . . or there should be trust used as a base here and we should be able to continue together to be leaders around the world. I’d like to hear some further details about the following areas: how do you want to build the unity and the cohesion within the Alliance? How do you want to improve the positioning of the armed forces of NATO? And how do you want to help us make our societies more resilient? And I’d also like you to place a particular focus on the possibility of us developing technological . . . technology together, various accelerator funds for the North Atlantic, because this is probably the central point in the new strategy, both at European Union level but also at NATO level. Thank you. And now for the Greens.

FEMALE SPEAKER: Mr Deputy Secretary General, dear colleagues, I would like to draw your attention to the role of technology in making NATO and its Allies vulnerable, both militarily and to foreign interference. China is undergoing a large-scale military expansion and modernisation of its ballistic and conventional arsenal, as well as investing in cyber capabilities. Both in Taiwan and the South China Sea and by its involvement in European infrastructure projects, China poses a serious challenge to NATO and its Allies. How are we preparing for this today? Russia has equally been stepping up their military operations both through targeted . . . targeted cyber-attacks in liberal democracies and through direct attacks on its neighbours, as we saw with Crimea. Our export of high-end European and American military and, more importantly, dual-use technology for Russian and Chinese entities must be re-evaluated. We cannot simply sell these technologies without compromising our security, our position on human rights, respect for international law and democratic processes that these countries repeatedly violate. I ask you, what kind of message do we send when these technologies are reverse-engineered and used against us and our Allies? We need to fight for our values and uphold them in every situation, not just when it is convenient for us. Thank you.

FEMALE SPEAKER: Thank you. I don’t think that Mr Waszczykowski is connected and I don’t think that Mick Wallace is connected either. OK . . . well then we’ll move straight on to Michael Gahler for the EPP.

MICHAEL GAHLER [EPP]: One question, in 2014, NATO launched the Partnership Interoperability Initiative that was further than [inaudible] tailor-made Enhanced Opportunities Partners. There are a number of states, including since June last year, Ukraine. My question goes in two directions. First of all, are there other partners like Georgia or Moldova foreseen to be included in this programme? And the other question is: is this Enhanced Partnership rather a dead end or is it to remain, in the EU-speak, is it a preparatory action for a possible Membership Action Plan to follow? So does this have a value in itself, this partnership that we have currently with Ukraine and what is already part of a future Membership Action Plan on the substance of the cooperation that is taking place there? So is that a little MAP already? Thank you.

NATHALIE LOISEAU: Thank you, for the S&D [inaudible]

TONINO PICULA [S&D]: [Deputy] Secretary General, indeed, stronger EU-NATO cooperation contributes to effective global governance and multilateralism. The current situation is offering us opportunity to work together in new ways and I believe our citizens welcome such an effort. However, that does not exclude the will of the European Union to develop the strategic autonomy that goes beyond military aspects, as this pandemic clearly showed us the need to invest in capabilities to protect our citizens and ensure security. That is why I am also glad that the communiqué welcomed ongoing strategic processes within EU and NATO, which is an excellent opportunity to intensify our cooperation. Therefore, I would like to ask you two questions. On cyber-attacks, we have witnessed recently many attacks on hospitals and health systems in our member states. How to strengthen cyber security on healthcare organisations fighting the pandemic and what role can NATO play in it? And second, NATO Secretary General Stoltenberg has put the topic of climate change on the list of priorities for the NATO agenda. How do you see EU-NATO cooperation when it comes to tackling climate change and its security implications, especially having in mind the call to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Summit communiqué? Thank you.

NATHALIE LOISEAU: Merci [inaudible]

MALE SPEAKER: Thank you, Madame Chair. Thank you, Deputy Secretary General, for your remarks, I would like to ask two questions. One, in the context of NATO’s China policy, you did mention China’s coercive economic policies. And you expressed the will that member states, NATO member states, should work together to counter such Chinese challenges. What exactly should we expect from NATO in that regard? There has been talk in the US, also in the UK about a so-called ‘economic NATO’, whatever that means. Could you give us an idea of which strategies for cooperation NATO can be expected to develop? And the second question is on climate change. You said that NATO wants to be the primary format on all matters concerning our security. And you also mentioned that for the first time ever, NATO acknowledged climate change as a security challenge. Now, how exactly does NATO expect to be the primary format for discussions on climate change to security issues, isn’t there the appetite bigger than the digestion would allow? I mean, can NATO make some realistic contributions or is this just talk?

