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When JMB (European Commission) meets JHS (NATO), what do they say to each other?

(B2) Make a “extra effort in Afghanistan“. Listen “more Russia on European security“. Let’s solve “the Turkish-Cypriot question” which poisons relations between our two organizations. Let us consult “on the future of Ukraine and Georgia in our two organizations… Here are some of the subjects – among others – which were discussed during a breakfast between JMB – José-Manuel Barroso, the President of the European Commission -, and JHS – Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, the Secretary General of NATO, which took place on Monday. At least what I was able to find out. Because this type of meeting is often very discreet and nothing really filters through…

Afghanistan. . NATO, which is increasing its military presence in Afghanistan, intends for this effort to also be followed by a civilian effort. “The EU, which does a lot for the country, should also find the means to do more” explained the NATO Secretary General. On the Commission side, we recalled all the effort already made (NB: the EU has already committed 2007 million euros for Afghanistan for the period 2010-610 – including 200 million euros for support to the reform and strengthening of the police and justice). But we could consider “commit to financing the preparation of elections” (in August) we explain. The amount remains undetermined at this time. This would involve financing the preparation of elections and infrastructure. An electoral assistance or surveillance mission could also be carried out. But this question is still under discussion, “there are security issues…” the Commission believes.

EU-NATO cooperation. This cooperation “presents successes but also some difficulties” we assure NATO, particularly with the Cypriot questions (member of the EU but not
NATO) and Turkey (member of NATO and not the EU) which block a number of exchanges between the two organizations. The NATO SG seems to have asked for help from the Commission to do a little
pressure on the Cypriot. And allow to unblock this heavy question.

Ukraine and Georgia. The two countries – ex-Soviet – are knocking on the doors of the two organizations. So he was “necessary to have an exchange of views, to cross-reference our information on the
says a witness. Indeed, there are some common criteria between membership of NATO and the EU – even if the two organizations are different: democracy, stability, political pluralism, open economy, respect for human rights… The result seems clear: these two countries do not meet the criteria. But we must do everything to stabilize them, anchor them to Europe, which also implies freeing them from too much Russian influence. Through the neighborhood policy for the EU, through a strengthened partnership for NATO.

European security. José-Manuel Barroso stressed to his interlocutor the need to “do not isolate"Russia, to carefully consider Medvedev's proposal on European security, to see what they can propose, to "do not refuse dialogue".

Last “detail” which is important: José-Manuel Barroso, who was present at the NATO summit in Bucharest, would also like to be present at the one in Strasbourg-Kehl where the question of Afghanistan will also be addressed. A question of logic of skills… but also of prestige… and political necessity. JMB, who is a candidate for a second term, does not want to miss the opportunity to find himself on an equal footing with the Heads of State and Government in what promises to be a “great European celebration”. He, who was a “bushite” from the start, also wants to make up for it by being present alongside Obama.

The only subject that has not been addressed is the possible application de Jaap de Hoop Scheffer to the post of High Representative for the EU (which must meet the assent of the future president of the EU). My interlocutors swore it to me, hand on heart and… smile on their lips!


(Photo: European Commission, JSH and JSB during a previous meeting in 2007).

Nicolas Gros Verheyde

Chief editor of the B2 site. Graduated in European law from the University of Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne and listener to the 65th session of the IHEDN (Institut des Hautes Etudes de la Défense Nationale. Journalist since 1989, founded B2 - Bruxelles2 in 2008. EU/NATO correspondent in Brussels for Sud-Ouest (previously West-France and France-Soir).

One thought on “When JMB (European Commission) meets JHS (NATO), what do they say to each other?"

  • What do MEPs think of this type of exchange?

    Since when is the President of the European Commission entitled to engage the institution over which he presides in direct relations, independently of the Council, with the Secretary-General of a politico-military organization of which neither the European Union nor the European Community are not members?

    As for the candidacy for the post of High Representative for the ESDP, the European Parliament will obviously have its say! And all the more so if the Lisbon Treaty ends up coming into force! It is still allowed to dream…

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