NATO’s European Dimension
The Security & Defence Agenda is proud to present this report on “NATO’s European Dimension” from the annual conference on 21 June 2010 at the Concert Noble in Brussels.
It highlights some of the input of 12 speakers and over 300 participants on the current state of EU-NATO relations in the run up to the Lisbon summit. Special attention was also given to the recommendations stemming from the first edition of the SDA’s online Security Jam.
Despite shrinking defence budgets, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen called for smarter spending to help NATO develop a collective approach and multinational solutions to the security challenges of the 21st century.
The conference also looked at the need for institutional change in NATO and more cohesion across the alliance. What role and capabilities should NATO acquire in a shifting global security landscape? Several recommendations for a more modern alliance were made, such as drawing from the experience of member states in the face of economic austerity. Latvian Minister of Defence Imants Liegis reminded participants that “we need to maintain a level of ambition and not sacrifice the level of security of member states”. Other recommendations included forging strategic partnerships with Russia, key stakeholders and defence industries. Many panellists called for better coordination of civilian, military and political tools
in Afghanistan. Too often, it was said, turf wars hamper a truly integrated strategy. These lessons will hopefully be echoed in NATO’s new Strategic Concept.
The global economic crisis provides an opportunity for new thinking on pooling defence procurement and multinational industrial cooperation. The imbalances in defence investment and cooperation in Afghanistan currently overshadow the EU and NATO’s potential as effective global security and defence actors.