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Observatory on European defence, January 2005


January 2005
Luxembourg and United Kingdom Presidencies - ESDP Programme

Luxembourg and the United Kingdom, the two countries that will be holding the EU Presidency over the next year, have presented their general programme, concerning several European Security and Defence Policy (ESDP) issues. 
Main topics: 

  • countering international terrorism, through information/data exchange, intelligence, police and judicial cooperation, also discussed at the informal meeting of the Justice and Home Affairs Council held in late January
  • development of the policy countering proliferation of weapons of mass destruction 
  • strengthening transatlantic cooperation, especially in the Middle East 
  • continuation of the commitment to stabilization and crisis management missions
  • development of civil and military capabilities, in particular through the Battlegroups, the European Defence Agency and the collaboration agreements with NATO 
  • starting the development and validation phases of the Galileo satellite system.

Moreover, the Luxembourg Presidency should conclude the negotiations on lifting the arms embargo on China by June. The restrictive measure will be ended on the condition that the EU Code of Conduct on arms export be made more binding and that China introduces concrete measures for the respect of human rights.

January 2005
Europe - Non-Proliferation of nuclear weapons, Iran

In January, the talks between the European Union and Iran resumed, as foreseen by the November 2004 agreement reached with the contact group including the High Representative for CFSP Solana and the EU-3 (France, Germany and the United Kingdom). On 12 January, talks were resumed to work out a trade and cooperation agreement between the European Commission (in collaboration with the Council) and Iran. Talks had been initiated in June 2003 and suspended because of Iran’s nuclear programme and made conditional on Teheran’s renunciation of any nuclear programme with possible military applications. 
IAEA inspections were resumed in January to verify suspension of Iranian programmes aimed at enriching nuclear material. 
The Iranian issue has been the object of transatlantic debate; on 18 January the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Luxembourg (current EU Presidency), expressed his concern about US President Bush’s declarations that he does not rule out a military intervention in Iran. 
On 24 January, on the margins of a meeting with US Secretary of State Rice, UK Minister of Foreign Affairs Straw declared that US endorse the European diplomatic approach towards Iran.

31 January 2005
General Affairs and External Relations Council - Missions, Africa, Middle East, Financing

The General Affairs and External Relations Council (GAERC) dealt with several issues related to the EU crisis management missions. 
The issues discussed concerned: 

  • the coming police mission in Kinshasa, Congo, the OPLAN of which was approved at the 20 January COREPER meeting: a staff of 30 people could be sent from mid February for 12 months 
  • the involvement of the EU, in accordance with the modalities to be set, in a reconnaissance/patrol mission of the African Union (AU) in Somalia, approved in general by COPS on 18 January 
  • military assistance, upon AU request, to the mission in Darfur, Sudan. In spite of the violations of the truce, the Council does not consider it opportune to impose sanctions yet, while the embargo on armaments should be continued 
  • the commitment to the Middle East peace process, in accordance with the Road Map, launched again by the Palestinian presidential elections on 9 January and won by Mahmoud Abbas. On 4 January, the NATO Secretary General, de Hoop Scheffer, declared himself in favour of a NATO intervention upon request of the parties
  • support to the Iraqi authorities that resulted from the 30 January elections, and to strengthening the judicial system and the rule of law in Iraq; there is the prospect of training Iraqi police officers and magistrates/judges outside Iraqi territory. In the meantime, the NATO training mission in Iraq is underway.

Moreover, following the Tsunami in Asia, at the 7 January extraordinary session of the GAERC, the current EU Presidency proposed an Action Plan to coordinate the different means available for prevention, analysis, planning and action in case of natural catastrophe. 
The ECOFIN held on 24 January also adopted a decision to improve the financing of EU military missions, through a system of anticipated contributions, modifying the decision of February 2004 establishing the Athena management mechanism(2004/197/CFSP).