What has been the biggest added-value or lesson learnt of the first CARD, from your perspective?
The CARD process has already proved to be a crucial instrument in providing us with a comprehensive state of play regarding cooperation in developing defence capabilities, as well as a pathfinder for the implementation of EU priorities.
Taking the next step to increase convergence between national defence plans and EU collective endeavours requires a gradual synchronisation and mutual adaptation of defence planning processes and enhance our capability development practices.
At the same time, ensuring complementarity and avoiding duplications between CARD, as well as the Capability Development Plan (CDP), and respective NATO processes, such as the NATO Defence Planning Process (NDPP), is key for the fulfilment of our efforts.
With the first CARD report on the table, it is now the right moment to assess the implementation and achievements of the CARD process and look at the challenges awaiting us in the short and medium term.
Given the role expected to be played by CARD, this would probably be the main EU vehicle to harmonise and synchronise the process of addressing the shortfalls, and this should be duly synchronised with the NDPP.
In concrete terms, how does your country intend to use the CARD findings and recommendations?
Romania remains keen on making progress to better integrate EU initiatives and processes into the national defence planning system. Beyond the harmonisation of the planning processes we are also seeking coherence of output in concrete terms, demonstrating that the complementarity of efforts also covers projects which deliver results, in particular those developing capabilities under the PESCO framework.
We strongly believe that, through CARD, we could contribute to delivering on the agreed capability priorities, recognising shortfalls and identifying all necessary measures to be taken in order to mitigate their effects.
What is crucial is to establish the output-oriented link between these efforts as the pieces completing the puzzle that will lead to real progress: more effective European defence cooperation which supports Member States to develop the capabilities they really need, together.
As I mentioned earlier, we see the challenge of ensuring coherent capability development which takes into account the trans-Atlantic dimension. With 21 EU Member States in NATO, we have to ensure that EU and NATO defence planning processes are mutually reinforcing and provide a coherent output.
With the first CARD report delivered, are we moving closer to a Europe of Defence?
In our view, defence initiatives (PESCO, CARD, EDF) set a new level of ambition for the EU in taking greater responsibility for its own defence. These initiatives represent key cooperation tools for a more coherent European landscape of defence capabilities and an integrated approach.
Although the CARD process is quite young and has a positive collective dynamic, we are now more committed to further focus our efforts on embedding the EU defence initiatives into national defence planning processes and to making better use of these tools.
With the results of the first full CARD cycle delivered, Ministers of Defence now have for the first time a full and comprehensive overview of the entire European defence landscape in order to decide what future steps can be made to transform our joint efforts into a more efficient output.
In this context, we expect to see different pieces of the larger picture coming together and getting a new impetus in the efforts to consolidate the EU’s role on security and defence. From this perspective we consider the time is ripe to enter a new phase in implementing European defence initiatives and achieve better integration.
To conclude, I want to express the belief that strengthening our cooperation will further contribute to reaching the EU Level of Ambition and to consolidate the EU-NATO strategic partnership.