160616eda400The NATO-EU Capability Group, established in 2003, addresses common capability shortfalls and ensures the coherence and mutual reinforcement of NATO and EU capability development efforts.

On 16 June, the European Parliament subcommittee on security and defence (SEDE) held an exchange of views on the EU-NATO capability development cooperation with Jorge Domecq, Chief Executive of the European Defence Agency, and General Denis Mercier, Supreme Allied Commander Transformation.

Jorge Domecq highlighted in his speech the partnership between the EU and NATO, "Twenty two EU Members are Allies. We need to ensure that the differences in membership do not become more significant than the similarities. There is a need to continue our close dialogue to ensure complementarity of work. Due to our single set of forces, we cannot afford unnecessary duplication – especially in the field of programmes." Mr Domecq furthermore stressed the significant strategic overlap between the two organisations, especially regarding crisis management, conflict prevention and peacekeeping. However, while complementarity was important, the EU needed sufficient freedom of action in defence. "That is why EU Member States should support initiatives in EDA to support the development of capabilities to face the whole spectrum of challenges we face in the changing security environment, including the protection of EU citizens."

General Mercier stressed in his intervention that cooperation between NATO and the EU was "no longer a question of choice, but a question of will", and continued, "I believe we have no other choice but to leverage the competencies of each organisation and make the most of limited resources." Regarding cooperation with the EDA, General Mercier noted that closer collaboration could bring tangible proposals: "I can assure you that ACT and EDA have already started working together and intend to deliver practical areas of cooperation in the coming months." General Mercier concluded his intervention considering "The collaboration of our two entities could also help synchronise national innovation efforts, including those developed in the United States, in order to keep the highest level of interoperability in the future."