NATO International Military Staff (IMS) and European Union Military Staff (EUMS) representatives convened yesterday at the EU Military Staff Headquarters for their first meeting of 2014, which was co-chaired by the Directors General (DG) of both organisations. The informal staff-to-staff talks are part of the NATO-EU strategic military dialogue, which has been ongoing since 2003.
In their opening remarks, Air Marshal Sir Christopher Harper (DGIMS) and Lieutenant General Wolfgang Wosolsobe (DGEUMS) stressed the importance of the IMS-EUMS complementarity in order to ensure coherence, mutual reinforcement and non-duplication of effort. During the meeting, the Directors General also encouraged intensified staff-to-staff engagements as these enable NATO and the EU to be aware of one another’s involvement in ongoing operations and policy areas being covered by respective Divisions/Directorates. Commenting on NATO-EU staff relationships, Air Marshal Sir Christopher Harper said: “Our staff-to-staff interaction is positive and allows the appropriate exchange of information and mutual awareness on ongoing issues. In light of this, enhancing complementarity of efforts on issues of common interest improves the NATO-EU strategic partnership.”
Wrapping up the discussions, Lieutenant General Wolfgang Wosolsobe stated that both organisations had one 'reservoir' of capabilities that belonged to Allies and Member States alike and synergising capability development and standardisation was key to both organisations. Air Marshal Sir Christopher Harper concluded by stating that “key players in the security and defence arena have to ensure their overlapping interests are addressed in a complementary and mutually beneficial way. These routine informal meetings are the backbone of achieving such understanding between the respective military staffs.”