NATO-EU Cooperation: Don’t Forget Berlin Plus!

NATO and the EU have in the past few years made a great show of their burgeoning cooperation. EU Presidents Tusk and Juncker attended NATO’s Warsaw Summit in July 2016 and signed a Joint Declaration with NATO Secretary General Stoltenberg to “give new impetus and new substance to the NATO-EU strategic partnership”.[…]

But there is something missing. The most practical and longstanding EU-NATO cooperative framework, so-called Berlin Plus, seems to have been overlooked. Under Berlin Plus, agreed in 2003, the EU can request NATO to make available its assets and capabilities to the EU for an EU-led and directed operation. From the absence of any reference to Berlin Plus in recent NATO or EU public documents, it would seem that this form of cooperation has been side-lined in favour of seemingly more contemporary issues. As a result, the list of NATO-EU activities does not address the challenge of how NATO and the EU would operate militarily together in a future crisis that affected both their interests.[…]

he Berlin Plus arrangements allow the EU in a crisis to supplement its own military resources (largely drawn from EU member states) by drawing on NATO’s collective assets and capabilities. The arrangements fully protect the EU’s authority and political control in such an eventuality. There is a current practical example. The EU’s Operation Althea in Bosnia and Herzegovina is conducted under Berlin Plus arrangements. Its purpose, under UN mandate, is to help the Bosnian authorities maintain a safe and secure environment. NATO provides the communications, planning, and the command structure, and helps generate the forces. NATO’s Deputy Supreme Allied Commander, currently a UK 4-star General, is the Operation Commander. He is answerable solely to the EU for this function. Läs artikel