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28 februarie 2019 - Special reports - NATO - UE

NATO-EU political and military events/ January

Ştefan Oprea

Sursă foto: Mediafax



  • Member states’ resilience- NATO’s major concern;
  • The Military Committee in Chiefs of Defence session;

European Union

  • European Union’s Council Presidency - an opportunity and a challenge for Romania;
  • Romania, in the context of the presidency of the Council of the European Union, hosts the first informal meeting at the level of defence ministers;

Military acquisitions and defence industry

  • A contract that can increase the complexity of the Russian-Turkish relationship.



Member states’ resilience - NATO’s major concern

In December 2018, officials and experts from NATO Allies and partner countries met at NATO Headquarters to discuss critical infrastructure interdependencies across NATO’s six resilience baselines: communications; food and water; transportation; mass casualties; population movements; and continuity of government services.

Awareness and common understanding of the potential impact of the degradation or failure of the critical resilience sectors have made this topic a priority of NATO's activity, providing an essential first line of defence against a broad range of threats to discourage the enemy's potential and the defensive position of the Alliance.

Given the current security environment, threats can come from state or non-state actors, including terrorism, but also as consequence of asymmetrical actions, cyber-attacks, hybrid war in general, this way mitigating the demarcation lines between conventional and unconventional conflicts. If we add to these types of threat the ones generated by natural catastrophes (floods, fires, earthquakes), the challenge faced by states, for adapting and responding to these dangers is amplified by trends that have radically transformed the security environment that is constantly changing.

Resilience, a specific term used in physics to measure the ability of metals to recover from mechanical shocks, has been taken up in NATO language to represent the ability of society to resist and recover easily and quickly after major shocks by the response measures combining civil preparedness and military capability.

According to art. 3 of the North-Atlantic Treaty[1], each NATO member state must be resistant and flexible against a major shock like a natural disaster, critical infrastructure failure or an armed attack, in order to continue and recovering afterwards.

Each ally’s individual commitment to upkeep and consolidate its resistance reduces NATO’s vulnerability as a whole. Alliance’s members can strengthen their resistance capacity by developing the national defence system and niche competences, like cyber defence or medical support which combines civil, economic, commercial and military factors. When allies are well-prepared, it is less probable for them to be attacked, which makes NATO, as a whole, be stronger.

Resilience is a national responsibility and each member state must be strong and flexible enough to support the entire crisis spectrum the Alliance is managing. 

From this point of view, article 3 completes the collective defence clause envisaged in article 5, which mentions that an attack against an ally is seen as an attack against all NATO states.

The vulnerabilities that each state faces are numerous, complex and multidirectional. They were and are primarily generated by the falling of military investment and the privatization of previously owned assets by the government, thus developing a strong dependence on civilian factors linked to commercial practices. If during the Cold War there were territorial defence mechanisms and capabilities in place, ready to support a war effort, today they no longer exist.

Furthermore, with the widespread use of new technologies, our societies have become interconnected and interdependent, in the economic, financial, information and cyber domains. Such interdependency, although it is a significant benefit, it can also be a weakness, making Allies vulnerable to the implications of rapid change in these domains. From this point of view, NATO’s activity regarding resilience is contributing to protecting citizens from all potential hazards.

After the commitment of the chief of states and governments at the Warsaw NATO summit, from 2016, the Alliance will continue enhancing NATO’s resilience to the full spectrum of threats and will further develop individual and collective capacity to resist any form of armed attack.   According to this commitment, its implementation represents a major priority for the allies, and NATO can support the Allies in assessing and, upon request, enhancing their resilience.

The Military Committee in Chiefs of Defence session

Under the aviation general’s presidency, (UK) Sir Stuart Peach, NATO’s Military Committee gathered in Chiefs of Defence session at the NATO headquarter, between 15-16 of January. On the first day of work, the debated topics have covered NATO current and future strategic challenges, the security situation from the Euro-Atlantic region and the recorded progresses in implementing the approved decisions at NATO’s previous summits, but also how to respond to Russia’s increasing aggressions and the Middle East situation.

NATO’s Military Strategy, its Deterrence and Defence Posture, the progresses in changes to the command structure and the NATO Readiness Initiative have also been topics of this day agenda. The session was followed by the common meeting with the operational partners on topics like the Resolute Support Mission for training, assistance and counselling of Afghan institutions and national defence and security forces, as well as the security situation in the region (the mission comprises approximately 16,000 troops from 41 NATO and partner countries).

