European Union and NATO | – A major defeat if Ukraine does not get any chance at the European Union summit

European Union and NATO |  – A major defeat if Ukraine does not get any chance at the European Union summit

Brussels (Netavisen): At the European Union summit to be held in Brussels on December 14-15, political, military and financial support for Ukraine and the issue of starting membership negotiations will also be on the agenda. Hungary’s opposition to Ukraine’s request could block the historic decision.

As for Netavysyn, Pernille Rieker, a researcher at NUPI, says it would be a major defeat for the EU and thus a major disappointment for Ukraine if the EU summits do not agree.

– Reducing the importance of the European Union as an actor in the field of security policy

Reeker is a professor of political science and researches European integration and European foreign and security policy. She believes that the role of the European Union as a security policy actor is underappreciated and that the European Union and NATO complement each other. For Europe, it is not either or, but rather “yes please, both” when it comes to the EU and NATO.

It is in direct confrontation with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg when he warned against “the perception that the European Union must deal with the matter alone.”

The European Union has an important function in bringing together and strengthening European defense capacity. This is also important when we do not know what the US will to defend Europe will look like in the future, she says, referring to the presidential elections in 2024.

Reeker points out that the threats facing European countries are not just military, but also include things like cyberattacks and disinformation.

Russia ultimately represents a military threat to many countries in Europe, but even more imminent is its attempt to undermine our open, democratic societies. In these areas, the EU and nation-states have more tools than NATO, and it is the EU that can coordinate this. She says that these two institutions, the European Union and NATO, have thus become very important.

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– Don’t talk about secession from the United States

The NUPI researcher stresses the importance of so-called strategic autonomy, whereby nation-states together become able to protect Europe’s security.

– She says that the matter is not therefore about separating from the United States, but rather about building a greater ability to support oneself.

Rieker and co-author Mathilde Jeske write about the concept of strategic autonomy from a European perspective in a new book called “The European Actor in a Changing Geopolitical Order.” They stress here that it is about more than defense and defense budgets, but interaction and cooperation, such as when the EU ensures that it contributes to improving military mobility through PESCO defense cooperation, is a crucial contribution.

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The European Union and military mobility

– Among the many cooperative projects of PESCO, the most attention has been received by this project responsible for military mobility, including the movement of military forces and materiel in Europe, in which Norway is also involved. She says this is the best example of how the European Union and NATO can cooperate.

Reeker says that the European Union contributes to achieving more benefit from the defense budgets of the European Union member states, as there are 22 countries that are also members of NATO.

– NATO depends on the amount of resources available to member states. Now it is being upgraded. However, Europe’s overall defense capability will not be able to match that of the United States. It is against this background that the European Union has contributed financial incentives to promote closer integration between defense and defense industries in European countries. It says this strengthens European defense capacity and thus the European pillar in NATO.

Stoltenberg does not share his concerns

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg warned against words that could create the impression that “the European Union will manage its affairs alone” and stressed the role of the United States as the guarantor of Europe’s security.

– What do you say about Stoltenberg’s concern? I have argued that there is no reason to fear that investing in defense in the EU will automatically weaken NATO.

– I think it is strange that he is so concerned about the tension between the two organizations. There is no doubt that developing a defense capability in the EU would undermine NATO in any way. In recent years, cooperation between the European Union and NATO has become closer, and there has been a clearer division of labor between the two sides. These operations are likely to contribute to making Europe as a whole better equipped to assume greater responsibility for the defense of Europe, as well as NATO.

Cooperation between the European Union and NATO

  • NATO Defense Alliance, the political and economic union of the European Union, has 22 member states involved: Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal. Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia and Spain. At the NATO summit in July 2023, Sweden was also opened to participate, but Turkey and Hungary have so far blocked ratification.
  • A number of NATO member states, but not EU members, including Norway, participate in all NATO and EU meetings. This also includes Albania, Canada, Iceland, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Turkey, Great Britain and the United States.
  • NATO and the European Union established a formal cooperation agreement through the European Security and Defense Policy Agreement in December 2002 (NATO-EU Declaration on European Security and Defense Policy) and the cooperation framework was ready in March 2003.
  • The cooperation agreement built on measures from the 1990s (NATO-WEU cooperation).
  • There is agreement on the need to integrate and strengthen the roles played by NATO and the European Union to support international peace and security.
  • Developing European defense capabilities is crucial to making the Euro-Atlantic region safer and sharing the burdens. Here, NATO emphasizes that its member states must ensure cohesion and integration and avoid unnecessary duplication.
  • The report says that close cooperation between NATO and the European Union constitutes an important element in developing a clear international approach to crisis management and operations, which requires “the effective use of military and civilian means.”
  • NATO and the European Union have stood together in condemning Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine, and in supporting Ukraine’s sovereignty, territorial integrity and right to self-defense.
  • In January 2023, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, and the President of the European Council, Charles Michel, signed the third EU-NATO Cooperation Agreement, an agreement that would “promote and enhance the expansion” of what is referred to as NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg. Through strategic partnership.
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Source: NATO, Relations with the European Union.

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Norway’s weakness

Rieker says Norway will continue to rely on NATO, but also needs to cooperate with the European Union:

The challenge facing Norway with regard to the European Union lies in areas where we are not part of the EEA Agreement and do not have bilateral agreements, but which are relevant to our security. We are weak there. A relevant example is EU cooperation in the field of satellite communications.

In November, the European Commission agreed to start membership negotiations with Ukraine. The heads of state of the 27 EU countries are scheduled to make a decision on this proposal when the European Council meets in Brussels.

– What is the stake for Europe regarding the issue of Ukraine’s place in the European Union?

– There has been a huge change in the desire of member states to expand the European Union after the Russian invasion. This says something about how important this is in the geopolitical context. Expansion is seen as a political and security necessity. Russia represents an existential threat, not only to Ukraine, but also to all of Europe. We do not know how the war will end, but it is important for the European Union to show its readiness to defend Ukraine and other countries in the region and the Balkans.

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If Ukraine doesn’t get any

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– This will be a big challenge, a big defeat for the European Union, and therefore a big disappointment for Ukraine. Reker answers: I think that the European Union will then try to find other ways to support Ukraine until it is agreed to start membership negotiations.

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– He is Putin’s best friend in the European Union

The person everyone’s eyes are on ahead of the EU summit is Hungary and Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, the man who has so far succeeded in blocking Sweden’s accession to NATO and who has repeated several times that the European Commission’s proposal for membership negotiations with Ukraine should be. Must be confirmed. Among other things, Orban noted that Ukraine (like Hungary) faces significant challenges when it comes to corruption.

– It is a real irony that Hungary, which itself is unable to respect the rules of EU membership, is now talking about Ukraine not meeting the criteria. I’d like to believe there’s some frantic diplomacy going on in the back room right now. The question is what Orban, who is dependent on financial resources from the European Union, might gain by making himself less popular. I choose to be cautiously optimistic, says NUPI researcher ahead of the EU summit on Thursday and Friday.

Orbán: – The will of the Hungarian people

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban has made clear that he stands by his position that the EU cannot open the door to membership negotiations with Ukraine now.

“Our position is based on one thing only: the will of the Hungarian people,” he wrote in a letter. Twitter/X Tuesday night. There he refers to an opinion poll conducted by the conservative Hungarian research center “Szasadvij”, which showed that 72% of Hungarians oppose Ukraine’s rapid accession to the European Union.

Jabori Obasanjo

Jabori Obasanjo

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