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Reinforcing cooperation between NATO and the European Union

04 Mar · 11h10

João Gomes Cravinho, Portuguese Minister of National Defence © Official Twitter account of the Portuguese Ministry of National Defence

This Wednesday, the Minister of National Defence highlighted the major challenges and priorities for cooperation between the EU and NATO and the Strategic Compass at the Interparliamentary Conference on the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) and the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP), an initiative organised by the Parliamentary Dimension of the Portuguese Presidency of the Council of the European Union.


João Gomes Cravinho believes that “cooperation between the European Union and NATO is a national and a European priority and has come to the fore in the Portuguese Presidency of the Council of the EU”. According to the Minister, at a time when we are experiencing conjunctural political changes, with the recently elected President of the United States, Joe Biden, reaffirming his commitment to the Atlantic Alliance, “doors are being opened to strengthening transatlantic relations”.


EU-NATO relations must take factors such as “instability in the European neighbourhood” into account, as well as the weaknesses in the Russian democratic process and destabilisation in Africa, realities that call for a combined response.

“ The EU is a fundamental doorway to friendly relations. These challenges require a humanitarian and a security approach, civil and military instruments, sharing information on threats. ”

João Gomes Cravinho, Portuguese Minister of National Defence

And despite NATO not having a mandate to operate in Africa, “it should help coordinate relations”.

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© Official Twitter account of the Portuguese Ministry of National Defence

Joint priorities

Now that the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation's tactical reflections are underway and the European Union is discussing the Strategic Compass, this could be a good time to define priorities together.


João Gomes Cravinho also suggested creating synergies related to the technological race, the European Defence Fund and maritime safety, “so that the good experiences can continue”, as well as developing mobile military capabilities.


Technological innovation needs to be reinforced in the context of transatlantic relations, aimed too at tackling the weaknesses arising from the exposure of a digital society to external influences, especially when it comes to disinformation and cybersecurity. The Minister of Defence said that “protecting democratic institutions, protecting the strategic economy and improving the capability to resolve complex, pressing issues” are priorities of the Portuguese Presidency.


This session, which was held in the Main Hall of the National Assembly, in Lisbon, also heard from Charles Fries, Deputy Secretary General for the CSDP, and Florence Gaub, Deputy Director of the EU Institute of Security Studies.