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NDC - News-The European Union's Stance on Defence: current perspectives and future directions

The European Union's Stance on Defence: current perspectives and future directions

  • 14 Mar. 2024
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  • Last updated: 14 Mar. 2024 13:49

Senior Course (SC) 144 and NATO Regional Cooperation Course (NRCC) 31 embarked on their Field Study 1 journey, starting in Brussels, Belgium, with a visit to the European Commission’s Charlemagne building.

Course Members during a lecture at the European Commission.

The visit was an opportunity for SC 144 and NRCC 31 to engage with practitioners from the European External Action Service (EEAS), the European Union Military Staff (EUMS), and the European Commission (EC), facilitating a better understanding and substantive discussions on topics pertaining to the European Union's defence and security approach.

Course Members were welcomed by Major General Gábor Horváth, Deputy Director, EUMS General Staff, who presented an overview of the EU’s defence policy and security ambitions, weaknesses and strengths.

A panel discussion on “The EU after the war against Ukraine” highlighted the pivotal shift in the European Union's defence priorities and perspective as a consequence of the change in the security environment provoked by Russia's war on Ukraine. Course Members were briefed by Ms Anna Carin Krokstäde, EEAS, Rear Admiral Ignacio Cuartero Lorenzo, EUMS, and Mr Tanel Tang, EC, on the practical impact of the war in Ukraine on Europe, examining the EU’s responses and initiatives to bolster and sustain support for Ukraine across various military, financial and political frameworks over the long term.

A second panel discussion followed, focused on the partnership between the European Union and NATO. Major General Gábor Horváth and Mr Jakub Urbanik, EEAS, provided insights into the strengths and limitations of the Euro-Atlantic partnership and addressed key areas of cooperation between the EU and NATO, emphasizing the enduring significance of this partnership in strengthening the security of the European region. The briefers pointed out that 23 EU Member States out of 27 are also NATO Allies, highlighting NATO's pivotal role as the cornerstone of Europe's collective defence, and stressing the importance of cooperation between both institutions to better address the challenges posed by growing strategic competition.

During the third and final panel, Mr Krastio Preslavsky, Deputy Head of Unit at the European Defence Fund, EC, and Mr Linas Linkevičius, from the European Defence Agency, offered insights into the European Defence Fund programme and the EU defence industry, highlighting the EU’s ambition and priorities to strengthen and develop its defence capabilities.

This Field Study 1 programme marks the concluding segment of Study Period A, integrated in the SC 144 and NRCC 31 academic curriculums. Centred on the topic of "Contemporary NATO", this Study Period is focused on understanding the international security framework within which NATO operates, and the key international organizations that play a role in Euro-Atlantic security as well as in the global arena. Course Member Colonel Carlos Enrique Domenech, from the Spanish Air and Space Force, underscored the value of the visit to the Charlemagne building as a highly beneficial complement to the Senior Course study programme. He emphasized the importance for NATO officers of having a sound grasp of the cooperation mechanisms between the EU and NATO, and understanding the role of EU institutions in safeguarding the security of both Europe and partner countries.

NDC Public Affairs Office
(Prepared by Ms Sofia Carvalheiro, PRT C)