Columbia International Affairs Online: Working Papers

CIAO DATE: 07/2008

EU and NATO: Co-operation or Competition?

Dr Paul Cornish

October 2006

Chatham House


This paper argues that while there have been practical achievements in NATO-EU co-operation, the realisation of a mature and efficient security relationship is hostage to the illusion of a 'grand bargain'; agreement at the highest political levels on the purposes and character of transatlantic security co-operation.

In order to create a virtuous circle of efficient and mutually supportive co-existence between NATO and the EU, the solution must be to abandon the pursuit of a 'grand bargain' and concentrate instead on achieving what is actually required to meet predicted security risks and challenges. In time, the practice of 'learning by doing' might even lubricate the highly politicised transatlantic security debate which has for so many years proved to be an impediment to effective co-operation.