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European Union and NATO: Transforming the transatlantic partnership

Author(s): Siriški Sofija

Journal: Medjunarodni Problemi
ISSN 0025-8555

Volume: 55;
Issue: 2;
Start page: 186;
Date: 2003;
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Constructive and cooperative European Union and NATO relations are very important for global stability. But today transatlantic relation are in crisis and there is some evidence that the growing number of the disputes, including over Iraq, the Israel-Palestine conflict, dealing with "rogue states" and terrorism, are having a major impact on European foreign and security policy, and even the process of European integration. NATO adapted well after the end of the Cold War but since September 11th, however, NATO has faced something of an existential crisis. The US chose to fight the Afghan and Iraq war largely on its own, alongside European allies. Many American are stressing that NATO can only remain relevant if it is prepared and able to tackle pressing international terrorism and the spread of weapons of mass destruction. To safeguard NATO's future role the US has proposed that the European allies should help to develop a Rapid Response Force inside NATO. It wants the EU to provide troops that would be able to operate alongside America's forces. European, meanwhile, have their own set of concerns. The EU has no concept of how to deal with the world's only superpower. Too often there is a preference for bilateral as opposed to EU channels, and because of that the EU urgently needs a security strategy. The lack of a coherent EU foreign policy also inhibits the ability of the EU and if the Europeans can build a more coherent foreign policy, the US will have a greater interest in listening to what they say. EU leaders also need to assess the suitability of the EU's military doctrine and institutions for the challenges it faces. The transformation of transatlantic co-operation requires changes on both sides. Differences between the US and Europe exist but they should not be exaggerated. What is needed is to broaden the transatlantic dialogue to include the critical security challenges for both sides.
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