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Observatory on European defence, June 2000


19-20 June 2000
Meeting European Council – Presidency Conclusion – ESDP

The European Council met on 19-20 June in Feira at the end of the Portuguese Presidency.
The Council approved the Presidency report on the strengthening of ESDP; paragraph C (6-12) of the Conclusion reaffirms the commitment taken last December in Helsinki and includes an invitation to carry out the Pledging Conference on the constitution of an effective military capability.
The EU has invited all non-EU NATO members, as well as other non-NATO states to participate in the future European operations; this statement has triggered different reactions, in particular a negative one from Turkey because of the low level of involvement in the decision-making process.
It has been decided to build a police force in order to manage non-military crises.
It’s believed that the next European Council under the French Presidency will establish the political and military organs of ESDP; in the meantime, working groups will be set up to facilitate future EU-NATO relations.

The Conclusion of the Portuguese Presidency, above and beyond the confirmation of the European will to develop ESDP further, provides some new elements that seem to offer an – albeit incomplete – answer to the problems that have emerged since the Helsinki summit six months ago.
Although some problems are still open, others seem to be on the way to resolution; among the latter is the Pledging Conference on the European Force, to be held in autumn. It is believed that the real goal and capability of the Force will be reached.
It seems that the problematic relations with NATO and in particular with the US and Turkey have not been solved in a satisfactory way; further compromise will be required, facilitated by the constitution of an "ad hoc" working group.The problematic relations between different political organisations within the EU (High Representative, Commission) and the future military structures is of major concern and more difficult to solve; this problem will have to be addressed in view of the Nice Meeting.
Moreover, there is no reference to the integration of the defence market, an important element for achieving a real autonomous European defence capability. In this regard, the signature of a LOI Treaty has been announced. Open to all EU countries, it will be important to evaluate the consensus it obtains.