The European Union and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization—to which 22 of the EU’s 28 Member States belong—have built a genuine strategic partnership with the shared goal of regional stability and peace.
The initial framework for EU-NATO cooperation was the 1999 “Berlin Plus” arrangement, which first granted the EU access to NATO operational planning assets when leading crisis management operations; made NATO capabilities and common assets available to the EU; offered NATO European command options for EU-led operations; and took the possibility of making NATO forces available for EU operations into account during the NATO planning cycle.
Today, agreements between the EU and NATO also provide for specific cooperation on crisis management, anti-terrorism, nonproliferation of weapons of mass destruction, and the exchange of classified information. In addition, the EU has access to NATO’s planning capability.
NATO remains essential for European security as it offers a strong military transatlantic link and fosters interoperability among its military forces. However, military instruments alone are not sufficient to address 21st century security crises. The EU complements NATO through not only its Common Security and Defense Policy operations, but also through diplomatic tools, development assistance, and humanitarian aid.
Collaboration between the EU and NATO is likely to grow in the future.
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