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Observatory on European defence, June 2008


19 June 2008
EU-USA bilateral Summit

The annual EU-USA summit acknowledged the progress made in transatlantic relations and renewed the commitment to strengthening them.
Beyond the strong accent on the need to strengthen economic relations, which characterized the meeting, several topics related to security were discussed in a transversal perspective (terrorism, weapons of mass destruction and crisis management, climate change and energy security) and in a regional perspective (Middle East peace process, Balkans, Central Asia, Caucasus, Iran, relations with China and Russia).

16 June 2008 
General Affairs and External Relations Council - ESDP missions: Africa, Bosnia Herzegovina

Ministers analyzed EU crisis management in several areas.
In Africa, the importance of the EUFOR Tchad/RCA mission, together with other international presences like the UN MINURCAT mission in Chad and the UN/African Union (AU) UNAMID in Darfur, was underlined. In the Great Lakes region, the action of the ESDP missions in Congo was assessed: police (EUPOL RD Congo) and assistance in security sector reform (EUSEC RD Congo, the mandate of which was extended for one year as of 1 July 2008).
Moreover the Council approved a draft decision for financing the "African Peace Facility" (2003) with 300 million euro for the 2008-2010 period.
Ministers confirmed that the mission in Bosnia-Herzegovina, EUFOR-Althea, will remain active for time required for stabilization. The mission benefits from the positive contribution of the European Gendarmerie Force, which is operating in the framework of the EUFOR Integrated Police Unit (IPU) since November 2007.

 ESDP Current Missions, by Lorenzo Kihlgren, trainee, IAI (pdf, 60 kb) 

19-20 June 2008
European Council

In his welcoming address, High Representative for CFSP Solana confirmed the need for a review of the European Security Strategy by the end of the year. Matters to be updated include the challenges of climate change and the relationship between internal and external security.
Several issues were addressed by the European Council.
Concerning the Treaty of Lisbon, Ministers took note of the outcome of the Irish referendum on ratification (12 June) which will be discussed by the Council in October 2008. In the meantime, the ratification process is to continue in the other members states (in addition to the 19 that have already ratified the Treaty).
The perspective of adhesion for the Balkans was confirmed without fixing dates, but reiterating that reforms must be implemented.
Concerning the Justice and Home Affairs Council, further progress was requested in several areas including counter-terrorism: the Council endorsed the conclusions submitted by EU counter-terrorism Coordinator de Kerkhove to the Justice and Home Affairs Council of the 5-6 June in the six-monthly report on the implementation of the EU Strategy and the related Action Plan against terrorism. The priorities indicated included information sharing, countering radicalization and technical assistance to non-EU states (especially West and North African and Southern Asian countries).
The Council approved the six-monthly report of the Presidency on ESDP which analyses the progress made in the first six months of 2008 regarding missions and capabilities development, and provides indications for the coming Presidency (France).

June 2008
EU - ESDP, Capabilities, MILEX 2008

The ESDP report approved by the European Parliament (EP) on 5 June covered several issues including: expectations related to the entry into force of the Treaty of Lisbon with its permanent structured cooperation; the request of High Representative for CFSP Solana to set new goals for military and civilian capabilities and to improve the European Security Strategy by means of a White Paper; the need to define common EU criteria for launching ESDP operations (also tackling the issue of caveats); the request for more involvement of the EP in terms of indications for preparing budget decisions, also by letting some of the relevant EP members in on information coming from the COPS during emergencies.
The General Affairs and External Relations Council of 16 June approved the conclusions related to reinforcing EU capabilities in disaster response, natural or man-made, inside or outside the EU territory. The initiative falls under the framework of the Action Plan submitted by the European Commission in March 2008 focusing on civil protection and humanitarian aid with a view to coordinating national assets more effectively.
The Justice and Home Affairs Council of 5-6 June adopted conclusions on a possible mechanism of cooperation for information exchange between civil ESDP missions and Europol. To this end, the work currently being carried out at administrative level and aimed at making data exchange between the Secretary General of the Council and Europol possible will be assessed by the member states at the end of 2008.
From 19 to 27 June, the exercise MILEX 08 was successfully carried out. MILEX 08, the third EU military exercise, did not imply any real deployment of troops, but involved about 350 men in a scenario of crisis management through an autonomous EU military operation, outside of the Berlin Plus framework. The EU OHQ (Operational Headquarters) in Rome was fully activated for the first time in interaction with the FHQ (Force Headquarters) in Valencia with support from experts in Brussels coming from the EU Military Staff headed by the COPS.

