EU-NATO: 9th progress report stresses the importance of ever closer cooperation at a key juncture for Euro-Atlantic security

The Council today took note of the ninth progress report on the implementation of the 74 common proposals endorsed by the EU and NATO Councils on 6 December 2016 and 5 December 2017.

The current challenges to international peace and stability – such as Russia’s unprovoked and unjustified war of aggression against Ukraine, the war in Gaza, but also other crisis and tensions at the European Union’s neighbourhood and beyond – make the transatlantic bond and close EU-NATO cooperation more important than ever.

The two organisations continue to play complementary, coherent and mutually-reinforcing roles in supporting international peace and security to the benefit of all EU member states and NATO allies, with a view to upholding and promoting the shared values and interests of the Euro-Atlantic community.

The report highlights and elaborates on the tangible progress achieved between June 2023 and May 2024 across the entire spectrum of EU-NATO cooperation agenda, underpinned by a continued robust political dialogue, such as:

countering hybrid threats: the EU and NATO strengthened cooperation in response to threats of disruption of critical infrastructure, civil emergencies, resilience and counter terrorism. They exchanged real-time insights, reports and analysis on hostile information activities and Foreign Information Manipulation and Interference (FIMI), including disinformation
operational cooperation, including maritime issues: the first ever talks on operational cooperation took place in June 2023, focusing on land and sea operations and missions, crisis management engagements and advance planning. The second iteration was held in March 2024 with exchanges focusing on missions in the Western Balkans and the Middle East/North Africa, crisis management engagements and crisis response
cyber security and defence: engagement between the EU and NATO intensified, as reflected by the decision to upgrade the annual high-level staff talks on cyber security and defence to a Structured Dialogue on Cyber. Discussions also covered possible synergies among respective tools to address malicious cyber activities. The EU and NATO continued to coordinate cyber capacity building in the Western Balkans and other partners
defence capabilities: Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine and its implications have underscored the importance to ensure rapid and seamless movement of military forces and materiel. The Structured Dialogue on Military Mobility continued to serve as an effective tool for focused staff discussions on shared priorities and respective work strands, such as military requirements, transport infrastructure, transport of dangerous goods, customs, cross-border movement permissions and relevant exercises, and host nation support
defence industries and research: both organisations continued consultations on wider defence industries matters and concrete topics related to industry engagement and support. Staff coordination also continued on the implementation of NATO’s Defence Production Action Plan and the establishment of the NATO Defence Industrial Production Board, as well as on the development of the European Defence Industrial Strategy and the European Defence Industry Programme.
exercises: cooperation in the area of exercises contributed to increasing the resilience and preparedness of both organisations and their respective memberships. After the successful conclusion of the agreed Plan for Implementation of Parallel and Coordinated Exercises (PACE) in the 2022-2023 period, both organisations agreed to extend the PACE concept for the period 2024-2025
defence and security capacity building: following Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine, both organisations have stepped up their respective efforts in support of Ukraine, the Republic of Moldova, Georgia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Jordan, Tunisia, and Mauritania. At the annual Staff Talks in May 2024, the two organizations agreed to continue their regular exchanges and cross-briefings both in Brussels and local level to enhance coordination and leverage potential synergies
political dialogue: intensive political dialogue between the EU and NATO at all levels remains indispensable for further strengthening mutual understanding, building confidence, ensuring reciprocal transparency, as well as reinforcing the strong engagement of all EU member states and NATO allies. Mutual invitations to relevant high level ministerial meetings, public events, cross-briefings and well-established staff dialogues continued at a high pace. This political dialogue continues to underpin the well-established cooperation and contributes to further strengthening the EU-NATO strategic partnership
The EU and NATO remain firmly committed to further strengthen, deepen and expand their mutually reinforcing and beneficial cooperation by exploring avenues for further collaboration across all existing work strands.