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Research Report

Transatlantic Transformation:: Building a NATO-EU Security Architecture

Frances G. Burwell
David C. Gompert
Leslie S. Lebl
Jan M. Lodal
Walter B. Slocombe
Copyright Date: Mar. 1, 2006
Published by: Atlantic Council
Pages: 51
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Table of Contents

  1. (pp. v-vi)
    Jan M. Lodal

    The end of the Cold War has witnessed a fundamental reshaping of the transatlantic security agenda, and of the relationship between NATO and the European Union. In response to the new environment and changing threats, NATO has brought in new members and conducted combat missions far outside its traditional territory. The EU has developed its own security and defense policy and has deployed assets in a series of missions ranging from monitoring borders to peace enforcement. As the potential for overlap has grown, so has concern about the dangers of competition between NATO and the EU. While U.S. and European...

  2. (pp. 1-4)

    Since its creation in 1949, NATO has served as the primary institutional link between the United States and Europe on matters affecting the security of Europe. During the Cold War, the Alliance was focused exclusively on the defense of Western Europe against a single threat — attack by the Soviet Union. The Alliance tied together the fate of the United States and Western Europe in the face of a massive Soviet military buildup and the ideological challenge of communism.

    In practice, NATO also provided a mechanism for ensuring that U.S. and European militaries were capable of fighting together. Its integrated...

  3. (pp. 5-12)

    As NATO expanded and adapted to the post-Cold War environment, the European Union moved to extend its mandate deep into the world of foreign policy and security. The key has been the building of the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP). The CFSP represents the increasingly coordinated approach of the 25 member states on a range of issues, including the threats of terrorism and WMD proliferation, human rights, and HIV/AIDS, as well as relations with the Middle East, Russia, and many other regions. There have been some significant failures in developing this coordinated approach, most notably the deep divisions within...

  4. (pp. 13-14)

    The current mechanism for formal cooperation between NATO and the EU is the “Berlin Plus” arrangement, signed in March 2003 (see box on this page). Under this agreement, the EU has been given “assured access” to NATO assets, including planning capabilities, for EU-led military missions. In a “Berlin Plus” operation, the Deputy Supreme Allied Commander Europe (DSACEUR) is the operation commander and uses the force generation and planning capacities at SHAPE. But political control of the operation remains with the EU, once NATO members have agreed to the operation. Associated arrangements also provide for the sharing of classified information between...

  5. (pp. 15-20)

    NATO and the EU now stand at a fork in the road. The existing transatlantic security architecture never anticipated a European Union determined to create an independent ESDP. The architecture itself must be revised to reflect the new reality: both NATO and the EU have crucial roles to play in providing transatlantic security. New structures, processes, and political commitments are necessary if they are to work together effectively.

    NATO could in principle carry out any necessary military operation without the help of the EU, provided that its individual members support the operation. But most of NATO’s members are also members...

  6. (pp. 21-24)

    None of these mechanisms and capabilities will become reality unless the political leadership on both sides of the Atlantic is committed to a major revision of the transatlantic security architecture. This commitment must be demonstrated practically by a willingness to make compromises on both sides of the Atlantic. In particular:

    The United States should respect the judgment of its European allies that also belong to the EU when they conclude that a particular operation should be EU-led. In return, those same allies should fully support NATO as the lead institution for an operation when the United States must be significantly...

  7. (pp. 25-26)

    If this transformed security architecture is to have a solid foundation, a diplomatic campaign focused on the national capitals will be required. It must particularly engage those who are skeptical of NATO-EU cooperation.

    One of the first steps will be to overcome the obstacles Turkey has created to NATO-EU consultations and intelligence sharing. Periodic meetings between the NAC and PSC are the major channel of communication at the political level between the two institutions. In response to the EU decision to admit Cyprus as a member despite the continuing division of that island, Turkey has insisted that strategic dialogue in...