NATO’s Enhanced Opportunities Program for Ukraine

2020-07-24 10:14:00 | ID: 58886

The process of Ukraine’s Euro-Atlantic integration has received a new powerful impetus! On June 12th, 2020, the North Atlantic Council has approved a decision to grant our country the status of NATO’s Enhanced Opportunities Partner.

Thus, Ukraine has become a member of a kind of a closed club of partner states, which already includes Australia, Jordan, Georgia, Sweden and Finland.

The Enhanced Opportunities Partnership (EOP) was launched as a part of the Partnership Interoperability Initiative during the NATO Summit in September 2014.

In turn, this initiative was launched by the Alliance a little earlier, in June 2014, in order to maintain and further develop interoperability of NATO member and partner states.

Each EOP member state has its own area of common interest with NATO.

For example, for Georgia it is support for NATO operations, for Jordan and Australia it is support for the Alliance’s interests in the Middle East and the Indo-Pacific region, respectively, for Sweden and Finland it is the deterrence of the Russian Federation in Northern Europe.

To become a NATO’s Enhanced Opportunity Partner, each applying country must meet certain criteria.

First and foremost, it is the amount of its armed forces’ contributions to NATO-led operations and the number of forces and assets identified to participate in Allied operations and exercises, as well as the NATO Response Force duty.

Another important criterion is the intensity of the Partner’s armed forces’ participation in individual and collective training activities conducted by NATO military structures.

In legal terms, one of the key factors is the existence of an agreement with NATO to support the Alliance’s operations and exercises by the host country (so-called Host Nation Support).

The EOP provides both parties (a member state and NATO itself) with practical benefits in further cooperation.

For NATO, among other things, it is increasing its influence on the security situation in regions which are remote from the Alliance’s borders, increasing the number of forces and assets of partners compatible with NATO military formations that can be involved in Alliance operations, as well as providing logistical and other types of support for NATO troops (forces) in the territory of the country with EOP status.

In turn, the participants of this Initiative have the opportunity to deepen cooperation at the political level, including by participating in the discussion of conceptual issues of global and regional security.

So what has Ukraine gained by becoming NATO’s Enhanced Opportunities Partner?

First: Ukraine will be able to participate in the planning of NATO operations;

gain access to all NATO exercises, which will allow to access to best practices and priority certification of forces and assets;

representatives of Ukraine will be able to hold positions at NATO headquarters and command structures;

participation in the Program also provides for deepening cooperation to maintain security in the Black Sea;

The program also provides joint counteraction to cyber threats, international terrorism and organized crime.

Another advantage that is relevant in terms of combating current challenges and threats is the admission of representatives of the state with the EOP to NATO cyber security exercises and the expansion of opportunities to participate in training activities on this topic.

And finally — the intensification of information exchange.

However, this list of benefits is not exhaustive. Additional opportunities can be offered by NATO to each individual EOP member state, depending on national needs.

Granting Ukraine with EOP status was recognition of our country’s significant contribution to NATO’s efforts to maintain international peace and security, the active participation of Ukraine’s representatives in Alliance programs and initiatives, as well as its importance to NATO as a truthful partner.

Currently, with the receipt of Ukraine’s status as EOP partner state, the Armed Forces of Ukraine have begun work on filling the practical content of certain areas to obtain the above mentioned benefits.

In particular, the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine has sent a letter to the Chairman of the NATO Military Committee with the position of the Ukrainian military leadership on this issue.

The next step is the transition to joint work of experts to determine specific forms of future cooperation with NATO within EOP.

Spokesperson: Captain Yulia Schukina, Officer of the Main Directorate for Military Cooperation and Verification of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.