Select Committee on Defence Eighth Report

Joint declaration by the British and French Governments on European Defence, Anglo-French Summit,

London, 25 November 1999

1. A year ago in St Malo, Britain and France launched together a major initiative aimed at building European security and defence. This paved the way for the progress made at Cologne.

2. In the Kosovo crisis, our two countries played a major role in working for a political settlement and in NATO's military operations. This crisis reinforced our conviction that the European nations need to increase their defence capabilities, thus enabling them to conduct effective EU-led operations as well as playing their full role in Alliance operations.

3. We therefore call on the European Council in Helsinki to take a decisive step forward for the development of those military capabilities and for the setting up of the political and military instruments necessary to use them. This is necessary to give the EU the autonomous capacity to take decisions and, where the Alliance as a whole is not engaged, to launch and then to conduct EU-led military operations.

4. We are fully convinced that, by developing our military capabilities, while reinforcing the

EU's capacity for action, we will also contribute directly and substantially to the vitality of a

modernised Atlantic Alliance, by making a stronger and more balanced partnership. NATO

remains the foundation of our collective defence and will continue to have an important role

in crisis management. We expect NATO and the EU to develop a close and confident


5. Our top priorities must therefore be to strengthen European military capabilities without unnecessary duplication. We call on the European Union at the Helsinki Summit to:

  • Set itself the goal of Member States, cooperating together, being able to deploy rapidly and then sustain combat forces which are militarily self-sufficient up to Corps level with the necessary command, control and intelligence capabilities, logistics, combat support and other combat service support (up to 50,000-60,000 men) and appropriate naval and air combat elements. All these forces should have the full range of capabilities necessary to undertake the most demanding crisis management tasks.

  • Urge the Member States to provide the capabilities to deploy in full at this level within 60 days and within this to provide some smaller rapid response elements at very high readiness. We need to be able to sustain such a deployment for at least a year. This will require further deployable forces (and supporting elements) at lower readiness to provide replacements for the initial force.

  • Develop rapidly capability goals in the fields of command and control, intelligence and strategic lift. In this respect:

  • We are ready to make available the UK's Permanent Joint Headquarters and France's Centre Operational Interarmees and their planning capabilities as options to command EU-led operations. As part of this, we intend to develop standing arrangements for setting up multinationalised cells within these Headquarters, including officers from other EU partners.

  • We want European strategic airlift capabilities to be strengthened substantially. We intend to work urgently with our allies and partners on ways to achieve this. We note the common European need for new transport aircraft. We have today taken an important bilateral step by signing an agreement on logistics which will include arrangements by which we can draw on each other's air, sea and land transport assets to help deploy rapidly in a crisis.

  • We welcome the ongoing transformation of the Eurocorps into a rapid reaction corps as decided by the five Eurocorps members in Cologne, which will contribute to giving the EU a more substantial capacity to undertake crisis management tasks, in particular by providing it with a deployable Headquarters. Our two countries intend this to be a contribution to the enhancement of key assets available both to the EU and NATO. The UK is ready, in due course and with the agreement of the Eurocorps members, to provide British forces to the Eurocorps HQ for specific operations as the Eurocorp nations have already done in the case of the British-led Ace Rapid Reaction Corps.

6. We also call on the Helsinki European Council to set a clear target date and appropriate review and consultation mechanisms to ensure that these goals are reached. Our work towards the achievement of these objectives and those arising from NATO's DCI will be mutually reinforcing. We also welcome the contributions of the non-EU European Allies and of WEU Associate Partners to this improvement of European military capabilities.

7. In addition to the decisions on military capabilities, we call on the European Union at

Helsinki to:

  • Set out the political and military structures to enable the Council to take decisions on EU-led military operations, to ensure the necessary political control and strategic direction of such operations and, to this end, to endorse the proposal which the UK and France have put forward on the role and composition of a Military Committee and a military staff and the planning and conduct of EU-led operations.

  • Provide the basis for participation of non-EU European Allies and the involvement of WEU Associate Partners in EU-led operations.

  • Underline the need to develop thereafter modalities for full co-operation, consultation and transparency between the EU and NATO.

8. We reaffirm our conviction that strengthened European defence capabilities need the support of a strong and competitive European defence industry and technology. The restructuring of the European aerospace and defence industry is a major step which will help to improve competition in the global market. We welcome this recent consolidation and restructuring of European defence companies and, in the same spirit, give our full support to the finalisation of the Letter of Intent. The strengthening of our armaments industry will foster the development of European technological capabilities and will allow transatlantic cooperation to develop in a spirit of balanced partnership. We look forward to early progress toward the establishment of Airbus as a single commercial business with a fully united management.

9. We are committed to the efforts being made to harmonise future defence equipment requirements. The successful cooperation between the UK and France, together with Italy, on the Principal Anti-Air Missile System - which will provide world class air defence for our Navies well into the next century - is a good example of how we work together. So too are the French SCALP and the UK's Storm Shadow programme for a long range precision guide air to ground missile, which is based on the proven French Apache missile. We are partners too with Germany on the future medium range anti-armour weapon for our respective infantry.

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