NATHALIE LOISEAU: Merci [inaudible]

MALE SPEAKER:  [Greek dialogue] [EU Parliament translator] . . . airstrike and the mammoth exercise called Defender 2021?

NATHALIE LOISEAU: [EU Parliament translator] The interpreter telling us it’s very difficult to interpret. Could you refresh your connection, maybe try again?

MALE SPEAKER:  Can you hear me? To start again? If you don’t mind?

NATHALIE LOISEAU: [EU Parliament translator] Well, you can try, but it seems that there’s a lot of background noise in the connection.

MALE SPEAKER: [EU Parliament translator] So, we also see that the government in my country, Greece, has also an important role to play in that because we get more NATO bases. And this year we have the first place in new weapons acquisitions. On the other hand, we have Turkey that is being posed to acquire half of the Aegean, and that means that the peoples of the area are facing real hardship. For seven decades, we have seen that NATO is the basic war machine of international capital and it only means dictatorships and wars. So the peoples are the ones that will stop this in every country and will disengage themselves for all imperialist alliances.

NATHALIE LOISEAU: Thank you, for S&D group. I give the floor to Elena Yoncheva.

ELENA YONCHEVA [S&D]: [EU Parliament translator] Thank you, Madame Chair, for giving me the floor. Deputy Secretary General, thank you for being with us and for engaging in this exchange of views. These days there’s a public perception that there’s a problem with the strategic autonomy debate and how it interacts with the NATO 2030 strategy. Now, how do you feel about these plans for the creation of a strong European army? What’s the correct division of tasks between NATO and the EU? What tasks could be carried out together with coordination and which tasks should be carried out separately?

NATHALIE LOISEAU: [EU Parliament translator] Thank you very much. I’ve got quite a long list of speakers on the list, but I don’t see them either in the room or online. I will now give the floor to the Deputy Secretary General to respond to the various questions.

