5 December 2007
European Commission - European Defence Market: Defence Package
The European Commission adopted a set of measures known as the "Defence Package", meant to increase the competitiveness of the defence industry sector, limiting the cases where art. 296 TEC applies - allowing for an exemption from common market rules for essential national security interests. The Package provides an alternative system which takes the sector's specificity into account.
The initiative includes two proposed Directives - on defence procurement (goods and services), and on the streamlining of the infra-community transfer of military equipments and materials - and a Communication on the strengthening of the competitiveness for the defence market and industry. The Directives are supposed to entry into force in a year, after the formal approval of the Council and the European Parliament and the national and industrial assessments.
6-7 December 2007
Justice and Home Affairs Council - Countering International Terrorism
Two years after the adoption of the EU anti-terrorism strategy, the anti-terrorism Coordinator, de Kerchove, presented a report on its implementation underlining five main points: information sharing and special investigative methods, radicalisation and recruitment, financing of technical assistance to third countries, organization of the work in the Council, and delays in the transposition of EU instruments into national legal orders.
The Council, moreover, approved some guidelines for preventing criminal and terrorist use of explosives, as well as a document on CBRN risks, aimed at increasing the preparation for management, also on the basis of the recently completed consultation process that was started in July 2007 by the Commission with the Green Paper Green Paper on bio-preparedness.
7 December 2007
NATO - Russia Council
Moscow suspended the application of the Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE) Treaty as of 12 December 2007, even if Russian continues to declared its willingness to go on with negotiations. Russia remains inflexible unless the other partners ratify the amended CFE Treaty, while the latter set Moscow's pull-out from Georgia (completed) and Moldova as their condition for ratification. The CFE Treaty is considered by NATO, but also by the EU, a linchpin of Euro-Atlantic security.
10 December 2007
EU General Affairs and External Relations Council - ESDP Missions: Sudan/Chad, Middle East, Bosnia and Kosovo
The General Affairs and External Relations Council (GAERC) reaffirmed its support for the deployment in Sudan of the hybrid UN/African Union (UA) peace force UNAMID and considered the possibility of adopting further measures, in the UN framework, against parties that might hinder full deployment and future practicality. The Council took note of the progress of the EUFOR- Tchad/Rca military operation that will support the UN mission in eastern Chad and northeast of the Central African Republic. The ministers hope the process of force generation will soon be completed because the contributions of various member states have yet to be defined and the initial operational capability scheduled for November 2007 has been shifted to the beginning of 2008. The Force will be led by Irish General Patrick Nash, and the headquarters will be in France. The operational commander will be the French General Jean-Philippe Ganascia. The EU wants to enlarge the EUPOL COPPS police mission to support the Palestinian police. The Council appreciated the results of the EUFOR-Althea military operation in increasing security in Bosnia in spite of the mission's reconfiguration: downsizing to less the half the staff, albeit with a military presence ready to intervene in case of a threat to security (about 2,500 military that can be tripled in 24 hours). On 15 December, EUROGENDFOR the European Force of Gendarmerie, assumed full operational capacity at the command of the Integrated Police Unit (IPU) of Althea; for the first time, total responsibility for a military security and defence mission. The Althea mandate has been extended to 31 December 2009, while in Kosovo the sending of the EU mission for re-establishing the rule of law in the police, justice and customs sectors remains linked to developments regarding the final status of the province.
13 December 2007
Signing of the Reform Treaty
The ministers signed the new EU Reform Treaty approved by the Lisbon European Council last 19 October. The ratification and entry into force of the new treaty (Lisbon Treaty) is scheduled for 1 January 2009. In the ESDP area, the new text substantially preserves what was provided for in the Constitutional Treaty, including: permanent structured cooperation, a solidarity clause in the event of catastrophe and terrorist attack, enlargement of "Petersberg" tasks. The new text also still contains a mutual defence clause, in the framework of the member states' commitments to neutrality and membership of NATO, and the reinforced cooperation which, with specific procedures is also extended to sectors that have military or defence implications.
14 December 2007
European Council - Kosovo, European Security Strategy
The European Council focused on three main issues:
- justice and internal affairs (enlargement of the Schengen area, migratory policies, cooperation in police and justice, fight against terrorism);
- economic, social and environmental policies (Lisbon Strategy, climate change, energy, sustainable development, maritime policy, internal market and social policies);
- external relations. For these the conclusions confirmed the position expressed by the GAERC of 10 December.
Some developments were noted concerning Kosovo: Russia said to the EU that it is not ready to accept Kosovo's independence nor the sending of an EU civil mission based on UN res. 1244 (1999); Serbia is of the same opinion and claims that it needs a special agreement. The EU, instead, intends to proceed on the basis of the requests of Pristina and the UN Secretary General. The Council reached a politic agreement with all member states to send a mission without mentioning the question of the legal basis: the resolution of the former as well as questions about the operational methods and the timeframe for the sending of troops will soon be the subject of agreements . Some EU countries, such as Cyprus, Greece, Malta, Romania, Slovakia and Spain are against recognising an independent Kosovo and prefer Belgrade's agreement and the intervention of a new UN resolution.
The heads of state and government have recognized the importance of the European security Strategy (December 2003) even in the framework of EU external relations. On the basis of the developments and the lessons learned from ESDP missions, the High Representative for CFSP Solana - with the Commission and in close co-operation with the member states- has been declared in charge of identifying the elements that still require better implementation and integration in view of the European Council of December 2008.
14 December 2007
EU Capabilities - European Defence Agency
On 14 December, the European Defence Agency, (EDA) signed the first three contracts in the framework of the "R&T Joint Investment Programme on Force Protection" (JIO-FP) launched in November 2006 on the basis of the 55 million euros allocated, for the first time for the EDA, by 20 member states in the 2007-2009 period.
The three contracts, which amount to a total of 13.1 million euro co-financed by industry, are managed by European consortiums which include industries, small and medium-sized firms, research centres and universities.