Romania - NATO

NATO-EU: A Strategic Partnership

Romania has been a constant advocate for the development of a strong partnership between NATO and the EU in order for their policies and actions to achieve multiplying effects. In the context of the NATO – EU cooperation, a number of defining principles are of utmost importance such as complementarity, avoiding duplications, transparency, as well as the decision-making autonomy.  For a strong cooperation, it is also important to fully involve the non-EU Allies. The deepened and multidimensional cooperation between the two organizations is essential in a constantly evolving complex security environment, in order for both of them to respond to the challenges of the XXIst century as well as the citizens’ expectations in particular those relating to security and prosperity. In fact, both organizations are interested in ensuring the international stability and security and actively contribute through the various instruments at their disposal. From a national perspective, the cooperation between the two partners is crucial and natural (given the extensive dual membership in both organizations - 22 NATO members belong also to the EU). The interaction and cooperation between the two partners also needs to be closely linked to the developments in the international arena given that adaptability and a quick response are essential in managing crises situations, but also for maintaining credibility.
In the last few years, especially since 2016, the NATO – EU cooperation has been given a new impulse. In February 2016 the two organizations signed a technical agreement to cooperate in the cyber domain (NATO Computer Incident Response Capability (NCIRC) and the EU Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-EU) respectively), while in March 2016 NATO (MARCOM) and FRONTEX (EU) signed operational and tactical arrangements. The latter are useful particularly in the case of the NATO Aegean activity.
This upward trend was reconfirmed at the Warsaw Summit (8-9 July 2016) when the Allied leaders underlined that the EU remains a unique and essential partner of NATO. It was also in Warsaw, in the same context, that a Joint Declaration signed by the leadership of the two organizations was published, meant to give new impetus to the strategic partnership, by concentrating on obtaining results in 7 main areas: countering hybrid threats, including by bolstering resilience; operational cooperation including maritime issues; cyber security and defence; defence capabilities; defence industry and research; exercises; defence and security capacity-building especially in the Eastern and Southern Neighbourhood. The political dialogue will remain essential, of course, for the implementation of the Warsaw Joint Declaration and the continued development of the NATO – EU strategic partnership.
In December 2016, the two organizations made further progress in implementing the Joint Declaration by agreeing a common set of 42 measures connected to the 7 priority areas identified in the document from Warsaw. Among the common measures can be found those related to bolstering resilience to hybrid threats, the cooperation in the operational domain between NATO’s Sea Guardian and EU’s Sophia in the Mediterranean, the exchange of information on cyber threats, the ensuring of coherence and complementarity in each other’s defence planning processes, organizing parallel and coordinated exercises (PACE), supporting the local capacities of partner countries in the security and defence domains.
In December 2017, the two organizations agreed a second common set of 32 measures, including in 3 new areas: military mobility to ensure that forces and equipment can be moved quickly across Europe if needed; counter-terrorism (CT); promoting women’s role in peace and security (WPS). In the context of the Brussels Summit (11-12th of July 2018) relations between NATO and the EU have continued to progress significantly. Prior to the event itself, the leadership of the two organizations signed on the 10th of July 2018 a new Joint Declaration (following the initial one from Warsaw in 2016), through which it is reconfirmed the commitment to continue to develop the partnership, as well as highlighting 4 domains where efforts will be stepped up – military mobility, countering terrorism, strengthening resilience to chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear-related risks, and promoting the women peace and security agenda. It also encourages the fullest involvement of all the members of the two organizations in the various initiatives they undertake. Furthermore, it reiterates that capabilities in the defence sector should be developed in a coherent, complementary and interoperable manner. The full text is available at the following link ( The NATO – EU partnership has also been reflected in the Brussels Summit Communique ( as well as the Brussels Declaration on Transatlantic Security and Solidarity ( To keep track of the progress made, the two organizations also release reports on the implementation of the common measures. So far there have been 4 reports presented and they can be accessed at the following links:

