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Observatory on European defence, February 2007


1 February 2007
European Defence Agency - Industry and Technology

On 1 February the second annual conference promoted by the European Defence Agency (EDA) was held; following the first meeting, which concerned research, it was dedicated to the development of the European Defence Technological and Industrial Base (EDTIB). The meeting confirmed the necessity of devoting more resources to the EDA and improving the spending efficiency through common projects. The survival and the sustainability of the EDTIB requires a European approach that cannot be reached solely on a national base. The objective is to restructure and consolidate the EDTIB by favouring the integration and the interdependency facing the current situation of markets fragmentation.

8-9 February 2007 
NATO Defence Ministers Informal Meeting - Afghanistan, NATO Response Force, Missile Defence System

NATO Defence Ministers, informally meeting in Seville, analysed the state of the ongoing operations and the progress made towards structure and capabilities transformation.
NATO confirmed a long-term duty in Afghanistan and reiterated the appeal for a greater commitment in terms of troops and assets by Allies, especially Europeans. The request concerns above all the South-East zone, under threat from the resumption of attacks by Talibans, which in 2006 were among the most severe and numerous since 2001. The Combined Joint Statement of Requirement (CJSOR) concerning the sustainability of the completed expansion of the NATO ISAF mission is not completely covered. The United Kingdom announced the deployment of 1,400 men which will increase the number of British troops in the South to about 7,700 until 2009.
Moreover, Ministers faced the issue of the Atlantic Alliance capabilities and in particular the NATO Response Force (NRF). Even though its full operational capability has been declared, larger efforts are required in order to render it sustainable in the long-run, by adopting appropriate rotation calendars, a reliable force generation system, common funds and strategic airlift capabilities.
Consensus has not yet been reached regarding the employment criteria for the force.
Finally, the Ministers discussed the deployment of a missile defence system in Europe. While NATO is studying medium extend and theatre defence common systems, Poland and the Czech Republic adhered to the American bilateral request concerning the permission for hosting components (radars and missiles) of the US strategic defence system, a decision that was unpalatable to the Russian political and military leaders, which have threatened strong countermeasures, including the withdrawal from Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty and the deployment of missiles.

12 February 2007
EU General Affairs and External Relations Council - Afghanistan, Somalia, Lebanon, Missions Funding

The Council discussed the ESDP operation abroad.
The EU long-term commitment for stabilisation and reconstruction in Afghanistan was confirmed. Ministers approved the development of an EU mission for the training of local police and supporting the implementation of the rule of law. The decision, which follows the report from the EU fact-finding mission in Afghanistan, will allow the drafting of the concept of operations for the deployment of about 160 policemen.
The EU softened the embargo on arms sales against Somalia in order to favour the workability of the African Union mission AMISOM, the international stabilisation force authorized by resolution 1725 (2006). European support remains conditional on a further appropriate UN resolution among other factors.
The EU confirmed its commitment to the sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence of Lebanon as witnessed by the strong deployment of European troops in the new UN mission UNIFIL II commanded by France, and subsequently from 2 February, Italy, which, with its 2,500 men, represents the largest contribution to the Blue Helmets of the mission.
Ministers finally approved the decision modifying ATHENA, the mechanism established in 2004 to finance the common costs of ESDP missions with implications for the military or defence sectors. The decision increases the number of cases falling under common costs and introduces funding for military actions undertaken by third states and organisations.

February 2007
EU, US - Countering of International Terrorism

The initiatives for countering international terrorism continue into the month of February.
On 2 February the European Commission adopted a Communication on the protection of European critical infrastructures in the energy and transport sectors, defining their identification criteria. The list of the structures will be inserted in a Directive which will provide measures for strengthening their protection against terrorist attacks and accidents. The Communication represents the first contribution to the implementation of the European Programme for Critical Infrastructure Protection (EPCIP).
The General Affairs and External Relations Council of 12 February established 2 projects in the framework of the EU's general programme on security and safeguarding liberties for the period 2007-2013: "Prevention, preparedness and consequences management of terrorism and other security related risks" (140 million euro) and "Prevention of and fight against crime" especially terrorism (600 million euro).
Despite an atmosphere of transatlantic cooperation, some US international counter terrorism methods remain a matter of dispute. On 14 February the report of the temporary enquiry committee of the European Parliament on the alleged use of European countries by the CIA for the transport and illegal detention of prisoners was presented (372 in favour, 256 against and 74 abstaining). The document, which assesses in a strongly negative manner the American action, was widely criticised for the lack of formal evidence, especially about the existence of prisons.
Moreover, the issue related to the Passenger Name Record (PNR), allowing the transfer of the passengers data of European flights to the US authorities, remains unsolved. After the temporary agreement adopted by the Council last October, on 22 February the EU approved the mandate to negotiate with the US for a more complete legal framework of long duration. The content of the mandate remains secret but the agreement, to be reached by July 2007, will take into account the protection of personal data, even though allowing access to the US agencies committed to counterterrorism.

February 2007
Europe - Non Proliferation: Iran, North Korea

Facing the refusal of Teheran about the suspension of its uranium enrichment activities, on 27 February the Council approved a Common Position including the action plan for applying the sanctions foreseen by UN Security Council resolution 1737 (2006). The measures include an export and import prohibition on goods susceptible to nuclear use and related to vectors, and the freezing of assets and a travel ban of certain Iranian individuals and bodies. Nonetheless the EU does not exclude the possibility of reaching of a long-term negotiated solution.
The EU welcomed and supported the agreement reached on 13 February about a first package of measures aimed at North Korean nuclear disarmament in exchange for energy help. It is the implementation of the agreement on denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula negotiated in September 2005 in the framework of six-party talks for nuclear disarmament with China, South Korea, Japan, Russia and the United States.