Select Committee on Defence Eighth Report

Joint Declaration Launching European Defence Capabilities Initiative, UK -Italian Summit

19-20 July 1999

1. Among the clear lessons of Kosovo are the continued importance of a strong and effective NATO and the pressing need for improved European military capabilities, both for a more effective European role in NATO and to ensure the EU has the capacity for autonomous action in the field of the Petersberg tasks (humanitarian and rescue tasks, peacekeeping and crisis management including peacemaking) backed by credible military forces.

2. European Heads of State and Government at Cologne in June committed themselves further to develop the European defence dimension through more effective military capability; and the appropriate decision making institutions, in support of a strong Common Foreign and Security policy. They recognised the need to undertake sustained efforts to strengthen Europe's industrial and technological base. They also stressed that, avoiding unnecessary duplication, a more effective role for the European Union in conflict prevention and crisis management would contribute to the vitality of a renewed Alliance.

3. We are therefore launching a joint proposal to set criteria for improved and strengthened European defence capabilities and effective performance to be discussed and agreed at the Luxembourg WEU Ministerial meeting and the Helsinki European Council before the end of the year.

4. This approach, to be developed with our Partners/Allies, will include a timetable to


  • European-wide goals for enhanced military capabilities to undertake crisis management, including peacemaking;

  • National capability objectives to achieve this European aim

5. These efforts will be underpinned by:

  • Peer review: at least one joint Foreign/Defence Ministers General Affairs Council per EU Presidency, to measure progress against the agreed criteria;

  • The detailed work of NATO's Defence Capabilities Initiative;

  • A road map for more effective European defence procurement; this will include harmonisation of military requirements and collaborative arms procurement. We shall also promote defence industry restructuring.

6. These efforts will be complementary to, and proceed in parallel with, work in the European Union, at Italy's initiative, on developing the Union's and the Member States' capabilities concerning the non-military aspects of crisis prevention and management, and improving co-ordination between military and non-military aspects.

7. We shall pursue this bilateral initiative with our partners and Allies in the coming weeks with a view to the earliest possible practical results in the European Union, the WEU and NATO.

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