Observatory on European defence, November 2000
8-9 November 2000
NAC - iPSC Meetings
The North Atlantic Council and the interim Political and Security Committee held two consecutive meetings to discuss future relations between the European Security and Defence Policy and the Atlantic Alliance.
Obstacles emerged while reaching detailed agreement on the items discussed by the joint working groups concerning permanent institutional relations, EU access to NATO military capability and intelligence sharing.
Frequent formal institutional meetings, instead of the previously informal ones, represent a positive step forward.
However, the central problem concerning relations with the Atlantic Alliance and its military capability remains unresolved.
The sharing of intelligence data is still blocked by the opposition of the European Parliament (sustained by some non-NATO EU members) to a regulation that would allow for classified security information.
The uncertainty about the institutions to lead the ESDP does not allow for the establishment of institutionalised relations between the heads of the two organisations.
Moreover, it has yet to be defined how the future European force will have access to NATO assets (often owned by a single member of the Alliance); the question is particularly sensitive, given the scantiness of the European force without those assets.
10 November 2000
EU Chiefs of Military Staff Meeting - Force Catalogue
In their third meeting the Chiefs of Military Staff of the EU approved the military capability catalogue that will be presented to the Defence Ministers Conference for the establishment of the European force, to be held on 20 November.
13 November 2000
WEAG - New Members
The WEAG Council, held in Marseilles, welcomed the adhesion of six new members: Austria, Finland, Poland, Czech Republic, Sweden and Hungary. The number of full members now totals nineteen.
The WEAG will continue its action in improving cooperation in the fields of armaments, notwithstanding the transfer of the WEU tothe EU.
Italy will chair the Group for the next two years, from the beginning of 2001.
13 November 2000
WEU Ministerial Council - EU merging
The WEU Ministerial Council met in Marseilles and approved the transfer of the capability of the institution to the EU. The Satellite Centre and the Institute for Security Studies will be transferred by the end of 2001; the WEU will therefore contribute to the strengthening of the European Security and Defense Policy, offering its already established military command structures.
A small structure of the WEU will keep on operating to guarantee the obligations of Article V (collective defence) and Article IX (annual report to the Assembly) of the Treaty of Brussels.
The WEAG and the WEAO will operate independently of the future WEU.
The future of qualified WEU staff is still unclear.
The EU’s inclusion of WEU capability substantially enhances the operational capability of the ESDP.
There is still some uncertainty about the way the transfer will take place, in particular concerning the WEU staff; the inclusion of the WEU staff in ESDP institutions could actively contribute to development of the latter.
20-21 November 2000
EU Defence Ministers Meeting - Capabilities Commitment Conference
EU Defence Ministers met in Brussels and approved the catalogue of the military forces offered by European countries to reach the Headline Goal established by the Helsinki Council on 11 December 1999.
The overall force sums up to about 100,000 troops, 400 aeroplanes and 100 ships.
The contribution given by each county is approximately:
(Sources: Atlantic News and national governments)
Denmark will not contribute to the European Force.
In addition to the above contributions, projectable command and C4ISR (as well as space) structures have been offered, adding to the capabilities already given by the WEU.
The approved document also underlines some shortages to be addressed (strategic capabilities concerning transport, command and control, intelligence, logistics, precision guided munitions, etc) and calls for the adoption of a coherent industrial policy.
Some non-EU countries have offered their contribution; in particular Turkey has offered 4,000-5,000 troops; Norway 1,200 troops, the Czech Republic 1,000, Hungary 450, the Slovak Republic 350, Poland a brigade.
All decisions regarding the ESDP will be submitted for approval and adoption by the European Council to be held in Nice in December.
The official adoption of the Force Catalogue by EU Defence Ministers is a fundamental step forward constitution of the intervention force envisaged by the Helsinki European Council. The rapidity wuth which the EU members have committed themselves to the creation of a force truly capable of facing international crisis and supporting the foreign policy of the Union has to be stressed.
In any case, it is an “on call” force, not a true “European Army” (although there could be some evolution towards it); the force will also strengthen NATO, as has been underlined by the United Kingdom.
