Select Committee on Defence Eighth Report

Presidency Report on Strengthening of the common European policy on security and defence

1. Introduction

The Treaty of Amsterdam which entered into force on 1 May provides for the enhancement of the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP), including the progressive framing of a common defence policy as provided in Article 17 of the TEU. The Treaty also provides for the possibility of integrating the WEU into the EU, should the European Council so decide.

The European Council in Vienna welcomed the new impetus given to the debate on a common European policy in security and defence. It considered that in order for the EU to be in a position to play its full role on the international stage, the CFSP must be backed by credible operational capabilities. Furthermore, it welcomed the Franco-British declaration made on 4 December 1998 in St. Malo. The European Council invited the German Presidency to pursue this debate and agreed to examine the question again at the European Council in Cologne. To this end Foreign Ministers discussed the subject at their informal meeting in Reinhartshausen on 13/14 March and at the General Affairs Council on 17 May.

The NATO Washington Summit welcomed the new impetus given to the strengthening of a common European policy on security and defence by the Amsterdam Treaty and confirmed that a stronger European role will help contribute to the vitality of the Alliance for the 21st century. The NATO summit furthermore stressed that the development of a CFSP, as called for in the

Amsterdam Treaty, would be compatible with the common security and defence policy established within the framework of the Washington Treaty. This process will lead to more complementarity, cooperation and synergy.

At the WEU Ministerial Council on 10 and 11 May this question was also discussed on the basis of the informal reflection which was initiated at the Rome Ministerial Council. Member States will undertake efforts in line with the conclusions of the ongoing WEU Audit of European defence capabilities.

2. Guiding Principles

The aim is to strengthen the CFSP by the development of a common European policy on security and defence. This requires a capacity for autonomous action backed up by credible military capabilities and appropriate decision making bodies. Decisions to act would be taken within the framework of the CFSP according to appropriate procedures in order to reflect the specific nature of decisions in this field. The Council of the European Union would thus be able to take decisions on the whole range of political, economic and military instruments at its disposal when responding to crisis situations. The European Union is committed to preserve peace and strengthen international security in accordance with the principles of the UN Charter as well as the principles of the Helsinki Final Act and the objectives of the Charter of Paris, as provided for in Article 11 of the TEU.

The Amsterdam Treaty incorporates the Petersberg tasks ("humanitarian and rescue tasks, peace-keeping tasks and tasks of combat forces in crisis management, including peace-making") into the Treaty.

The focus of our efforts therefore would be to assure that the European Union has at its disposal the necessary capabilities (including military capabilities) and appropriate structures for effective EU decision making in crisis management within the scope of the Petersberg tasks. This is the area where a European capacity to act is required most urgently. The development of an EU military crisis management capacity is to be seen as an activity within the framework of the CFSP (Title V of the TEU) and as a part of the progressive framing of a common defence policy in accordance with Article 17 of the TEU.

The Atlantic Alliance remains the foundation of the collective defence of its Members. The commitments under Article 5 of the Washington Treaty and Article V of the Brussels Treaty will in any event be preserved for the Member States party to these Treaties. The policy of the Union shall not prejudice the specific character of the security and defence policy of certain Member States.

3. Decision Making

As regards EU decision making in the field of security and defence policy, necessary arrangements must be made in order to ensure political control and strategic direction of EU-led Petersberg operations so that the EU can decide and conduct such operations effectively.

Furthermore, the EU will need a capacity for analysis of situations, sources of intelligence, and a capability for relevant strategic planning.

This may require in particular:

    - regular (or ad hoc) meetings of the General Affairs Council, as appropriate including Defence Ministers;

    - a permanent body in Brussels (Political and Security Committee) consisting of representatives with pol/mil expertise;

    - an EU Military Committee consisting of Military Representatives making recommendations to the Political and Security Committee;

    - a EU Military Staff including a Situation Centre;

    - other resources such as a Satellite Centre, Institute for Security Studies.

Further institutional questions may need to be addressed.

Decisions relating to crisis management tasks, in particular decisions having military or defence implications will be taken in accordance with Article 23 of the Treaty on European Union. Member States will retain in all circumstances the right to decide if and when their national forces are deployed.

4. Implementation

As regards military capabilities, Member States need to develop further forces (including headquarters) that are suited also to crisis management operations, without any unnecessary duplication. The main characteristics include: deployability, sustainability, interoperability, flexibility and mobility.

For the effective implementation of EU-led operations the European Union will have to determine, according to the requirements of the case, whether it will conduct:

    - EU-led operations using NATO assets and capabilities or

    - EU-led operations without recourse to NATO assets and capabilities.

For EU-led operations without recourse to NATO assets and capabilities, the EU could use national or multinational European means pre-identified by Member States. This will require either the use of national command structures providing multinational representation in headquarters or drawing on existing command structures within multinational forces. Further arrangements to enhance the capacity of European multinational and national forces to respond to crises situations will be needed.

For EU-led operations having recourse to NATO assets and capabilities, including European command arrangements, the main focus should be on the following aspects:

    - Implementation of the arrangements based on the Berlin decisions of 1996 and the Washington NATO summit decisions of April 1999.

    - The further arrangements set out by NATO at its summit meeting in Washington should address in particular:

      - assured EU access to NATO planning capabilities able to contribute to military planing for EU-led operations;

      - the presumption of availability to the EU of pre-identified NATO capabilities and common assets for use in EU-led operations.

5. Modalities of participation and cooperation

The successful creation of a European policy on security and defence will require in particular:

    - the possibility of all EU Member States, including non-allied members, to participate fully and on an equal footing in EU operations;

    - satisfactory arrangements for European NATO members who are not EU Member States to ensure their fullest possible involvement in EU-led operations, building on existing consultation arrangements within WEU;

    - arrangements to ensure that all participants in an EU-led operation will have equal rights in respect of the conduct of that operation, without prejudice to the principle of the EU's decision-making autonomy, notably the right of the Council to discuss and decide matters of principle and policy;

    - the need to ensure the development of effective mutual consultation, cooperation and transparency between NATO and the EU;

    - the consideration of ways to ensure the possibility for WEU Associate Partners to be involved.

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Prepared 11 May 2000