MIRCEA GEOANĂ [NATO Deputy Secretary General]: Merci Tom, merci pour la question sur le conseil stratégique, la boussole stratégique. En effet les deux processus sont des processus qui sont différents. Pour l’OTAN, le conseil stratégique c’est le document, le seul document après le Traité de Washington qui gère toutes les activités, donc c’est un document hyper-stratégique, huh et bien sûr que la boussole stratégique de l’Union européenne qui est en cours d’être préparée et soumise cet automne pour la décision lors de la présidence française du Conseil de l’Union européenne. C’est un exercice qui est aussi différent par nature mais les deux représentent une opportunité pour plus de cohérence et plus de complémentarité stratégique pour les deux organisations. Donc je crois que les deux processus, les spécificités institutionnelles de chaque de nos organisations doivent être respectées. En même temps je crois qu’on a le devoir de trouver toutes les synergies, toutes les complémentarités et toute la cohésion qu’on puisse dériver des deux processus. Et du point de vue du calendrier, parce que c’est important, c’est juste, c’est une question très juste, nous allons démarrer une période de consultation  au sein de l’OTAN, avec les capitales alliées, avec les partenaires aussi bien sûr avec nos opinions publiques, huh début septembre. On va finaliser cette période de consultation dans la première partie de l’année prochaine et bien sûr pour négocier un document très important pour le Sommet de Madrid de 2022. Donc le créneau de consultation entre nos deux est relativement serré et nous somme tout à fait en contact avec le service d’action extérieure, avec nos interlocuteurs de la part de l’Union européenne, de faire ainsi qu’on trouve huh ; et je suis convaincu qu’on va le faire. C’est important pour nous tous. Alors Madame la Présidente, sur l’innovation, nous sommes en train de commencer à réfléchir au sein de l’Alliance sur le modèle de gouvernance pour cet accélérateur d’innovation pour le Nord-Atlantique. C’est un processus qui vient de démarrer et comme une conclusion de notre Sommet de juin 14. Et bien sûr que nous sommes très très intéressé de faire ainsi que cet accélérateur trouve aussi le mécanisme de concertation  et de dialogue permanent avec l’écosystème d’innovation des pays alliés. Ça veut dire le secteur privé, ça veut dire les milieux académiques parce qu’aujourd’hui 90 pour cent de toutes les technologies qui ont aussi une application double sont développées dans les secteur privé, donc c’est très important pour nous afin de garder notre avantage technologique qui est engagé avec les Alliés. Également c’est très important d’avoir aussi une inter opérabilité parce que pas tous les Alliés ont la même capacité d’innovation qu’ont les autres. On a des pays Alliés qui sont avec des ressources, avec des marchés financiers, avec le capital de risque, avec des universités, avec de très gros budgets qui sont très très forts en innovation. Nous avons également des Alliés qui ont une capacité d’innovation plus limitée, c’est aussi mon rôle comme président du Innovation Board chez nous d’être sûr qu’on trouve les justes équilibres là-dessus. Pour le Fond d’innovation, nous sommes en train de développer également le système de gouvernance. Nous avons indications d’une part des pays Alliés qui ont annoncé leur intérêt d’y participer mais dès qu’on aura plus de clarté sur le modèle de gouvernance, on va avoir aussi les décisions là-dessus. On the question on the Western Balkans, we continue to be very active. Our Secretary General will be visiting the Western Balkans this week. We are very much engaged with our partners in this very important region. We are working also with the European Union on fighting disinformation, including in this very important region. And we stand, we stand very much committed to . . . to the full integration of this important part of Europe in the Euro-Atlantic family. On the, on the, on the . . . on the G5 Sahel, we . . . we, as I mentioned in my introductory remarks, we have decided, our leaders have decided, to step up our partnership efforts. And here I believe that everybody recognises that NATO has, in a way, the gold standard when it comes to building strong military and national security institutions. And there’s a lot of fragility in our neighbourhoods, especially to the south. So this is… it is why our ambition to work with countries like Mauritania – Mauritania is a partner of NATO. And also we . . . we tend to give as much support, practical support, as these countries will be requiring from us. We have no intention at this point in time to go as NATO into this issue. But I see many members of the European Union that are also Allies, including my home country, Romania, contributing to the . . . to the forces over there. I think we are here to find the best ways, division of labour, and best investments to, to, to, to . . . to stabilise this region, which is becoming very complex and I think it’s a common interest for us to, to . . . to fight pervasive insecurity and to fight terrorism, which is one of the three core tasks in NATO. So we are stand— . . . we stand ready to, to work in that . . . in that direction. On NATO as a nuclear Alliance – as long as nuclear weapons will exist, NATO will be a nuclear Alliance. Of course, we are watching very carefully the evolutions into the doctrines and of course, the . . . the investments and new technologies that come with this very important topic. We also have to see which will be the practical outcome of the Geneva Summit between presidents of US and Russia. And of course, NATO is very interested in making sure that we remain a very strong body when it comes to arms control in general, not only on strategic, but