6 December 2016, Brussels – EU-NATO cooperation: Council adopt conclusions to implement Joint Declaration
1. The Council recalls the European Council Conclusions of 28 June 2016 calling for further enhancement of the EU-NATO relationship by working with and for the benefit of all Member States, in light of those aims and values which we hold in common and given the unprecedented challenges facing both organizations. Our security is interconnected: together, we can mobilize a broad range of tools and make the most efficient use of resources to address those challenges and enhance the security of our citizens. In this respect, new and improved ways of working together in an ambitious and pragmatic way are needed with the overall objective of building a true organisation-to-organisation relationship.
2. EU-NATO cooperation will continue to take place in the spirit of full openness and transparency and in full respect of the decision-making autonomy and procedures of both organisations. It will be based on the principles of inclusiveness and reciprocity without prejudice to the specific character of the security and defence policy of any Member State.
3. The Council welcomes the Joint Declaration signed by the President of the European Council, the President of the European Commission and the Secretary General of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization in Warsaw on 8 July 2016. It gives new impetus and substance to EU-NATO cooperation in the areas of countering hybrid threats; operational cooperation including at sea and, in accordance with the Council Conclusions of November 2016, on irregular migration; cyber security and defence; defence capabilities; defence industry and research; exercises; supporting partners’ capacity building efforts in the Western Balkans, the Eastern and Southern Neighbourhoods and strengthening their resilience.
4. Implementation of the Joint Declaration is a key political priority for the EU. It constitutes an essential element of broader efforts aimed at strengthening the Union’s ability to act as a security provider, in line with the Council Conclusions on implementing the EU Global Strategy in the area of Security and Defence and the European Defence Action Plan.
5. The Council welcomes the progress achieved in advancing EU-NATO relations, in particular since the signature of the Joint Declaration, including in implementing and operationalising parallel procedures and playbooks for interaction in countering hybrid threats; enhancing operational cooperation and coordination on maritime issues including between EU NAVFOR MED Sophia and Operation Sea Guardian in the Mediterranean in implementing their mandates, building upon the successful cooperation between the EU and NATO in the Aegean; developing parallel and coordinated exercises as well as in the field of strategic communication with a view to building resilience. EU-NATO cooperation in the field of exercises will be conducted in full respect of the EU’s Exercise Policy Framework.
6. With a view to consolidating such progress and ensuring further advances in all areas listed in the Joint Declaration, the Council endorses the common set of proposals attached in the annex. They constitute concrete actions for the implementation of the Joint Declaration developed jointly by the EU (EEAS and Commission services, with the EDA) and NATO. The common set of proposals is not a standalone document and must be read in conjunction with the present Council Conclusions both of which will be implemented in accordance with the principles set out above.
7. The common set of proposals is being endorsed in a parallel process by NATO through the North Atlantic Council.
8. The Council underlines that Member States have a ‘single set of forces’ which they can use in different frameworks. The coherent development of Member States’ capabilities through EU and NATO respective processes will thus also help to strengthen capabilities potentially available for both organizations, while recognizing their different nature and responsibility. In this regard, the Council welcomes the continued close and mutually reinforcing co-operation with NATO in areas of shared interest, both strategically and operationally, in crisis management in support of international peace and security as well as on defence capability development where requirements overlap.
9. The Council invites the High Representative/Vice President/Head of the European Defence Agency, in close cooperation with Member States, to launch work on implementation of the common set of proposals immediately, thus ensuring their full involvement and transparency. Reports on implementation including possible suggestions for future cooperation should be provided on a biannual basis starting by the end of June 2017.
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