In the light of a possible Brexit, how do you envisage the future development of the NATO-EU relationship?

Cooperation between NATO and the European Union has become even more important in the wake of the UK referendum. Unity and cooperation are essential to deliver the defence capabilities we need. Our security is interconnected, and today we face security challenges of a magnitude and complexity much greater than only a few years ago. Neither NATO nor the EU are entirely equipped with the tools to tackle these challenges, but together we have the full tool-kit. Our partnership will continue to grow. By working together, we make the most efficient use of our resources.

While it will take time for the consequences of ‘Brexit’ to become clear, the importance of a strong European Union has not changed. NATO provides a platform for transatlantic cooperation and I welcome more cooperation within Europe. The United Kingdom will continue to play an essential role in NATO – and hence in Euro-Atlantic security.

The EU Global Strategy calls for EU defence cooperation to become ‘the norm’. How can NATO support the EU in the enhancement of defence cooperation in Europe?

I welcome the EU Global Strategy. It highlights the importance of a strong European Union and cooperation between the EU and NATO. For decades, NATO has provided a framework and standards for strengthening defence cooperation, ensuring that Allied forces can work together seamlessly. This also helps strengthen the capacities of those Allies who are members of the European Union. I also want to underline that increased defence spending is important for European Allies because without more investments in our security, we will not be able to deliver the capabilities we need in the long-run.

The Warsaw NATO Summit 2016, will it be remembered as the moment when EU-NATO relations and cooperation entered a new era?

Yes. At Warsaw, we took NATO-EU cooperation to a new level. The Joint Declaration we signed will give new impetus and substance to the NATO-EU partnership. It sets out concrete areas for cooperation and outlines measures for implementation. This will enable us to work closer together than ever before.

We will boost our ability to counter hybrid threats, including through timely information sharing, and cooperation on civil preparedness, cyber defence, and strategic communications. Our respective Playbooks on hybrid threats will identify how we interact with each other if our nations come under attack.

To project stability, we both agreed to do more to foster the resilience of our partners, including by strengthening maritime capacity. To strengthen our own defence capabilities, we will expand our coordination on cyber defence, and train our cooperation through linked exercises.

We will also expand our cooperation in the Mediterranean Sea, which will make us more effective in tackling illegal migration, terrorism and other challenges. We agreed, in principle, on a possible NATO role in the Central Mediterranean, to complement or support the EU’s Operation Sophia.

At Warsaw, I also shared with the President of the European Commission NATO’s baseline requirements for national resilience on issues such as energy security, food and water supplies and continuity of government, to enable better coordination.

So at Warsaw, we set out clear ambitions for the future of our relationship with the European Union. The Summit should indeed be remembered as the moment when we took our cooperation to a new level.

At the signing of the EU-NATO Joint Declaration, you said the agreement would allow both organisations to “make the most efficient use of their resources”. Where do you see the biggest potential for complementarity and additional added value?

I would like to see more progress in the areas of maritime security and countering hybrid threats. Both areas offer new opportunities for enhanced cooperation.

On maritime security, we can build on our effective cooperation in the Aegean to cut the lines of human trafficking. At Warsaw, we agreed on a possible NATO role in the Central Mediterranean. This could complement or support the EU’s Operation Sophia, providing a range of capabilities, including Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance. If requested by the European Union, the Alliance is also ready to contribute to the capacity building of the Libyan coastguard and navy.

On countering hybrid threats, we have made great progress. We are sharing more information and have developed Playbooks to increase our resilience to hybrid attacks. But we can do more. Our Joint Declaration sets out our ambition to work together on analysis, prevention and early detection of hybrid threats. Timely information sharing between staffs and cooperation on strategic communications will be a priority. NATO and the EU share twenty-two members, and more than four hundred and fifty million citizens. It is therefore essential that we do not duplicate our efforts and work together to make the most efficient use of our resources.

Both sides also urge to invest the necessary “political capital and resources” to make the Joint Declaration a success. Do you see that the political willingness to advance in this domain is in place? How do we ensure an ambitious implementation?

Yes, there is more political willingness than ever before. It is important to remember that we have concluded more formal arrangements between our organisations in the past six months than in the previous thirteen years. This speaks volumes of the progress we are making.

To ensure the implementation of our Joint Declaration, NATO and EU staff will work together to develop concrete proposals and coordination mechanisms. NATO staff will report their progress to Foreign Ministers by December this year.

In the Warsaw Summit conclusions (par.124), NATO recognises the importance of a stronger and more capable European defence which will lead to a stronger NATO and foster an equitable sharing of the burden, benefits and responsibilities of Alliance membership. In view of this, how could we enhance the present relationship on both sides of the Atlantic, which is purely doctrinal and operational, into also an industrial and technological one?

Through our Joint Declaration at Warsaw, we agreed to facilitate a stronger defence industry and greater industrial cooperation within Europe and across the Atlantic. NATO staff, together with the staff of the European External Action Service, will now work on concrete options for implementation. We expect to review progress later this year.

Signed in the margins of the July NATO Summit in Warsaw, the EU-NATO Joint Declaration is meant to reinvigorate and enhance cooperation between the two organisations. “We believe that the time has come to give new impetus and new substance to the NATO-EU strategic partnership”, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, European Council President Donald Tusk and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg state in the Joint Declaration. The cooperation established more than 15 years ago between NATO and the EU already contributed to this end “but in light of the common challenges we are now confronting, we have to step-up our efforts”, they said. “We need new ways of working together and a new level of ambition. A stronger NATO and a stronger EU are mutually reinforcing. Together they can better provide security in Europe and beyond”. The EEAS and the NATO International Staff, together with Commission services, have been tasked to “develop concrete options for implementation, including appropriate staff coordination mechanisms” to be presented by December 2016. On the EU side, HR/VP Federica Mogherini will steer and coordinate this work.