Observatory on European defence, April 2007
20 April 2007
ESDP - Mission in Kosovo
The force generation conference approved member states' contributions to the mission aimed at restoring the rule of law in the police, justice and customs sectors. About 1,750 civilian agents will be employed, including 40 judges, coming mostly from the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, Poland and Romania.
The mission, set up at the end of 2006, is meant to provide cooperation with local institutions and the UN MINUK mission. But also with NATO which, operating in Kosovo since 1999 with the KFOR mission (about 16,500 men), has repeatedly recalled the need for close NATO-EU cooperation, especially until the issue concerning the final status of Kosovo - a process led by the UN - is completely resolved.
23-24 April 2007
EU General Affairs and External Relations - Sudan, Somalia, Afghanistan
Ministers discussed the evolution of the African Union (UA) AMIS II mission operating in Darfur to which the EU and the member states have contributed to date with a civil/military commitment (men and assets) and about 400 million euro. For the period 1 May - 31 October 2007, the Council allocated more than 2 million euro for support, which will continue in view of the mandate's transition from AMIS II to the UN, already present with the UNMIS mission. On 16 April, the Sudanese authorities authorised the first phase of deployment of UA/UN forces.
The Council adopted a Joint Action to support the AMISOM stabilisation mission, led by the AU. The EU, as part of its assistance to AMIS II in Sudan, will provide consultants to the AMISOM military cell located at AMIS II headquarters in Addis Ababa (Ethiopia). On 24 April, the first 7 European military experts reached destination.
Ministers approved the concept of operations for the civilian ESDP operation aimed at training the Afghan police. In order to rationalise the European effort, the about 90 European instructors operating in the country on single-state based initiatives, will be joined by another 70 by mid-June 2007, and will all be placed under the control of the EU chain of command. The expenditure for 2007 amounts to about 40 million euro, the foreseen duration is until 2010. Contemporaneously, the Commission is studying an initiative which could favour the enforcement of the rule of law in the same period.
30 April 2007
EU/US Summit - Transatlantic market, international security, energy and environment
The summit was devoted to three main issues: strengthening of the transatlantic market, promotion of worldwide peace, human rights and democracy, energy security and the environment. The related statements adopted constitute a joint political commitment.
International security was not at the top of the agenda, nonetheless places and topics on which more responsibility must be taken were identified: Kosovo, Afghanistan, Middle East, Iraq, Sudan and Latin America, as well as counter-terrorism and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.
NATO - Afghanistan, Antimissile Defence
On 26-27 April, NATO defence ministers met in Oslo for informal consultations, which were dominated by Afghanistan and antimissile defence issues.
For the former, the importance of a global approach unifying military and civilian commitments was stressed, together with recognition of the priority need to increment the training of Afghan armed forces and police through the dispatch of more NATO instructors.
Concerning antimissile defences, NATO Secretary General de Hoop Scheffer confirmed the points that came out of the high-level consultations held with allies on 19 April. The indivisibility of the security of NATO countries, by which the territory of all member states must be protected by the abovementioned systems, was restated. It was not ruled out that the common medium range and theatre defence systems for troop protection currently under study at NATO could be united in a complementary manner with the US system.
This issue links up with the controversy caused by the US request to Poland and Czech Republic to host components of the US strategic defence system. On 26 April, the NATO-Russia Council also dealt with the issue, underlining the Alliance's concern for Russia's decision to suspend application of the Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE) Treaty, which foresees limits on the detention and concentration of certain categories of conventional forces on European territory, as well as for its threat to withdraw from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, related to the destruction of ground-based intermediate range (500 to 5,500 kilometres) conventional and nuclear ballistic and cruise missiles.
Doubts about the US system still remain in some European countries: Germany and France, but also others, wonder about the precise nature of the threats, the efficacy of the system and its range, which could exclude countries like Turkey, Bulgaria, Romania and Greece.
For these proposals, in front of bilateral talks, NATO is indicated as the most suitable venue for discussions of a shared perception of threats considered to be real (Iran and North Korea), transparency on the issue, as set down at the Riga Summit in November 2006, and above all the involvement in the project of Russia, a proposal put forward by the US in the NATO framework, and for the moment not considered by Moscow.
Europe - Countering International Terrorism
Several initiatives for countering international terrorism continue.
The meeting between the EU, US and Russia held on 4 April treated the terrorist threat, underlining its transnational character which calls upon the international community to act jointly, incrementing coordination and the exchange of information, with particular attention to the protection of critical infrastructure. The three defined concrete measures whose implementation will be followed by a high-level expert committee.
On 10 April, Europol's first report on terrorism in Europe "EU Terrorism Situation and Trend Report TE-SAT 2007" was presented to the European Parliament. The report, full of statistical data showing the evolution of threats and responses, is aimed at supporting decision-making in this field. Finally, the EU Justice and Home Affairs Council held on 19-20 April endorsed the exchange of information among member states to serve as a warning system on the expulsion of third-country nationals for reasons related to terrorist activities. Ministers also supported the follow-up of the Commission's initiatives for protecting European critical infrastructure, urging the member states to comply with the provisions of the common framework.