From the Desk of the Editor
Dear Reader of Atlantica,
Closer cooperation between NATO and the EU is imperative for the future of the transatlantic alliance. This is why we have chosen the topic “NATO–European Union” as the theme of our first issue of the second volume of Atlantica. With 21 shared member states, cooperation between the two organizations is inevitable. However, streamlining cooperation through more concrete areas and channels such as hybrid warfare, information sharing, and military exercises has proven to be a much more difficult challenge to tackle.
Building off two decades of formal institutional cooperation between NATO and the EU, during his January 2020 meeting at the European Parliament, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg stated that NATO and the EU have reached unprecedented levels of cooperation. As of February 2019, the NATO and the EU share over seventy areas of cooperation both on the ground and in the political and societal arenas. While the extent of this cooperation is indeed impressive, this issue seeks to explore avenues for further cooperation as highlighted by the younger generation of European policy professionals.
As Annika Volmer highlights in her article, “NATO and the EU: The need for a common counter-terrorism strategy”, NATO and the EU must continue to improve their cooperation on countering hybrid threats, particularly in countering terrorism and cyber activity. With the rise of right-wing terrorist attacks in NATO member states and partner countries, there is a pressing need not only to formulate a common definition of “right-wing terrorism” but also to develop joint mechanisms to prevent future attacks. Edoardo Del Principe highlights how NATO can complement its hard-power capabilities with the soft-power capabilities of the EU in his article, “What can NATO learn from EU CSDP missions and operations?” Through providing border control and assistance, strengthening partners’ defence capabilities, and building more comprehensive approaches to tackle problems in civil society, an examination of the EU’s CSDP missions highlights additional areas of cooperation in which an enhanced NATO-EU partnership can improve the impact of the Alliance. In her article “Hybrid threats: An avenue for a more solid NATO-EU cooperation,” Elena Denisa Petrescu examines the roots of NATO-EU cooperation on combating hybrid threats. From Russia’s annexation of Crimea through to the present COVID-19 pandemic, both organizations’ ability to combat a multitude of diverse threats is essential to the preservation of transatlantic society. Lastly, Sofiia Shevchuk examines the modes of cooperation developed between the EU and NATO since 2016 in her article “Closer EU-NATO cooperation: Overcoming political deadlock through the development of modus operandi”. Through using a five-layered approach to international relations, cooperation at the interorganisational level has drawn the EU and NATO closer, while formal cooperation at the member state level shows the greatest room for improvement.
As the world collectively continues to battle the effects of the global COVID-19 pandemic, now more than ever it is incumbent for both NATO and the EU to develop solutions to the problems plaguing the international system. As NATO continues to strive to enhance its reputation not only as a military actor but also as a political actor, the Alliance’s cooperation with the Union’s political and societal institutions and actors is more important than ever.