Select Committee on Defence Eighth Report

Extracts from the WEU Ministerial Council Platform on European Security Interests

The Hague, 27 October 1987

Stressing the dedication of our countries to the principles upon which our democracies are based and resolved to preserve peace in freedom, we, the Foreign and Defence Ministers of the member States of WEU, reaffirm the common destiny which binds our countries.

We recall our commitment to build a European union in accordance with the Single European Act, which we all signed as members of the European Community. We are convinced that the construction of an integrated Europe will remain incomplete as long as it does not include security and defence.

An important means to this end is the modified Brussels Treaty. This Treaty with its far-reaching obligations to collective defence, marked one of the early steps on the road to European unification. It also envisages the progressive association of other States inspired by the same ideals and animated by the like determination. We see the revitalisation of WEU as an important contribution to the broader process of European unification.

We intend therefore to develop a more cohesive European defence identity which will translate more effectively into practice the obligations of solidarity to which we are committed through the modified Brussels and North Atlantic Treaties.

We highly value the continued involvement in this endeavour of the WEU Assembly which is the only European parliamentary body mandated by treaty to discuss all aspects of security including defence.

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Under these conditions the security of the Western European countries can only be ensured in close association with our North American allies. The security of the Alliance is indivisible. The partnership between the two sides of the Atlantic rests on the twin foundations of shared values and interests. Just as the commitment of the North American democracies is vital to Europe's security, a free, independent and increasingly more united Western Europe is vital to the security of North America.

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The Member States of WEU intend to assume fully their responsibilities

a. In the field of Western defence

We recall the fundamental obligation of Article V of the modified Brussels Treaty to provide all the military and other aid and assistance in our power in the event of armed attack on any one of us. This pledge, which reflects our common destiny, reinforces our commitments under the Atlantic Alliance, to which we all belong, and which we are resolved to preserve.

It is our conviction that a more united Europe will make a stronger contribution to the Alliance, to the benefit of Western security as a whole. This will enhance the European role in the Alliance and ensure the basis for a balanced partnership across the Atlantic. We are resolved to strengthen the European pillar of the Alliance.

We are each determined to carry our share of the common defence in both the conventional and the nuclear field, in accordance with the principles of risk-and burden-sharing which are fundamental to allied cohesion.

  • In the conventional field, all of us will continue to play our part in the on-going efforts to improve our defences.

  • In the nuclear field also, we shall continue to carry our share: some of us by pursuing appropriate cooperative arrangements with the US; the UK and France by continuing to maintain independent nuclear forces, the credibility of which they are determined to preserve.

We remain determined to pursue European integration including security and defence and make a more effective contribution to the common defence of the West.

To this end we shall:

  • ensure that our determination to defend any member country at its borders is made clearly manifest by means of appropriate arrangements;

  • improve our consultation and extend our coordination in defence and security matters and examine all practical steps to this end;

  • make the best possible use of the existing institutional mechanisms to involve the Defence Ministers and their representatives in the work of WEU;

  • see to it that the level of each country's contribution to the common defence adequately reflects its capabilities;

  • aim at a more effective use of existing resources, inter alia by expanding bilateral and regional military cooperation, pursue our efforts to maintain in Europe a technologically advanced industrial base and intensify armaments cooperation;

  • concert our policies on crises outside Europe insofar as they may affect our security interests.

Emphasising the vital contribution of the non WEU members of the Alliance to the common security and defence, we will continue to keep them informed of our activities.

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c. In the field of East-West dialogue and cooperation

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It is our objective to further European integration. In this perspective we will continue our efforts towards closer security cooperation, maintaining coupling with the United States and ensuring conditions of equal security in the Alliance as a whole.

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