On 10 June 2022, the Director General of the NATO International Military Staff (IMS), Lieutenant General Hans-Werner Wiermann welcomed his counterpart from the European Union Military Staff (EUMS), Vice Admiral Hervé Bléjean and his staff to NATO HQ for the bi-annual IMS-EUMS Directors’ General Conference.
Opening the 17th iteration of the conference, Lieutenant General Wiermann highlighted the importance NATO-EU cooperation, especially in the current security environment. “NATO’s partnership with the European Union is stronger than ever before, and it is even more important at this critical moment for European security. NATO and the EU, not only, stand united against President Putin’s war in Ukraine but we are also coordinating closely our responses to Russia’s actions and our support to Ukraine”, he stressed.
The meeting started with a progress report on ongoing tasks, namely in the areas of crisis management, medical evacuation and cooperation, as well as gender perspectives, cyber defence and emerging disruptive technologies. “The COVID pandemic demonstrated a requirement for better coordination in the area of crisis management, especially when it relates to medical emergencies. Being better prepared will only benefit both our organisations”, highlighted Vice Admiral Bléjean.
The next session focused on the Federated Mission Networking (FMN), which allows participating nations and entities to connect their forces, enhancing their interoperable command capability and ultimately, increasing operational effectiveness. The FMN Framework currently consists of 37 participating Nations and several other entities, including NATO and the EU, who participate to varying degrees. The second part of the meeting focused on a variety of open discussions, including on enhancing cooperation in gender perspectives, emerging and disruptive technologies, cyber security as well as reciprocal exercise participation.
Closing the conference, Lieutenant General Wiermann and Vice Admiral Bléjean underlined the importance of continuous interaction between the two Staffs, pursuing complementarity and shared interests to enhance Euro-Atlantic security. “Given the challenges from the East and from the South, time is ripe to further enhance NATO-EU engagement, especially in light of the strategic reviews both organizations are undertaking”, concluded Lieutenant General Wiermann. The EU has already presented its new Strategic Compass, while Allied Heads of State and Government will approve NATO’s Strategic Concept at the upcoming Summit in Madrid.
The IMS-EUMS Conference is held twice a year enabling deeper dialogue and cooperation between EU and NATO military staffs. It is organised in turn at the premises of the EU or NATO.