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More and better information sharing key to cooperation between EU and NATO

“The continuing instability in the Middle East and North Africa and the effects of this instability on Europe is a major transatlantic security challenge.” This was the assessment of Magnus Nordenman, Director of the Transatlantic Security Initiative and Deputy Director of the Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security at the Atlantic Council of the United States, at a Friends of Europe Policy Insight on 28 June.

The joint declaration that came out of the 2016 NATO Summit in Warsaw underlined that NATO members must work more closely together in the face of shifting regional and geopolitical priorities in the world.

One of the key issues arising from the declaration and subsequent discussions between EU and NATO members has been information exchange, noted Gábor Iklódy, Director of Crisis Management and Planning Directorate (CMPD) of the European External Action Service (EEAS).

“In discussing the EU-NATO relationship, intelligence sharing is of critical importance,” he said. “As it stands, we have major blockages in this area. The paralysis that has plagued the two organisations for so long is still there.”

Whether this issue is a question of power, trust, culture, or otherwise, it must be dealt with to improve security results in Europe, its southern neighbourhood, and the world.

“We need to be honest about information-sharing,” stressed Teri Schultz, freelance reporter for National Public Radio, CBS and Deutsche Welle. “Even within the EU and NATO there is only a superficial sharing of intelligence between member states. Many countries do not want to pass on useful information even to their own allies.”

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