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Cathy writes to Anders Fogh: let's strengthen our ties

Ashton and Rasmussen at their previous meeting in May. (NATO)

They never leave each other! Anders Fogh and Cathy. Cathy and Anders Fogh. They saw each other in Brussels last week. They meet again on Friday in Lisbon (1)... And when they don't see each other, they write to each other...

The High Representative of the EU has just written to her alter ego at NATO to assure him of the desire to strengthen ties between the two organizations. Approach in accordance with the mandate it received from the 2 at the European Summit in September (27). The two organizations are in fact present on certain common grounds such as Kosovo, Afghanistan, the Somali coasts and in Bosnia-Herzegovina.

According to the text that I was able to read, Cathy Ashton thus confides the “great importance” which she is committed to ensuring that EU-NATO relations evolve. A series of "concrete proposals” were presented last February, including regular meetings at several levels (3). And joint work was decided on two practical subjects: medical support for operations and homemade bombs (IED). The aim is also for the EU police mission in Afghanistan (EUPOL) to work in “close cooperation” with the NATO training mission for the training of civil police.

Building a relationship of trust around Turkey and Cyprus

But the main problem weighing on the two organizations remains to be resolved: the absence of relations between Turkey and Cyprus. Rather prickly. As Cathy Ashton says “We both have the ambition to do more and must work closely with Cyprus and Turkey to identify all possible paths on both sides.".

The idea, according to someone familiar with the matter, is to engage in “trust building” (confidence building) between the two enemy countries. And to find little by little the paths of reason. Or as Cathy Ashton writes, “Our goal is to find practical solutions to the broad structural problems that have hampered the development of a genuine organization-to-organization relationship between the EU and NATO without discrimination between NATO allies. NATO and EU Member States”. In other words, it is not a question of one making the effort and the other none, as one had the impression of listening to Rasmussen, who was rather verbose on the question (3).

(1) Cathy Ashton participates in the NATO meeting followed by an informal dinner of Foreign Ministers

(2) Cathy will receive a mandate from the “27? to negotiate with NATO

(3) Read also:

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).