Ms. Teri Schultz thank you for your time and for agreeing to talk with us about the relationship between NATO and European Union. It is a big pleasure for us to conduct this interview.
1. After France blocked the start of EU accession negotiations for Albania and North Macedonia, the Russian Permanent Representative to the EU Vladimir Chizhov has immediately invited the both countries to join the Eurasian Economic Union. Do you think that the decision of France will lead the Balkan countries to sign an agreement with Russia and to definitely threat the stability of NATO?
Ms. Teri Schultz: I don’t think either Albania or North Macedonia will move closer to Russia. They know their future is in Europe. It was a huge blow that France blocked them, but all other countries and EU leaders support their membership and I believe they will get in sooner rather than later.
2. At the NATO Leader’s Meeting in London on 03/12/2019 the Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg told that USA is not leaving Europe on contrary it is increasing its presence on it. But the recent decision made by President Donald Trump to withdraw from the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, without engaging Washington’s European allies, forgetting about the fact that Europe would be most exposed to the Russian nuclear weapons doesn’t show that. What role should play NATO to avoid the increasement of tensions between USA and EU?
Ms. Teri Schultz: NATO is the most important forum where the US and Europe, plus Turkey, sit around a table. In times of tension like now, also with Brexit, I believe the importance of NATO as a discussion platform should and will increase. This is also the goal of French President Macron, who was angry over the US’ abrupt departure from northern Syria, which put British and French forces at risk.
3. As we know NATO and EU are faced with cyber challenges and that they have mutual interest on contemporary security and defense issues. Could you please tell us which are the measures that NATO and EU are taking to fight against the cyber espionage that has been caused by the Chinese network supplier Huawei?
Ms. Teri Schultz: This is not technically a NATO or EU issue – it is only national governments that take measures to protect themselves. However, you can look in the NATO communique on China put out at the leaders’ meeting to see that allies are aware they need to be careful. The EU has done more collective work. For further information you can read about why here: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/apr/24/5g-cyber-security-europe-huawei-britain.
4. The Kurdish situation has increased a little bit the tensions between Turkey and Europe. NATO has stacked between its both allies. President Erdogan said that Turkey will block the deployment of enlarging troops in the Baltics and Poland, if NATO does not support its military plans in northern Syria against the Kurdish regime. Which is the perspective that NATO should take in order to avoid such a situation to happen?
Ms. Teri Schultz: NATO does not yet know if Turkey will in fact block this because it was not on the table at the leaders’ meeting. Turkey has been very confusing in its public statements, so we’ll have to see.
5. The use of military force by Russia in Georgia and Ukraine has destabilized the situation in both countries. Do you think that is it possible to build a dialogue between Russia and NATO allies? If yes, which are the deals that both actors can achieve in order to calm the tensions between them?
Ms. Teri Schultz: The NATO-Russia Council holds meetings several times a year to keep dialogue open although not much is achieved there. Until Russia leaves Crimea (which is not likely to happen), NATO has pledged not to normalize relations so there should not be any « deals » made with Moscow.