Examination of Witnesses (Questions 120-132)|
INGRAM, MP, MR
CBE AND MR
WEDNESDAY 19 DECEMBER 2001
120. What about EU enlargement? Has there been
any discussion or approaches from those countries who are clearly
seeking future membership of the EU in respect of what they might
deliver towards achieving the Helsinki Headline Goal if and when
they are successful in their application?
(Mr Ingram) We would view that enlargement by one
definition must be beneficial. It does not mean to say there will
not be problems associated with enlargement and clearly we could
spend a long time debating that. In terms of countries which have
very specific capabilities which are outwith the EU coming into
the pool and offering something, that would only enhance the capabilities.
It does not take anything away. The more nations there are coming
in with something to offer, by definition I would argue, the more
it strengthens the overall range of capabilities, but clearly
it brings with it its own issues as well because it depends when
they come in. It will probably be post-2003, so things may well
be in place and how do you then plug some of those capabilities
in, but it is all progress, it is all development to a better
purpose. It would not be a weakening of what we were doing, only
a strengthening of it. That is the best way I would describe that,
so it would be something to be encouraged.
121. Before I turn to the specific question
of Turkey and what actually happened at Laeken, Minister, can
I ask, do you foresee circumstances in which NATO and ESDP could
be engaged at the same time?
(Mr Ingram) Again, we are into this scenario-painting.
If I say no and then along comes something which is different,
it is brought to mind. If I say yes, I would be trying to call
to mind why you are asking this very specific question.
122. It is not a trick question.
(Mr Ingram) I could envisage an occasion where there
would be engagement at the same time, there is no question about
that. Whether they would then be using the same resources is then
the debate, because it depends how much of the resources have
been used at any point in time. So it could be a very low scale
operation which does not detract from what we have put into the
pool or into the resource allocation, and NATO is drawn upon in
part and not in total. The answer is, yes, but it is a range and
a spectrum we are talking about there and it may be difficult
to put any examples to it.
123. I had assumed that the Ministry had done
some scenario-painting exercises to see just what might happen
in those circumstances, because quite clearly there could be difficulties,
for example, if we had ESDP forces deployed in the Balkans, undertaking
peace-keeping operations, which it looks like we will be doing
for the foreseeable future, and then something else sprung up
which became a NATO commitment. What do we do then?
(Mr Ingram) Priorities come into play. It depends
what has been asked of NATO. What scale and what fighting and
in what security area would NATO be deployed? What is the immediate
threat? What is the immediate problem which has to be dealt with?
124. But it does have implications for the whole
(Mr Ingram) Priorities come into play at any stage
in terms of what we are doing as a nation. We could be deployed,
as we are, globally in a whole range of theatres, but if a threat
is posed to us then we have to make very quick judgments in all
of that. There is no difference in that type of judgmental approach
by NATO or by individual countries.
125. I understand that and I can see that in
terms of force deployment it is possible to make priorities, but
then you have a joint planning operation as well, but it is not
a joint planning operation, you are going to have the EU military
committee working together with the NATO military committee, not
the same members as we know, and there could well be some conflicts
of interest there. Mr Webb is going to put my concerns to rest.
(Mr Webb) It is a fair question though it does not
feel as terrifying to us because we deal with this all the time.
We spend all our time with Ministers saying, "We are involved
here, we might have to do something there, we reserve this, can
we manage that", so it is a bit of a natural process for
us. Can I come back to something which I perhaps did not spell
out enough in an earlier question about the role of the Deputy
SACEUR. One really important role he can play in that situation
is act as what is sometimes called a strategic co-ordinator. In
other words, he, Deputy SACEUR, has visibility across the piece
here. There is no problem at all of course about ESDP running
operations simultaneously, and NATO runs several operations simultaneously.
ESDP could be going off to Mozambique while NATO was in the Balkans,
for example, but if you had some question about assetsto
put it crudely, you wanted the aeroplanes here rather than therethe
Deputy SACEUR is able to provide visibility and co-ordination,
and it is a very important part of that job.
126. So he would be in pole position looking
across both fronts?
(Mr Webb) Yes, and would be able to offer advice and
is formally in a position to offer advice in both directions.
(Mr Lee) The original basis of ESDP, the notion of
an EU-led operation, is "caveated" in a way by the EU
agreeing it would launch an operation, might launch an operation,
where NATO as a whole was not engaged. So it is a sort of premise,
if you like, of an EU-led operation, that the situation is one
where NATO is not engaged, so that is a kind of given, if you
127. I understand that, but I was trying to
paint the scenario where that might have been the initial circumstances
but then the circumstances changed and NATO did become involved
on some other front, and what do you do about the planning structures
in those circumstances. Mr Webb has very helpfully answered my
queries about that. As far as finance is concerned, this is clearly
going to be costly, and we have all seen the financial contributions
of our European partners, who are going to be our partners in
this ESDP exercise, and basically they are not pulling their weight,
except probably France, in terms of their contribution.
(Mr Webb) I would not say that in The Hague, if I
Mr Howarth: Shall I add in our Dutch friends
then? At your suggestion, I am happy to do that. We know that
the European average is, I believe, 1.8 per cent of GDP, the United
Kingdom's is 2.5 per cent, NATO's is 2.2 per centor the
other way roundbut certainly the NATO figure is hugely
skewed by reference to the United States' contribution
Chairman: And Greece and Turkey.
128. And Greece and Turkey. Our report published
this week concluded that if we were to write another chapter on
the SDR there is going to have to be an increased financial commitment,
but is there not going to have to be an increased financial commitment
from the United Kingdom and from our EU partners in this ESDP
exercise, and what are the prospects of that happening?
(Mr Ingram) In terms of increased financial commitment
to what we are putting in the ESDP, clearly there will be some
commitment because of the pooled arrangements at the top decision-making
level. It is about £200,000. You can do your conversion to
Euros if you are so desirous. That margin is not the type of figure
which would scare you. Insofar as there are demands for increased
defence expenditure, that is part of the on-going debate in Government,
and we want to see what response you give us in your report, which
may or may not be helpful to any discussion we may be having in
129. As far as Turkey is concerned, we understand,
and you referred to this a bit earlier, that Turkey is having
problems in giving up its veto over the use of NATO assets for
ESDP. Has that issue been resolved? Are the Greeks happy about
that? Is the ESDP now fully operational?
(Mr Ingram) I am not going to give a different answer,
maybe slightly different words, from what I gave earlier.
130. It is quite important.
(Mr Ingram) I am not going to particularise this into
individual countries. What I was trying to explain earlier was
that these are issues which we are coming to a conclusion on,
and to rake over the coals of the sensitivity of this would not
be helpful. If those countries which have concerns want to publicly
expose them and argue them, that is a matter for them, but what
we are seeking to do is get a conclusion to this process and to
satisfy the needs, the demands, the concerns of those countries
which have raised the issues which are of concern to them, whether
it is about access to NATO assets or about the relationship between
the ESDP and non-EU countries. These are real issues which have
to be resolved but I do not think they will be resolved by debate
here or consideration here.
131. Have they been resolved yet or are they
still in the process of resolution?
(Mr Ingram) Without dealing with the specifics of
the premise of the question, we have not rounded off those issues,
otherwise that would have been within the Laeken Communiqué
and would have been a step forward. We are confident we can get
to that point though.
132. Thank you very much. That is very helpful.
We will be producing a report before the end of the session and
we would like to invite you back in to tell us what the situation
is immediately prior to our writing of the report. Thank you all
(Mr Ingram) Thank you very much.