EU-NATO relations are stagnating while the alliance goes through an identity crisis and the EU makes slow progress on the path towards a European Defence and Security Policy.
The “participation problem” caused by Turkish-Cypriot bilateral disagreement is often named as the root of difficulties in cooperation between NATO and EU. Nevertheless some commentators stress that this issue may also be seen as a convenient excuse to avoid any serious attempts to address strategic internal divergences between allies. Nonetheless, both the civilian and military staffs in the two organisations work to try and overcome these differences through pragmatic and intensive cooperation on a daily basis.
The current economic crisis, and the pressure it is exerting on defence budgets, is a major incentive for decision-makers to seek improvements in cooperation and find new synergies through pooling and sharing military capabilities.