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Observatory on European defence, January 2006


1 January 2006
European Union - Austria and Finland Presidencies: ESDP Programme

Austria and Finland, the two countries that will be holding the EU Presidency over 2006, have presented their programme on several European Security and Defence Policy (ESDP) issues, among which:
- improvement of the EU's military capabilities on the basis of the Headline Goal 2010, with a particular focus on the rapid availability of means provided by member states;
- identification of urgent capabilities (until 2018); 
- full operability of the European Defence Agency;
- improvement of EU civil-military coordination; 
- simplification of EU decision-making procedures;
- implementation of the European satellite navigation system, Galileo, and the future Global Monitoring for Environment and Security (GMES) system;
- continuation of the ongoing ESDP mission (police mission in the Balkans for 2007); 
- fight against terrorism, in particular through improvement of data exchange and coordination at strategic and operational level among member states.

30 January 2006
EU General Affairs and External Relations Council - ESDP Missions

The General Affairs and External Relations Council (GAERC) reviewed the ongoing EU missions, in particular: 
- Balkans: the EU is present in Bosnia-Herzegovina with a military (EUFOR/ALTEA) and a police mission, a follow-up mission to support the fight against organised crime and the process of reform of the local police forces (until 2007) started on 1 January 2006 to substitute the EUPM mission which terminated at the end of 2005. Moreover the EU Police Advisory Team (EUPAT) for the police forces in Macedonia-FYROM continues its work in substitution, as of last month, of the EUPOL PROXIMA mission. 
- Middle East: - as of last November the EU is present with a civilian police mission (EUPOL COPPS) supporting the Palestinian police and with a Border Assistance Mission at the Rafah Crossing Point (EU BAM Rafah) in the Palestinian Territories on the border between Gaza and Egypt. For the Palestinian legislative elections, held on 25 January, the EU provided technical assistance, through an observation mission, and financed them with a total amounting to 18.5 million euros. 
The elections were won by the Hamas party, with which the EU has no relations and which is listed on its terrorist list. During the GAERC, the EU clarified that its financial support to the Palestinian Authority will continue on the condition that Hamas abandons violence and recognises the Israeli state.

January 2006
EU Capabilities - Defence informal meeting, Civil Protection, European Gendarmerie Force, European Defence Agency

The informal meeting of the strategic advisers (strategic Directors) of the Defence Ministers of the EU member states was held on 20 January, under the Austrian Presidency. 
In view of the informal meeting of the EU Defence Ministers foreseen for early March, the points at issue were the development of areas of civil-military cooperation, the implementation of long-term military capabilities, the reform of the security sector and the improvement of European response capabilities in case of disaster. 
On this subject, on 27 January the European Commission presented measures aimed at improving the reaction capability of the EU Civil protection mechanism. 
On 23 January the Headquarters of the European Gendarmerie Force (EGF) was inaugurated in Vicenza (Italy). The intergovernmental structure involves the military police forces (gendarmes type) of France, Italy, Spain, Portugal and the Netherlands for a total of about 800 men (and 2300 reservists), deployable in 30 days for missions abroad (by unanimous decision of the High Level Inter-Ministry Committee. While not an EU structure, the EGF can operate for the EU (in this case, the EU's Political and Security Committee takes over the political control and the strategic direction) under mandate from the main international security organisations such as UN, NATO and OSCE and in ad hoc coalitions. 
On 24 January the Steering Board of the European Defence Agency met at the level of national capabilities planners. The priorities in the development of the essential capabilities for rapid intervention in crisis were confirmed: command, control and communications (C3), air-to-air refuelling and strategic lift. By the end of the Austrian Presidency semester, specific proposals will be defined in the long-term perspective towards which the EDA is working.

January 2006
European Union - Countering the International Terrorism

The informal EU Justice and Home Affairs Council of 12-14 January dealt with the issue of the fight against international terrorism, in particular concerning the European Police Office (EUROPOL), the development of which is considered a crucial factor for a global and coherent approach to the EU's internal security. The Office should in fact evolve into a European investigative authority with police powers and increase the use of Joint investigative groups. 
A group of experts was entrusted with studying coordination among different bodies and institutions acting in the sector. 
Moreover, on 20 January the European Commission adopted a framework decision to improve data exchange on court records on EU citizens. 
On 25 January, the EU Commissioner responsible for Justice, Freedom and Security, Frattini, met with Mueller, FBI Director, concerning the strengthening of operational cooperation in police matters, in particular between EUROPOL and US authorities. 
Despite an atmosphere of cooperation, US counter terrorism methods, much disputed because of the presumed existence of secret CIA prisons in Eastern Europe, led to the creation of an ad hoc temporary enquiry committee with a mandate approved by the European Parliament on 18 January.

January 2006
Europe - Non Proliferation

On 9 January Iran announced the resumption of its enrichment activities. 
On 12 January a common declaration issued by the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the EU-3 (France, Germany, United Kingdom, plus High Representative Solana), responsible for the Paris agreement with Teheran of November 2004, called for an extraordinary meeting of the Board of Governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), foreseen for 2-3 February, to involve the UN Security Council. 
The EU-3 position, shared by the United States, was sustained during a meeting also involving Russia and China, which substantially remain undecided about what line to follow, above and beyond the proposal to partially transfer Iranian enrichment activities to Russian territory.

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