By Jim Garamone
/ Published December 05, 2017
Foreign ministers from Europe and North America will examine new ways to increase the interoperability between NATO and the European Union as they meet in Brussels this week.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will join his fellow foreign ministers for meetings at NATO headquarters. The foreign ministers also are preparing for the alliance's July summit in Brussels, Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said this morning.
Evolving Security Landscape
“In a constantly evolving security landscape, NATO’s partnership with the European Union is more important than ever,” the secretary general said before the meeting. “So we will begin with a meeting on NATO-EU relations and European defense.”
Federica Mogherini, the European Union's high representative and vice president, and representatives from Finland and Sweden will join in the discussions, Stoltenberg said. “I expect we will agree to take NATO-EU cooperation to a new level,” he added. “Our forces must be able to move more quickly and easily. So NATO and the EU will aim to make military mobility a flagship and a priority for our cooperation.”
The alliance and the European Union will also examine better ways to share information to counter terrorist threats, the secretary general said.
The foreign ministers also will address global security challenges to include North Korea. “Last week’s ballistic missile launch showed once again Pyongyang’s reckless disregard for international security,” Stoltenberg said. “And we must apply maximum international pressure in order to achieve a peaceful solution.”
Progress Against ISIS
The foreign ministers will discuss the alliance's goal of projecting stability and fighting terrorism, he said, noting progress in the fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.
“We will assess our training and capacity building support for partners like Iraq and Jordan,” he added. “The coalition has made significant progress. More than 95 percent of the territory once held by ISIS in Iraq and Syria has been liberated. But this does not mean an end to the threat. As the coalition moves from combat operations to stabilization, we will consider how NATO’s contribution should evolve.”
The foreign ministers will hold a meeting of the NATO-Georgia Commission, where they will review the security situation and the country’s ongoing reforms. These reforms are bringing the nation closer to joining NATO.
Stoltenberg said the alliance partnership with Georgia is outstanding. “Our forces serve side by side in Afghanistan and train side by side in Georgia,” the secretary general said. “We will conclude with a meeting on NATO’s Open Door policy and how we can best support the countries which aspire for NATO membership.”