The next day, the discussions have focused on developments in the field of war or conflict specific activities, improving the capacity to distribute capabilities funded by common funds, the NATO-Georgia partnership, with a special focus on the progress of the NATO-Substantial NATO-Georgia Package, concluding with a broad discussion about the Western Balkans and the NATO Mission in Kosovo, as the Pristina authorities express their determination to transform the Kosovo Security Force into the national army.

The Military Committee meeting in this format was also attended by the Chief of General Staff, commander of the armed forces of Ukraine, Army General Viktor Muzhenko, to inform participants on the progress of the Ukrainian army's mission to join the collective security system. The new Chiefs of Defence were introduced at the beginning of the Military Committee's activities. Major General Martin Herem, Estonian Chief of Defence, General Enzo Vecciarelli, Italian Chief of Defence and Major General Alenka Ermenc, Slovenian Chief of Defence (the first woman in this position in the history of the NATO Military Committee).


European Union’s Council Presidency- an opportunity and a challenge for Romania

With an inauguration ceremony taking place in Bucharest, on 10th of January, Romania took the rotating presidency of the European Union Council for the next six months, a historical moment for our country. The ceremony developed in the presence of European Commission’s president, Jean-Claude Juncker and Europe’s Council president, Donald Tusk.

As everyone already knows, the member states to have the presidency, according to Lisbon Treaty from 2009, are closely collaborating in groups composed of three states, named “Trio”. The purpose of this work mechanism is to implement a common agenda and long-term objectives to be approached by the Council for an 18 months’ period. Based on this program, each of the three countries is preparing its own program, more detailed, for 6 months. Romania, at the desk of the rotating presidency, creates this trio alongside Finland and Croatia, after the trio composed of Estonia, Bulgaria and Austria and before Germany, Portugal and Slovenia. The opportunity of some important partnerships is quite clear.

The great efforts Romania made after accessing the European Union, to promote the European values and its pro-European ambitions, are giving the forthcoming six months a strategic importance for the country.

Romania is in line with the two presidencies of the EU Trio and, having its first mandate, will have the opportunity to shape its national vision over the strategic debates regarding the future European project. Also, it will directly contribute to its consolidation process and the promotion of that part of the agenda Romania considers important. From this point of view, Bucharest will use the rotating presidency to project country’s European image.

The current European context will impose Bucharest to sign some agreements in order to end a series of important political things, before the European Parliament elections from May, as well as Great Britain’s pull-out from EU (an extremely difficult topic now, after Great Britain’s parliament has refused the Brexit treaty).

The months to come will shape EU’s future, being expected to take place long negotiations regarding EU’s long-term budget (multiannual financial framework) for the 2021-2017 period, until the end of the current legislative mandate. Romania’s presidency will also ensure the transitions for EU’s institutional level- especially the future Commission and the new Parliament-, as well as the end of the debate on Europe’s future, to be completed with 2019 Europe’s Day Summit from Sibiu. Given these circumstances, the Romanian authorities are hoping for 2019 to relaunch the European projects in the same way, three decades ago, 1989 has opened a new chapter for Central and Eastern Europe.

Romanian Presidency’s priorities are established under the following motto: Cohesion, as a common European value, understood as unity, equal treatment and convergence and it is based on four main directions: “Europe of convergence”, “Europe of safety”, “Europe - global actor” and, not least, “Europe of common values”.

2019 presidency offers a significant opportunity- and a challenge for Romania - to build trust and influence in the community block. This year, maybe more than in the previous ones, will be the year to define European project’s future. The increasing security threats in the East, Brexit and the elections for the European Parliament will be the most difficult challenges. From this point of view, Romania will clearly present its stances on important topics for the country, like: the future multiannual financial framework and block’s security and defence policy. There is a clear opportunity to align our national interests with EU’s ones on these matters.

Talking exclusively about the third pillar of the Romanian presidency programs, called “Europe- global actor”, the effort will focus on continuing the common commitments assumed through EU’s global Strategy for European Union’s security and foreign policy.

