The NATO International Military Staff hosts its EU counterparts for the 19th IMS-EUMS Directors General conference
On 2nd June 2023, the Director General of the NATO International Military Staff (DGIMS), Lieutenant General Janusz Adamczak welcomed the Director General of the European Union Military Staff (DGEUMS), Vice Admiral Hervé Bléjean and his team to NATO HQ, for the 19th iteration of their bi-annual Directors General conference.
In his opening remarks, Lieutenant General Janusz Adamczak underscored “the unprecedented era of military cooperation between NATO and the EU, as evidenced by these regular meetings, which are key to the continued coordination between both organisations and essential to the larger effort to enhance the overall level of NATO-EU cooperation”. In response, Vice Admiral Hervé Bléjean acknowledged the unwavering commitment demonstrated by both NATO and EU staff, highlighting that “these meetings are not only, the building blocks for our enhanced cooperation, but for transatlantic security as a whole”. In addition, Vice Admiral Bléjean introduced his successor, Lieutenant General Michiel van der Laan and thanked the office of his counterpart and staff for the effective and open cooperation between the EUMS and the NATO IMS during his mandate.
Both Directors General then took some time to address the global and regional impact of the ongoing war in Ukraine. “We are all aware of the situation on our Eastern borders, where the Russian Federation started their illegal and brutal war of aggression against Ukraine. Against Putin’s expectations, this war was a trigger for strengthening the unity across the democratic countries within NATO and the EU, which provided a new momentum to our cooperation. NATO and the EU stand united in condemning Russia’s actions, and in supporting Ukraine’s sovereignty, territorial integrity and right to self-defence whatever it takes”, noted Lieutenant General Janusz Adamczak.
Taking the floor next, Lieutenant General Francesco Diella, Director of Cooperative Security Division of the IMS, introduced the agenda for the day and alluded to the importance of the conference, by stressing that “it provides us with a platform to update each other on the meaningful advancement being made, especially in digital transformation, strategic communications, capability development, military mobility, as well as education, training and exercises – but above it provides an opportunity to share our perspectives and evaluate the ongoing cooperation between our two organisations”.
Discussing digital transformation, participants agreed that emerging technologies will play a central role in both NATO and the EU’s transformations, but both organisations as well as Nations have a unique responsibility to explore existing opportunities and prepare for subsequent challenges. They also acknowledged the importance of building resilience and protecting critical infrastructure. “Our cooperation to strengthen our critical infrastructure has become even more important in light of recent events and Russia’s weaponisation of energy as part of its more assertive foreign policy, in the aftermath of its war of aggression against Ukraine”, emphasised Lieutenant General Adamczak in his remarks.
Discussions then turned to the newly established NATO-EU Task Force on Resilience of Critical Infrastructure, which brings together officials from both organisations to share best practices, share situational awareness, and develop principles to improve resilience. The Task Force will begin by focusing on four sectors: energy, transport, digital infrastructure, and space.
Both Directors General closed the conference by emphasising the need for close cooperation and continued engagement to advance mutually agreed objectives on designated lines of development that will mutually strengthen both organisations.