by Fabrizio W. LUCIOLLI, President of the Atlantic Treaty Association and Italian Atlantic Committee during the ATA Conference “NATO-EU Cooperation after the Warsaw Summit: Countering Hybrid Warfare” at the European Parliament, Burssels
16 November 2016
As President of the Atlantic Treaty Association it is for me a great honor to introduce this relevant initiative that brings together NATO and EU with the aim to foster the cooperation in countering Hybrid Warfare.
In this perspective, the Joint Declaration adopted last July in Warsaw has provided a new impetus and new substance to the NATO-EU strategic partnership, which is essential to effectively address the new hybrid threats and the challenges of the present insecurity scenario.
The yesterday remarks by the High Representative/Vice-President Federica Mogherini – at the press conference following the Foreign Affairs Council (Defence) – outlined the extraordinary work for the first time jointly conducted by the EU and NATO on a European Defense and Security Package, producing 40 concrete proposals concerning all the 7 areas of action foreseen by the Joint Declaration: first and foremost hybrid threats and cyber defense as well as maritime security.
Strenghtening partnership between the European Union and NATO is also a way to stenghten transatlantic relations … a key committment and an absolute priority, declared Mogherini.
This is particularly true after the US Presidential elections and on the eve of a relevant cycle of European ones.
In this respect, I would like to refer to an editorial published by Le Figaro where it is written that, Of late, a legend, that has even reached the other side of the Atlantic, is spreading. A legend according to which the United States and the European Nations, despite the pact that bind them, despite the solidarity imposed by their common destiny, are divided by profound divergences.
Actually, this sentence that perfectly applies to the present days, has been published by Le Figaro on the 10th May 1951 and authored by Raymond Aron, a true European and a true Atlanticist. It tell us that as member of an Alliance we share common destiny and values, as well as the freedom of evaluation and discussion. Important debates characterized the life of the transatlantic relationship few years later the foundation of NATO and in every decade of its history (Suez crisis, Vietnam war, Euromissiles, Balkan crises).
Nevertheless, Mark Twain reminds us that History doesn’t repeat itself, although sometimes does rhymes. In fact, while the breath of the Cold War is back, the elegant simplicities of the bipolar world are gone, disclosing today a much more complex insecurity scenario.
In the Nineties the question to be answered was Why NATO? At present, the discussion is Why NATO … is not doing more?
Moreover, the threats and challenges NATO and the EU have to face are today of different nature and difficult to be predicted. The free democracies of the Euro-Atlantic community are surrounded by new threats and instabilities originating with uprecedented speed both from the East and from the South, therefore challenging the decision making process of our institutions and requiring NATO to adopt a 360° strategic posture.
Moreover, terrorism, hybrid warfare, cyber-attacks, as well as illegal migration, climate change, need to be tackled by new effective means unlike the military one.
In this respect, NATO and EU members have different perceptions of these new security threats, therefore weakening the transatlantic cohesion and solidarity.
In these circumstances, the Euro-Atlantic community appears unable to fully exploit NATO, the EU, and the multilateral organizations in order to promote deep consultations aimed at coordinating an effective strategy and a robust policy to successfully address the new security threats.
As a consequence, the Euro-Atlantic community is today often re-acting instead of taking action with vision and a comprehensive strategy.
The risk of the present situation was very clear sixty years ago when it was released a relevant strategic Report on the Non- military Cooperation in NATO. The Report was made by a Committee of Three ministers of foreign affairs: Minister Gaetano Martino (IT) Chairman, another true European and a true Atlanticist, Halvard Lange (NW) and Lester B. Pearson (CA). The Report states that (§ 29) NATO has not been destroyed, or even weakened, by the threats or attacks of its enemies. It has faltered at times through the lethargy or complacency of its members: through dissension or division between them; by putting narrow national considerations above the collective interest.
This was true yesterday and it is particularly true in the present time, where (§ 36) No state, however powerful, can guarantee its security and its welfare by national action alone.
The need for a deeper cooperation between NATO and EU beyond the defense dimension, on the political, economic and cultural domain, is particularly necessary to develop a comprehensive strategy and approach to cope with the multifaceted dimensions of the new security threats as the hybrid ones.
The farsighted Report on the Non-Military Cooperation in NATO outlines as (§ 15) security is today far more than a military matter. The strengthening of political consultation and economic cooperation, the development of resources, progress in education and public understanding, all these can be as important, or even more important, for the protection of the security of a nation, or an alliance, as the building of a battleship or the equipping of an army.
Finally, (§40) The moves towards Atlantic cooperation and European unity should be parallel and complementary, not competitive or conflicting.
As already mentioned by the 1956 Report of the Committee of Three, ATA plays a major role in promoting a better understanding of the Alliance and its enduring values.
To this end, ATA represents, since more than 60 years, an extraordinary forum, able to translate security needs in concrete achievements by effective actions in the field of information, education, training, civilian preparedness and international cooperation, involving decision makers, officials, experts, relevant industries, and qualified representatives of the civil societies and of the successor generations, and promoting, coordinating and organizing an average of 500 initiatives per year in 37 NATO member and Partner countries and beyond.
Recalling the lessons of the Three Wise Men and looking to the future, ATA is prepared to assume an increased commitment, and is ready to effectively use its network of political leaders, military officers, key opinion formers, academics, as well as its extraordinary youth branch, to strenghten the transatlantic relations and enhance solidarity.
Is in this spirit that I am glad to give the floor to the NATO Assistant Secretary General, Amb. Tacan Ildem, for his keynote speech.