Observatory on European defence, April 2009
April 2, 2009
EDA and OCCAR towards a cooperation agreement. EDA Code of conduct results reported
The European Defence Agency (EDA) and the Organisation Conjointe de Coopération en matière d'Armement (OCCAR) will start negotiations for a cooperation agreement, which should be concluded in November 2009. The decision to cooperate was taken because of the substantial complementarities of the two organizations, one of which (EDA) aims mainly at the promotion of transnational armament cooperation projects, while the other (OCCAR) mainly provides management for such programs.
The EDA Steering Board reviewed the implementation of the Code of conduct on defence procurement. The total market value of transactions through the Agency's Electronic Bulletin Board increased from € 2.2 billion to € 5.4 billion from 2007 to 2008. The percentage of cross-border contracts awarded went up from 20% to 33%. The Code of conduct, which came into force in July 2006, aims to contribute to the liberalization of the European defence market by committing the subscribing countries to using competitive bidding procedures for defence procurement.
The Steering Board also approved a Reporting and Monitoring System for the Code of conduct on offsets. Both the Code and the reporting system will become operational on July 1st 2009. The goal of the Code is to increase transparency in the use of offsets, with the final goal of completely eliminating offsets.
April 3-4, 2009
NATO celebrates its 60th anniversary at the Strasbourg-Kehl summit
The 3rd and 4th of April NATO celebrated its 60th anniversary of the foundation of the alliance. The summit took place in the French city of Strasbourg and the German city of Kehl, and formally ratified the membership of Albania and Croatia. The next Secretary General was also elected at the summit. Former Danish prime minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen is going to take charge of the organization on July 1st.
Regarding Afghanistan, NATO leaders confirmed the guiding principles of ISAF: long-term engagement, a guiding role for the Afghan authorities, a comprehensive and regional approach. The decision to send an additional contingent to Afghanistan and to guarantee security during the presidential and provincial elections in August 2009 was also confirmed. The reinforcements should number around 3000 troops: Germany is going to send 600, Spain 450, Italy 524, Great Britain around 800, Albania 120.
Allies decided to send a NATO Training mission to Afghanistan (NTM-A), to provide high-level training to the Afghan army. It will also have a role in developing the police force. The mission will be responsible for development of doctrine as well.
The mission commander will be dual-hatted, and will also command the US-led Combined Security Transition Command (an organization responsible for Afghan security forces training). NTM-A should be complementary with the European police mission EUPOL Afghanistan, and closely coordinated with the International Police Coordination Board, which decides on priorities for international contributions to police reform.
April 6, 2009
EULEX declared fully operational. Europol will become an European agency
The European civil mission in Kosovo, EULEX, has reached full operational capability. EULEX was launched on February 16, 2008 with the goal of assisting authorities in establishing the rule of law by tutoring and monitoring police forces, border controls and the judicial system.
The mission, staffed by 1710 European officers and 825 locals, is the biggest civil mission ever deployed by the EU. The deployment was problematic, as the mission was seen by the Serbian minority as de facto recognition of the independence of Kosovo. After months of negotiations, the obstacle was overcome by placing EULEX in the framework of UN resolution 1244, which still recognizes Kosovo as a Serbian province.
The EU General Affairs and External Relations Council adopted a common decision to transform Europol into a European agency as of January 1, 2010. The same decision extends Europol's mandate to serious crimes that are not strictly related to organized crime. The Council also nominated a new Europol director, Rob Wainwright (UK), who will take the place of Max-Peter Ratzel (Germany) whose mandate expired on April 15th.
April 16, 2009
The Commission approves a new anti-terrorism and anti-proliferation program
The European Commission approved a three-year plan (2009-2011) to fight terrorism and WMD proliferation. The program has a budget of €225 million, and aims to increase the capabilities of third countries in the former Soviet Union, the Middle East and Southwestern Asia. The plan includes contributions for the development of coast guard forces for countries on the main sea routes (anti-piracy role). The program should be complementary to the Commission and member states' other initiatives.
April 20, 2009
A Security Council for satellite navigation systems created
The European Commission formally established a Security Council for satellite navigation systems, which will be consulted for the definition of the main security requirements of navigation systems (Egnos and Galileo). The Council is composed by one expert per member state and one Commission representative, while the EDA's and High Representative's experts can join as observers.
April 24, 2009
NATO counter-piracy mission extended
On April 24th, NATO decided to anticipate phase 2 of operation Allied Protector, thus extending the operation by around two weeks.
Allied Protector is divided into two phases. The first was carried out between March 24th and April 23rd: the ships (5 units from NATO Standing Maritime Group 1) were then to sail to Singapore and Australia for a visit, coming back to the area of operations in mid June for phase 2 (June 15th to 28th). Given the increase in the number of attacks on commercial ships in the Horn of Africa and the Indian Ocean, the visits were cancelled and the SMG 1 group will remain in the area until the end of the mission.
The issue of piracy off the Somali coasts is driving the debate inside NATO on anti-piracy capabilities. National Armaments directors, meeting on April 30 for the biennial National Armaments directors' conference, discussed how to enhance current capabilities and develop new ones. Directors also discussed progress in anti-terrorism, helicopter and anti-missile defence capabilities.