The vital and relevant English contribution indicates the importance of the ESDP in the process of European integration.
The decision has triggered different reactions, some concerned; the French policy of substantial autonomy from NATO has raised some worries in the USA and UK in particular and among NATO non-EU members in general.
EU partners reacted positively, but the - albeit necessary - inclusion of some of them such as Turkey and the US in the decision-making process could become a problem: as a matter of fact, the rules concerning the EU force’s access to NATO’s capability have yet to be defined.
The heavy commitment taken on by European countries will certainly have a strong impact on national military forces, on defence budgets and on procurement policies; a further comunitarization of such policies is foreseen and should be encouraged..
The decision by EU ministers has given the military structure the necessary framework to achieve the Headline Goal within the 2003 deadline; the institutional solutions needed to clarify the command line of the future force and to develop permanent relations with NATO must now be established.
Moreover, national governments should prepare the resources required by this project, both in terms of political willingness to further reduce their sovereignty and in organisational and financial terms to sustain and further develop operational capability.
11 December 2000
Nice European Council - ESDP
The Nice European Council adopted the French Presidency Report on the European Security and Defence Policy and its annexes (including the Force Catalogue approved on 20 November by Defence Ministers).
The “ad interim” structures have become permanent; in particular:
- the Political and Security Committee (PSC), in charge of the strategic direction and control of EU operation, implementing the decisions taken by the institution governing it (the COREPER, the General Affairs Council, the High Representative), and crisis management
- the Military Committee, formed by the Chiefs of Defence Staffs of member countries or their representatives, organism providing advice to the PSC and leading the Military Staff
- the Military Staff, military technical structure responding to the Military Committee with regard to operational capability and strategic planning; it is also an early warning and consulting structure for EU institutions.
The Council also drafted an agreement to set up permanent exchanges between EU and NATO structures to all levels and in particular in the event of crisis; these proposals, together with those on access to the Atlantic Alliance’ capabilities and the inclusion of non-EU member in EU operations, should be discussed further by the Atlantic Committee.
Even if the qualified majority voting procedures have not been adopted for ESDP, the Nice Council has certainly given a positive impulse to development of the Union’s defence policy.
The main success concerns the adoption of permanent structures, thus clarifying the command structure and the strategic planning of the military capability. Nevertheless, there are still some doubts on relations between high level actors (the High Representative, the COREPER, the General Affairs Council, the EU Commission).
The relations with non-EU countries are still to be defined and some proposals by the EU will have to be deliberated by NATO.
The proposal on permanent consultation with the Alliance seems suitable, while the problem of the EU’s use of NATO assets (presumption of availability of pre-identified capabilities) will require a difficult compromise.
The Swedish Presidency of the Union will have to follow and facilitate the evolution of the ESDP, also with respect to the Atlantic Alliance.
14 – 15 December 2000
NATO Defence Ministers Meeting - NATO - ESDP Relations
The Atlantic Committee discussed the recent development of the ESDP and the documents adopted by the Nice European Council.
Agreements on reciprocal consultation and cooperation between NATO and ESDP institutions were reached (regular meetings and mutual participation in the meetings of the partner’s institutions).
Previously, the Atlantic Alliance has discussed the possible role of the Deputy SACEUR (Supreme Allied Commander Europe) in leading EU operations; this proposal was rejected by France, which would like to see the European force more autonomous from NATO.
An agreement on the EU’s permanent access to NATO assets was not reached, mainly because of opposition from Turkey, which prefers a “case by case” decision by the Alliance.
The divergence between the French-Belgian approach, aimed at guaranteeing the European force a strong strategic planning autonomy, and that of other NATO members, in particular the United Kingdom and the USA, more willing to ensure permanent access to NATO assets without duplicating the structure of the Alliance, made it impossible to reach an agreement on capabilities.
The situation is made more complex by the Turkish position, openly against permanent access to NATO assets, since the participation of non-EU countries in the Union decision-making process has still not been defined.
There has been a positive evolution in the field of institutional arrangements between security structures; channels of communication and cooperation have been established at high political and military level.The solution of the problems that emerged was postponed to the next meetings.