Furthermore, NATO and the EU cooperate extensively in the operational domain as well. In February 2016, Allied defence ministers decided to send ships in the Aegean Sea to assist Greece, Turkey as well as FRONTEX (EU), in order to ensure a response to the challenges related to human trafficking and irregular migration. In October 2016, the Allied defence ministers decided that NATO’s new operation Sea Guardian should support the EU operation Sophia in the Central Mediterranean, in order to increase EU’s situational awareness and provide logistical support. NATO and the EU are also operationally involved in the Western Balkans. Thus, in Kosovo, NATO is present with operation KFOR, whereas the EU is involved through its EULEX mission. In Bosnia and Herzegovina, the EU is involved by means of operation EUFOR Althea (the only operation undertaken on the basis of the Berlin Plus arrangements, which allow access for the EU to NATO’s planning expertise as well as its assets and capabilities), whereas NATO has its own HQ in Sarajevo and is advising the local authorities on reforming the defence structures. NATO and the EU also have a history of cooperation in Afghanistan or in fighting piracy off the Horn of Africa. Furthermore, NATO and the EU are helping other partners, too, such as Ukraine, Georgia, Republic of Moldova, through the broad spectrum of instruments at their disposal. Republic of Moldova has been identified as a pilot country in the first common set of measures in terms of defence and security capacity building.
From a NATO standpoint, it is also important for the EU initiatives in the security and defence (Permanent Structured Cooperation/PESCO, Coordinated Annual Review in Defence/CARD, European Defence Fund/EDF), meant to develop and strengthen the Union’s capabilities, to be complementary and coherent with the Alliance’s activities. This aspect is all the more important given that member states have only a single set of forces. Romania supports and is involved in the EU initiatives, and considers that they can help to ensure a fairer burden sharing when it comes to responsibilities.

During the 1st semester of 2019, Romania is holding the rotating EU Presidency, and among the defined priorities there is also the strengthening of the EU – NATO relations.

The NATO EU Framework for cooperation
NATO and the EU have developed a strategic partnership based on the political principles contained in the NATO-EU Declaration on a European Security and Defence Policy (ESDP) from 16th of December 2002: mutual consultations, respect for equality, autonomous decision-making and interests of member states, coherent, transparent and mutually reinforcing development of military capabilities. These principles have become operational with the adoption of the 'Berlin Plus' arrangements in 2003 which set the framework for cooperation in crisis management: in situations where NATO decides not to engage, the EU can undertake to act, with the former putting at its disposal resources and capabilities, including with regard to command and control and operational planning. Meantime, the EU has developed its own crisis management capabilities under the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP). Through CSDP, the EU is running numerous civilian and military missions and operations. In some cases (Central Mediterranean, Aegean Sea, Kosovo, Bosnia and Herzegovina), NATO and the EU are involved in the same theatre but at different levels.
The new Strategic Concept adopted at the Lisbon Summit in 2010 recognized the EU as an essential NATO partner in ensuring the euro-atlantic security. Also, NATO features prominently in the EU Global Strategy adopted by the European Council in June 2016, the Alliance being recognized as a privileged partner, while the EU states its determination to continue deepening the relations between the two actors.
At the Warsaw Summit (8-9th of July 2016) the leadership of NATO and the EU signed a Joint Declaration which contains 7 main areas of interest. Subsequently, in December 2016, NATO Foreign Affairs Ministers issued a Statement regarding the implementation of the July 2016 Joint Declaration, which includes a common set of 42 measures to substantiate the 7 priority areas.
In December 2017, the two organizations have agreed a second common set of 32 measures, including in three new domains such as military mobility, counter-terrorism (CT) and promoting women’s role in peace and security (WPS). On July the 10th, just prior to the Summit in Brussels (11-12th of July 2018), the leadership of both organizations signed a new Joint Declaration building on the progress of the last few years, detailed above. 

December 2019


NATO Secretary General highlights Romania’s contributions to Euro-Atlantic security


Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg underscored Romania’s valued contributions to NATO in a meeting with Prime Minister Ludovic…

Joint press point with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and the Prime Minister of Romania, Ludovic Orban


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Visit to NATO by the Prime Minister of Romania


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