To that end, European Union’s defence and security capacities’ consolidation, strongly connected to NATO’s similar processes, will be supported by Romania in common security and defence policies, focusing on the tools envisaged by the Coordinated Annual Review on Defence (CARD), European Defence Fund (EDF) and Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO). The consolidation of EU-NATO strategic partnership, the upturn of Black Sea’s Sinergy, European Union’s extension in the Western Balkans and the development of the Eastern Partnership will be the main actions to have military valences across Romania’s main objectives during this responsibility. Our country’s presidency will match a period of important military developments for the future European army, but also for the management of important files, incorporated for the military dimension of common defence and security policy. Not least, in European capabilities’ development field, the first half of this year will be extremely full, as for each priority they will have to end the first version of the Strategic Context Case, to prove the effectiveness of the common investments in the future capabilities.

Romania, in the context of the presidency of the Council of the European Union, hosts the first informal meeting at the level of defence ministers

On 30 and 31 of January, in the Palace of Parliament and the Royal Palace, in Bucharest, will take place the informal meeting of the Defence Ministers of the European Union. The event, hosted by the minister of National Defence, Gabriel Les, will be chaired by High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policies and vice-president of the European Commission, Federica Mogherini. Also, invited to this reunion will be NATO’s General Secretary, Jens Stoltenberg and UN’s Deputy Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, Jean- Pierre Lacroix.

The event will start with a working dinner focusing on “Women, Peace and Security”, a shared priority for EU, UN and NATO, as well as the integration method of these topics in the peace operations conception and crisis management.

As global promoter and partner of UN in implementing the “Women, Peace and Security” Agenda (WPS), EU is constantly promoting equal chances between women and men, a central value element for the European construction. From world’s 79 states which adopted national action plans to implement UN’s 1325 Security Council Resolution on WPS topic and the subsequent resolutions, 20 of them are EU member states. At Community level, in line with the conclusions of the Council of the European Union of 10 December 2018, the stage of the Action Plan will be analysed to implement and promote the EU Strategic Approach to WPS, with a deadline by the end of the first quarter of this year.

On the second day of the works, the ministers will meet to discuss the way forward in the field of European security and defence policy. They will also analyse the state of implementation of the provisions of the EU's Global Foreign Policy and Security Strategy, discuss ways to ensure consistency between new initiatives to increase joint defence capabilities and will address the implications of technological innovation trends for Member States' armed forces.

It is worth noting that, unlike the similar meetings organized under the Bulgarian and Austrian presidencies, where NATO was represented by the NATO Deputy Secretary General, Rose Gottemoeller, in Bucharest, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg is expected to attend.

Military acquisitions and defence industry

A contract that can increase the complexity of the Russian-Turkish relationship

In a Russian-Turkish relationship of increasing intensity (in 2018, the two presidents had seven "tête-à-tête" meetings, and four other along with more leaders), a surprising announcement could make this relationship becomes more complex. Ukraine, through the voice of President Petro Poroshenko, wants, through the government, to acquire unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) for the Ukrainian army.

Although it has accelerated the development of UAVs, Ukraine does not yet have the capacity to respond to current needs, which is why this acquisition has the role of filling the capability gap.

From the President Poroshenko's statements show that, through an agreement with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Ukrspetsproject and Baykar Makina companies have signed the agreement to purchase 12 Bayraktar Tactical Block 2 (TB2) UAVs.

Under a $ 69 million contract, Baykar Makina, the Turkish UAV manufacturer, will produce the 12 Bayraktar TB2s and deliver them (six in the first year) together with three systems and equipment for control stations to the ground. By performing active reconnaissance, surveillance and flight intelligence activities, Bayraktar TB2 has the ability to transmit real-time images to operating centres and engage targets. The Service Ceiling is 8.239 meters (27.030 feet) and the endurance is 24-hour flight autonomy. It can transport 55 kilograms and can be operated day and night.

This economic move becomes atypical as the ties between Moscow and Ankara begin to warm up now when they together discuss a co-management plan for security in Idlib province in Syria and last year Turkey bought the Russian S400 missile system.

[1] The North Atlantic Treaty- Art. 3 “In order more effectively to achieve the objectives of this Treaty, the Parties, separately and jointly, by means of continuous and effective self-help and mutual aid, will maintain and develop their individual and collective capacity to resist armed attack.”