What about strategic autonomy? – EURACTIV.fr

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the European Union are trying to intensify cooperation after Russia’s aggression against Ukraine. Both sides signed a new joint declaration on Tuesday (January 10) that redefines the concept of strategic autonomy.

The new 14-point cooperation agreement signed by European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, European Council President Charles Michel and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg comes nearly a year after Russia invaded Ukraine last February.

According to NATO diplomats, the agreement was initially expected to be signed at the NATO summit in Madrid in June 2022, but the signing was delayed mainly due to tensions between Turkey and Cyprus.

Speaking to journalists in Brussels, both sides stressed that they are ready for this “We take cooperation to the next level”. Mr. Stoltenberg drew the attention of Russian President Vladimir Putin “unsuccessful” In an attempt to divide Western allies over the war in Ukraine.

“Russia’s war against Ukraine had two unintended consequences: it strengthened our two organizations, the EU and NATO, and brought us closer together.”Mr. Michel explained.

“[Vladimir]Putin wanted less NATO, but he got the opposite: more NATO and more EU.he added that it was the Union “Determined to contribute more effectively to global and transatlantic security”.

The new joint document builds on two previous joint statements adopted in 2016 and 2018.

But while this new version is the first such statement to explicitly mention Russia and China, the rest of the text remains fairly routine in terms of identifying specific threats or commitments.

The statement emphasizes that the fight against strengthening of geostrategic competition», protecting critical infrastructures and managing threats related to new technologies and space are key areas for deep cooperation.

Redefining strategic autonomy

EU and NATO diplomats celebrate the joint document as a diplomatic success.

For years, some have feared that efforts to strengthen the EU’s defense role could damage the US-led military alliance. However, the joint declaration shows that NATO remains.” the basis of the collective defense of its members” .

It should be noted that twenty-one members of the EU are also members of NATO, and the procedures related to the joining of Sweden and Finland to the military alliance should be completed by the end of the year.

Over the years, efforts mainly by France to strengthen the European Union’s role in the field of defense and Paris’s desire to gain strategic autonomy have caused tension with Eastern European countries, which consider Washington to be the same. It is the main provider of security in Europe.

The United States, meanwhile, has long pushed its European allies to spend more on defense, countering cyber threats and building the infrastructure needed to rapidly deploy armed forces on the continent.

Russia’s intervention in Ukraine has led to calls for the two Brussels-based organizations to better align and coordinate their responsibilities, a game-changer.

The new joint statement makes it clear that NATO ” remains the basis of the collective defense of its members. and organization“Euro-Atlantic remains important for security“. However, it means that there are two partiesthey recognize the interests of a stronger and more effective European defense that effectively contributes to global and transatlantic security, complements and interacts with NATO.“.

There are both organizationscomplementary, consistent and mutually reinforcing roles in the service of international peace and security“, we can read in the document. This confirms the idea that stronger European armies should support the political-military alliance, not offer an alternative to it.

Journalists question whether strategic autonomy should be considered“dead” Charles Michel, who gave a new boost to NATO-EU cooperation, replied that the main military doctrines of the two organizations will complement each other.

“NATO’s Strategic Concept complements, supports and aligns with the EU’s Strategic Compass.[le plan d’action du bloc pour renforcer sa politique de sécurité et de défense]»– said the chairman of the European Council.

“This notion of autonomy, of independence, is critical to having greater resilience in the future, and clearly, it’s something that is complementary with our friends, partners and allies.”he added.

“Strategic autonomy does not mean non-cooperation, but cooperation with like-minded partners”explained Mrs. Von der Leyen.

In particular, progress has been made in vaccine production as well as vaccine disposal“Toxic Addiction”He added that in relation to European Russian fossil fuels.

Ukraine is at the center of the declaration

The commitment to support Ukraine is one of the main elements of the joint declaration on EU-NATO cooperation.

Following Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, NATO has increased its troop numbers in Eastern Europe as the alliance carries out the biggest reorganization of its defense forces since the end of the war (1947-1991).

Last week, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg called on the members of the alliance to provide more weapons to Ukraine.

In addition, the EU will impose new sanctions on Belarus, while pressuring Russia to end the war in Ukraine and expanding sanctions against countries that support the aggressor, Ms von der Leyen said on Tuesday.

“We will continue to pressure the Kremlin as long as necessary through a system of tough sanctions, extending the scope of these sanctions to military supporters of Russia’s war, such as Belarus or Iran.”He told reporters at the NATO headquarters in Brussels.

“And we will propose new sanctions against Belarus for its role in the war in Ukraine”he added.

[Édité par Anne-Sophie Gayet]

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