also on sub-strategic and of course, on conventional and also on new technologies that are also very, very important. [inaudible] On the Black Sea. The Black Sea is a vital interest for NATO security. And this is also a reality of the very aggressive way in which Russia is building up its military capabilities, the illegal annexation of Crimea, power projection beyond the Black Sea area, towards the Balkans, into the Mediterranean. And we also have seen very recently the kind of provocations they are facing, NATO countries, when it comes to the Black Sea. I’m also saying that supporting our partners in Georgia and Ukraine is also very, very much important and I will come back to that question down the road. So, as we are developing a comprehensive deterrence and defence posture for NATO, stay assured that the Black Sea Region will have its full strategic importance reflected in the way in which we conduct business in this part of our common security. When it comes to the issue of resilience, unity, cohesion, China, you know, technology development together, we also have to . . . to keep in mind that this is not just a geopolitical competition that we have seen in history in many, many ways. This is also very much a struggle for the way in which we organise human societies between us, democracies, open societies, imperfect as we might be, perfectible as we should be. But nonetheless, I think there is no question in our minds in Europe, in the democracies all over the world, that an open, democratic, free society is a better way to organise our societies and live our lives and, and, and, and, and strive for a better life than autocratic, closed regimes. But this is . . . this is also a part of the competition. Technological competition is also part of that . . . of that issue. So I think the more we can do together – and we should do together – between NATO and EU also on these topics of resilience, of cyber, of hybrid, of fighting disinformation, of space, of . . . of new technologies in a broader sense of the term is for, for . . . for even more intimacy between us, I think, the better off our democratic world would be. This will be a very long and complicated struggle. And for the first time in many, many decades, if not centuries, the West is challenged in our technological edge. This is an important part, as our values, our common values, are the most important glue of NATO and the European Union, also making sure that we… we are able to compete in the realm of ideas, any the realm of technology and economic development. When it comes to vulnerabilities, NATO has developed resilience baseline requirements for the last five, six years. And our leaders at the Summit in June decided to go even, even further, including in when it comes to best practices, when it comes to FDI screening. I say this not as NATO official, but as a citizen of Europe, I think we have been in Europe a little bit complacent about the openness of our economic system, about the sometimes malign plans of our . . . of our competitors. And I think we have to, to really make sure it’s not NATO the place to have a one-size-fits-all, but I think on telecommunications, on energy security, on supply chain, on FDI screening, on export control. I think we have to do a much better job in aligning national strategies with NATO policies and European Union toolboxes. I would see this in a far more integrated way and also anticipatory way, because many of the . . . look at the microchips, look at rare materials, look at competition in space – these are things that are here with us. And I think we need to harness the full ecosystem of our democratic societies in Europe, across the Atlantic and, why not, across the world with like-minded nations. There was a question about partnerships. We have a number of Enhanced Opportunity Partners. To the east it’s Georgia and Ukraine. Georgia is already such a partner of NATO. We also have Jordan. So it’s not an exclusive tool we use for our partners to the east. The Republic of Moldova has a more specific situation, because of the constitution of this . . . of this country. We are not using EOP – the acronym for this – for anything else than a building block for the capabilities of these partners, for them to become stronger when it comes to defence and security. We have a very clear open door policy, it’s a Bucharest Summit decision on open doors, it has been reaffirmed by our leaders, including the prospect of eventual membership, prospect of eventual Membership Action Plan, when there will be enough reform in these countries and political consensus within NATO. And this is something, we are sticking to this. So there is no way, there is not a . . . any other usefulness of these partnerships than to strengthen our partners, to make them stronger domestically and readier for eventual membership down . . . down the road. So there is not a little MAP into this, the question was quite, quite interesting, thank you for that. On strategic autonomy in the EU and NATO. I think the word has to be synergy and complementarity. We also have to be realistic, I believe. I was giving you some numbers of defence spending and investment across NATO. And I was giving you the numbers of our increased spending for non-US Allies in Europe and, and Canada. But if we look today into the European Union contribution, the EU member states’ defence budgets today, they represent today 20 percent of the overall NATO defence budgets across the Alliance – 20 percent. So there is room for a stronger European Union. There is room for a stronger pillar, European pillar, in NATO. I think there is so much [inaudible] that Europeans can, in the EU, can do and should do together – but not at the expense of the non-EU Allies. It’s