Turkey drops veto on EU-NATO defence agreement

Turkey and NATO have reached an agreement which will give EU rapid reaction forces access to NATO’s military assets

The understanding of 29 May paves the way for an EU-NATO
agreement, which has been blocked by Turkey for months. The
agreement, which is still subject to the EU’s approval, will give
the Union access to NATO’s military planning capabilities.

The deal is a result of secret diplomatic
negotiations between British, US and Turkish diplomats in Istanbul
ahead of the NATO meeting, and of intense talks at the foreign
ministers meeting in Budapest.

However, the EU will only have free access to
NATO’s non-strategic assets. It will have to obtain NATO’s consent
to use strategic assets, such as intelligence, command and control
structures, or fuel pipelines, which would give Turkey the right to
veto.

 

Turkey reached an understanding with the North Atlantic
Treaty Organisation at the NATO foreign ministers meeting in
Budapest on 29 May that would give the European Union access to
NATO's assets for the European rapid reaction force operations. The
agreement would oblige the EU to consult the six non-EU NATO
members, but will not give them a decision-making role which Turkey
had demanded.

 

Turkey has been blocking the agreement between the EU and
NATO on military planning for months. Ankara insisted that access
to NATO's planning capability be granted to EU on case-by-case
basis and not permanently as the Union requested.

The EU has proposed that candidate countries who
want to participate in the European security and defence policy be
consulted, but not involved in decision-making. Turkey rejected
this and demanded a decision-making role, which is unacceptable for
the Union.

 

The EU hopes that it will be possible to reach an agreement
with Turkey before the European Summit in Gothenburg of 15 and 16
June so that a permanent arrangement between the EU and NATO can be
finalised. The 13 June NATO Summit in Brussels is an occasion to
progress on this issue.

 

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