OPINION: Leo Michel "NATO & EU: Achieving Unity of Effort in a Comprehensive Approach"
NATO and the EU: Achieving Unity of Effort in a Comprehensive Approach by Senior Fellow, Leo Michel
Published through Atlantic Council
“Faced with common problems, there is no substitute for common solutions.”
Report on Implementation of the European Security Strategy, December 2008
“Military and civilian personnel tend to plan differently, set different priorities, establish different standards of accountability, recruit and deploy personnel differently, and often even speak the same language in ways that one has trouble understanding the other…The Strategic Concept must address this shortcoming…”
Group of Experts Report on a New NATO Strategic Concept, May 2010
Amidst a spate of disturbing reports about Afghanistan and impending deep cuts in the UK, German, and other allied defense budgets and force structures, security affairs cognoscenti could be forgiven for overlooking some positive news about the Euro-Atlantic relationship: NATO and the EU still enjoy broad support despite their current travails.
According to the recently released “Transatlantic Trends 2010,” the respected annual opinion survey commissioned by the German Marshall Fund of the United States and four European partner institutes, solid majorities among U.S. and European respondents (from 11 EU member states plus Turkey) see NATO as “essential” to their country’s security. Furthermore, they believe NATO “should be prepared to act outside of Europe to defend its members from threats to their security.” Support for “strong EU leadership in world affairs” scores even higher on both sides of the Atlantic. To be fair, the survey indicates significant and growing pessimism here and abroad over “prospects for stabilizing the situation in Afghanistan.” However, given the other findings, it appears that many respondents are passing judgment on that particular operation while explicitly accepting NATO and EU involvement in future stabilization missions.
There’s a reminder here for leaders on both sides of the Atlantic as they prepare for NATO, U.S.-EU, and EU summits later this year: results matter more to their voters than which organization gets credit for dealing with the complex security challenges that we are most likely to face. Fortunately, Americans and Europeans now broadly agree on this point. The Group of Experts report, for example, makes a strong plea for closer NATO-EU “partnership.” However, while the report correctly identifies NATO’s requirement to work with the EU and other institutions in a “comprehensive” civil-military approach to crisis prevention and crisis management, it offers few specifics on how this can be done.
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