- Title: NATO, EU agree to boost cooperation
- Date: 6th December 2016
- Summary: BRUSSELS, BELGIUM (DECEMBER 6, 2016) (REUTERS) EXTERIOR OF NATO HEADQUARTERS SECURITY CHRISTMAS TREE OUTSIDE NATO HEADQUARTERS
- Embargoed: 21st December 2016 17:06
- Keywords: NATO EU Foreign Mogherini Stoltenberg cooperation United States
- Location: BRUSSELS, BELGIUM
- City: BRUSSELS, BELGIUM
- Country: Belgium
- Reuters ID: LVA0015BQZ8LJ
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text:NATO and the European Union overcame years of rivalry on Tuesday (December 6) to agree a joint, seven-point plan to counter tactics such as cyber attacks, information warfare and irregular militia from Russia and other potential aggressors.
"Today we really marked a milestone in our efforts to build our cooperation and to strengthen the partnership between NATO and the European Union," NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg told a news conference with EU Foreign Policy Chief Federica Mogherini after ministers agreed the plan.
The pact, which is not legally-binding, allows the six EU states outside NATO to benefit from some of the U.S. military support that President-elect Donald Trump has suggested could be conditional on greater European defence spending.
The proposals should also reassure Europe that the United States, the leading power in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, is committed to the region despite Trump's campaign comments that have unsettled allies, NATO officials said.
During the U.S. election campaign, Trump challenged long-time U.S. foreign policy in Europe by saying Washington might not defend NATO allies that do not pay more for their own security.
The EU-NATO accord follows agreement on a separate EU defence fund to pay for helicopters, planes and other equipment, in part to send a signal to Trump.
The EU-NATO plan aims to ensure any assets in the 22 allies in both NATO and the EU are available for both NATO and EU operations.
"The size and the nature of the challenges and also opportunities we have around us is so new and so big that none of our member states or allies can deal with that alone but needs to build bridges and alliances to work together on this and we see our citizens are asking for security more and more so we have a collective duty and responsibility to deliver on their security," the EU's foreign policy chief said.
Russian cyber attacks, a migration crisis and failing states near Europe require both NATO's military response and a softer security approach that the EU can provide to combat propaganda and provide training to stabilise governments, officials say.
Russia's 2014 annexation of Crimea showed the West's inability to deal with unconventional tactics such as computer hackers, disinformation campaigns and militia without insignia.
Under the agreement, experts from the EU and NATO will cooperate to detect and deflect hackers on computer networks and prepare for potential attacks.
NATO and the EU should also cooperate more closely in the Mediterranean, where both have operations, and to avoid any return to the competing operations of the past.
However, both institutions face limits because of tensions between Turkey and Greece that limit information sharing.
"EU-Turkey relations might be complicated from time to time but this reflects the fact that they are deep and important for both of us. I have had just this morning a long bilateral meeting with (Turkish Foreign) minister (Mevlut) Cavusoglu as I had meetings in the past weeks with the EU Affairs Minister (Omer) Celik. Our contacts are constant and are not limited to one or two aspects of our policies. I know the media attention is mainly on the accession process or the refugee issue but we discuss mainly and mostly internal development for sure both in Turkey and in the European Union, but also the situation in Syria and in these days in particular the need to finalise the agreement in Cyprus," Mogherini said.
Turkey, a member of NATO but not of the EU, blocks the sharing of alliance intelligence with the EU, while EU- and NATO-member Greece does not want Brussels sharing any sensitive information with the alliance because of Turkey.
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