June 2008
NATO - Defence Ministers meeting, Appointments

NATO Defence Ministers met on 12-13 June to discuss several issues, with particular attention to missions in Afghanistan and Kosovo and capabilities.
Concerning Afghanistan, the need for more Allied troops was confirmed and underlined by the US Secretary of Defense Gates, who urged the dispatch of more troops and police trainers.
The outgoing NATO ISAF Commander, McNeill, succeeded on 3 June by General McKiernan, expressed the shortage in adequate resources in terms of soldiers and capabilities (especially manoeuvre units, aircrafts, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance assets).
On 13 June, the United Kingdom announced that it was sending another 230 men - mainly experts in police training, engineers and military consultants - to be deployed in the coming weeks. Currently about 7,800 British soldiers operate in Afghanistan. On 21 June, the German Defence Minister announced the dispatch of another 1,000 soldiers in addition to the current contingent of about 3,500 men, although maintaining the caveats related to operations in the south of the country.
In the meantime, on 12 June, a Conference for support of Afghanistan was held in Paris. The Conference brought together 68 countries and 17 international organizations which directly and indirectly contribute to the security and rebuilding of the country. President Karzai presented a five-year development plan especially concerning the sectors of infrastructure, security, education and agriculture. The international community allocated more than 20 billions dollars (10 provided by United States).
NATO Secretary General de Hoop Scheffer spoke of reconfiguring the international presence in Kosovo. It is planned that the NATO KFOR mission will supervise the Kosovo Security Force (KSF), a multi-ethnic corps of about 2,500 men lightly equipped and primarily responsible for crisis response, public order and civil protection.
Nonetheless some countries which do not recognize Kosovo - like Spain, Slovakia and Romania - do not intend to participate in the training of any Kosovo "national" structure.
The reconfiguration of the international presence in Kosovo is also being opposed by Russia in the UN Security Council, hampering the EU EULEX's take-over of the UN UNMIK mission. For this reason, on 12 June, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon submitted - with full support from the EU - a report to the UN Security Council proposing that the EU mission initially become operative for a limited period under the juridical aegis of the UN.
Finally, Ministers discussed the transformation of NATO forces in relation to new threats including terrorism, IT security and energy security. The need for better coordination of strategic and tactical (helicopters) airlift capabilities and for a general renewal of the NATO Response Force (NRF) concept was confirmed.
On 1 June, the UUSIMAA 2008 exercise of the Euro-Atlantic Disaster Response Coordination Centre (EADRCC) began in Finland. The scenario related to floods and storms impacting on critical infrastructure with chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) risks.
About 1,000 people from 25 from allied and partner countries were involved in the deployment of intervention teams (also medical teams) for the management of CBRN risks. On 27 June, the former Italian Chief of Defence, Admiral Giampaolo Di Paola, took over the position of Chairman of the NATO Military Committee.

June 2008
EU - Non-conventional weapons, European critical infrastructure

The General Affairs and External Relations Council of 16 June approved the six-monthly report on implementation of the EU Strategy against proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (December 2003) and updated a list of priority measures for its implementation.
Moreover the Council took note of an EU inventory of tools with which to cope with CBRN (chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear) risks in sectors including police and military forces, sanitary and food chain control, and research. This is an updated version of a list drafted for CBRN risks in 2002 and specifically for biological threats in 2007by the Council and Commission services under the responsibility of the Presidency in close cooperation with civil protection services, the EU counter-terrorism Coordinator and the CFSP High Representative's personal Representative for non-proliferation.
The European Defence Agency held a symposium related to B-detection capabilities from 9 to 11 June, which recognized the need to improve those capabilities that could possibly be involved in ESDP missions by ensuring the key operational requirements through cooperation at the EU level.
The Justice and Home Affairs Council of 5-6 June reached a political agreement on a Directive which defines the procedure for identifying critical European infrastructure and the measures aimed at strengthening its protection. The mechanism will initially be focused on the energy and transport sectors and will be reviewed in three years to include, among others, the ICT (Information and Communication Technology) sector. Criteria include that systems must be partially located in an EU member state's territory and must be essential for the vital functions of modern society so that their disruption or destruction would have a significant impact on at least two EU member states.

June 2008
EU - Iran

On 14 June, China, France, United Kingdom, Russia, United States and the EU submitted a joint proposal to Teheran aimed at reopening negotiations on the suspension of the uranium enrichment process in exchange for support and cooperation measures in several fields such as the economic, commercial, civilian nuclear development and R&D.
On 23 June, the EU decided to strength its restrictive measures against Iran by freezing the assets of the major Iranian bank (Melli).