the US, it’s Canada, it’s the UK, it’s Norway, it’s Turkey – there are many others who are not in this situation. So I think we have to find . . . let me answer you differently. Our resources are finite. We are in a period of intense global competition. So making sure we invest in the right kinds of things, avoid unnecessary duplication, unnecessary competition – this is, I think, good for everyone, for the EU and for NATO. We are strong believers in a stronger European Union when it comes to defence and security, and we stand ready to engage and work even more intimately together, including on military mobility, which is one of our, if you want, flagship programmes. And now that there is a little bit of resources into the new financial perspective and Connecting Europe Facility, we hope to see more advancement into . . . into this issue. When it comes to cyber and healthcare, we have a cyber pledge. We have a new cyber policy. Most of these policies are national policies. But I think NATO is a… an ideal platform for lessons learned and also for creating, you know, if you want a transfer of knowhow from countries that have been investing in this kind of . . . of facility. When it comes to . . . to China, no, NATO is and will remain a regional organisation. We are in the business of defending one billion people from 30 Allies in the Euro-Atlantic area. But the, the . . . the system of threats and the definition of security is broadening. It becomes more global, from climate change to, to, . . . to the rise of China. I mentioned cyber and space as operational domains for NATO. We are speaking of maritime. So NATO, in order to defend our people and our interests and our values, we have to really go more global, not geographically, per se, but in terms of the topics we embrace. And including in debating in NATO, not to be an economic NATO, this is not the point, but to discuss the security implications of economic developments - this is something we should discuss, like we should discuss on, on, . . . on topics that are . . . not NATO, the prime organisation to respond to those, but where they are strategic and security implications, NATO should be a platform where Allies and partners discuss these kind of things together, including when it comes to . . . to climate change. The security implications of climate change are tremendous. Tremendous. From the fight for resources and tension and terrorism and instability to the south, to climate change up north. To the threats of global warming to our bases that are, many of those, maritime bases, very, very low at the sea level. All these things make NATO an indispensable player, not in the front run of fighting climate change per se, but in analysing the strategic security implications of climate change. This is our business. This is our bread and butter. This is something we should do. And our leaders, for that reason, approved an action plan for NATO on this very important topic. Again, a topic that NATO and EU, I think we should work together, compare notes and try to do things, including, our leaders decided, that we should also make a contribution when it comes to our militaries in our NATO countries to reduce our carbon footprint and try to also be not a huge, but nonetheless, an important contributor to the . . . to the global endeavours that we have in . . . in front of us. To the ones who are questioning the usefulness of this Alliance of ours, I will say just one thing. As someone who comes . . . who lived half of my life in communist Europe – and we have discovered freedom, we have discovered democracy, that we have discovered that we can speak [inaudible] our mind, choose our own leaders – I would say that we should all understand that without peace and security – and we had the longest period of peace in Europe in the history of this continent, so much a place of war and blood and destruction – NATO is the precondition for peace. NATO is the precondition for peace, for economic development, for human dreams and human ambitions. We are and indispensable bulwark player into security, peace – not only in Europe, but across the world. And I urge the ones who are doubting this to think again and see . . . see also the fact that we are bringing so much predictability, so much deterrence, so much capacity for our free societies to thrive and sometimes question things that we have all . . . all of us in . . . in common. So, that will be, chère Madame La Presidente, dear . . . dear Chairman, long answers to a very, very important crossfire of questions from . . . from your members. Thank you so much for . . . for those questions.

NATHALIE LOISEAU: [EU Parliament translator] Thank you very much to the Deputy Secretary General for this very interesting dialogue, which I hope we will be able to continue in future. The Atlantic Alliance is the cornerstone of security in our continent. Europe is stronger when it is more united, especially when it’s based on common values. And NATO is stronger when the EU is strong. On the question of military spending, we say that it’s important, but it’s not the only issue. With the question of the rise of China and issues related to climate change, we need to pool our efforts and civil, military, public, private in order to also address issues related to cyber defence. There’s so many different topics. And here, the European Union and the NATO have a role to play. The European Union will be very pleased to continue to develop its partnership with the NATO. When we see this, it is useful for both parties and it goes in both directions, and I’m very pleased that President Joe Biden and Secretary of State Antony Blinken also are in agreement with that. Thank you very much. And with that, the meeting is adjourned.