Webinar entitled: “Strategic Compass and the EU-NATO relations in the field of security and defence”
The said webinar took place on the 9th of September 2021 and was a part of a larger project entitled “Coordinating the V4 strategy towards NATO Strategic Concept and European Strategic Autonomy”. It was initiated by the Casimir Pulaski Foundation, The Antall József Knowledge Centre, EUROPEUM and the Slovak Security Policy Institute. The project is aimed at supporting the coordination of the V4 group stance on a new NATO Strategic Concept as recommended by the “NATO 2030” report, as well as on the idea of the EU strategic autonomy proposed by some European leaders. The project is co-financed by the Governments of Czechia, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia through Visegrad Grants from International Visegrad Fund. The mission of the fund is to advance ideas for sustainable regional cooperation in Central Europe.
- Dr Małgorzata Bonikowska (Polish perspective) – President of the Centre for International Relations,
- Dr Peter Stepper (Hungarian perspective) – Senior Researcher at the Institute for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Senior Lecturer at the National University of Public Service,
- Radim Samek (Czech Perspective) – Deputy Head of Defence Advisors at the Permanent Delegation of the Czech Republic to NATO,
- Katarína Jurišová (Slovak Perspective) – Defense Counsellor at Slovak Permanent Representation to the European Union.
The webinar began with the opening remarks from Vladimir Bartovic, who is the Director of EUROPEUM – Institute for European Policy. In his speech, he emphasized the importance of coordinating a common stance of the V4 states on security issues revolving around NATO. In his opinion, the recent situation in Afghanistan has showed us just how important it is to have a strong and unified alliance, unified policies and long-term contingency planning.
The discussion was moderated by Danielle Piatkiewicz, who is a research fellow at EUROPEUM Institute for Foreign Policy. She started the debate by bringing up the problem of how the EU and NATO will complement each other during the process of establishing both the NATO Strategic Concept and European Strategic Autonomy. She then asked all of the speakers a number of guiding questions. How much strategic autonomy does the EU actually need? What is the EU’s added value in the defence sphere (arms industry cooperation, unification of the equipment)? How to create EU strategic responsibility (based on the strategic compass, in order to not undermine NATO)? How to further enhance EU – NATO strategic cooperation? How do you see the future of EU – NATO cooperation in the field of new security challenges?
Dr Małgorzata Bonikowska started her intervention, by saying that the European concept of strategic autonomy was born with the EU global strategy. The decision makers realized that the current international environment is not good for the EU. It faces lots of internal divisions and many challenges from the outside, such as – the migration crisis, economic downfall caused by the global pandemic and the change in the approach of the USA towards Europe. Radim Samek agreed with Dr Bonikowska, by stating that we need political will, on top of just a common stance and expert commentary, in order to start drafting and implementing a new Strategic Concept. Consultations amongst NATO members need to quickly provide answers to the most frustrating questions, like for example: what is our ambition with regards to the future of NATO? Or what do we want to achieve by pursuing strategic autonomy? It is particularly important since every member state can perceive these issues in a different way. Katrina Jurisova stated that the different nature of NATO and the EU plays an important role in this field. The membership in both organizations is about achieving different goals regardless of the fact, that the members are largely the same in both. Defining their approach towards the EU and NATO will help the members reach a coherent conclusion on what to do in the future. She highlighted the importance of mutual information-sharing, in order to not reiterate the same things that ultimately slow down the decision making processes. Dr Peter Stepper agreed with the previous interventions and added to the issue of addressing the strategic autonomy: how do we perceive this process – what kind of direction will it take? If we do not have a clear roadmap, we will not know how we should best approach it. In his opinion, we have to include political consultations into the decision making processes in NATO. The future of EU-NATO cooperation comes down to the same thing.
The above mentioned seminar was the last one in a series of four panels that made up the project. All of the topics that were touched upon during these debates, as well as personal commentaries from each end every individual experts will now be collected and put into a comprehensive report. This document will summaries the entire project and present the best ideas and strategies on moving forward, with regards to cohesion in the V$ when it comes to NATO. The final report will debut at the 2021 edition of the Warsaw Security Forum, that is set to take place on October 5th and 6th in Poland.