Memorandum submitted by the Foreign and
Commonwealth Office on the European Security Defence Policy
When I gave evidence to your Committee on 7
March we discussed the European Security and Defence Policy. I
promised to send the Committee a copy of the Presidency Report
on ESDP agreed at the Nice European Council. This is enclosed.
It may be helpful to the Committee if I list here some of the
key references in the text to the extensive involvement of NATO
and NATO structures in ESDP. You will recall I quoted one or two
instances to the Committee.
The EU will act only "where
NATO as a whole is not engaged" (page 2).
NATO Foreign Ministers have repeatedly stated
their commitment to pursue common security objectives through
the Alliance wherever possible. They reaffirmed this at their
meeting in December 2000, just after Nice. What the EU and NATO
positions mean in practice, as Tony Blair and President Bush have
said, is that the EU will act militarily only once NATO has agreed
that it will not. This is the purpose of the extensive EU/NATO
consultation agreements proposed at Nice, which NATO has welcomed
and which the two organisations agree constitute the elements
of their permanent relationship.
"NATO remains the basis of the
collective defence of its members and will continue to play an
important role in crisis management" (page 2).
The EU "will call on NATO for
operational planning of any operation using NATO assets and capabilities"
The EU's capabilities review mechanism
will, "to avoid unnecessary duplication . . . rely on technical
data emanating from existing NATO mechanisms". The mechanism
will reflect the need to ensure "compatibility of the commitments
taken on in the EU framework with the force goals accepted in
the framework of the NATO Defence Planning Process" and the
need to ensure "mutual reinforcement" of the EU's goals
and those of NATO's Defence Capabilities Initiative (pages 20-21).
An EU/NATO capabilities group will
"act to ensure the consistent development of EU and NATO
capabilities" (page 27).
European NATO Allies outside the
EU have the right to "participate if they so wish in the
event of an operation requiring recourse to NATO assets and capabilities"
For operations requiring recourse
to NATO assets and capabilities, operational planning will be
carried out by the Alliance's planning bodies, and for an autonomous
EU operation" [ie one not using NATO assets] ". . .
within one of the European strategic level headquarters"
What this means is that, as at present, operational
planning will be conducted by NATO for any substantial operation.
For a minor task, as I said to the Committee, planning could be
done by an existing national headquarters, eg the UK's PJHQ or
the French equivalent. The crucial point is that the EU Military
Staff cannot and will not do operational-level military planning.
There will be no duplication of SHAPE.
NATO/EU contacts will take place
at Ministerial, senior official, senior military and expert level.
The report sets this out in some detail. (page 55).
These contacts will be intensified
in a crisis (page 56).
NATO will have "the final decision"
(page 59) if SHAPE cannot satisfy EU and NATO planning requirements.
What this means is that if an Article V NATO operation is envisaged
that takes priority over any EU request. NATO can recall planning
capabilities if necessary.
When NATO provides the EU with a
command structure, that structure will, for the duration of the
operation, "remain under the political control and strategic
direction of the EU" (page 60). That is surely common sense.
If UK troops are being deployed in a national operation, the UK
government is responsible. If NATO is running an operation, the
NAC decides collectively. If the EU is running an operation, who
else but EU nations, acting by unanimity, should be responsible
for the direction and control of the operation?
Finally, it may be helpful to the Committee
to clarify the status of the EU's proposals for NATO/EU relations
(Annex VII of the Report and its Appendix).
NATO Foreign Ministers welcomed the proposals
for permanent consultation and co-operation (Annex VII). They
confirmed that NATO would reciprocate EU invitations to senior
NATO officials and military officers to attend EU meetings. They
proposed that the NAC and PSC should meet at least three times
per Presidency and NATO and EU Ministers at least once per Presidency.
These proposals were accepted by EU Ministers at their January
GAC meeting. The NATO Secretary-General and EU Presidency have
agreed that these proposals taken together constitute the elements
of the permanent relationship between the EU and NATO.
NATO is also studying the EU's proposals on
how EU access to NATO assets should be provided (Appendix to Annex
VII). This is the subject of discussion at the moment in NATO
and the EU.
14 March 2001