Select Committee on Defence Written Evidence

Memorandum from Joanna Kaminska

  The new Eastern European Members' of NATO and the EU approach towards the future of NATO and the ESDP and to NATO-EU relations.

  The analysis investigates the Central and Eastern European states (CEEs) approach to the major debates concerning the NATO's development, as well as the new members views on the future of the ESDP.

1.   Debate concerning the NATO's role in the world

  The new Eastern European members perceive the NATO as a major traditional security guarantee. The Central and Eastern European countries (CEEs), support the strengthening the NATO's primacy and their participation in the NATO missions reflects this idea. The CEEs believe that the obligations based on the NATO's article 5 are the major priority for the Alliance and therefore should not be reformed.

  In spite of a global involvement of the new NATO members in "out of area" operations, they still are very skeptical to the idea of "global NATO", therefore the American concept of alliances between NATO and different continents (NATO-New Zealand. NATO-Japan or NATO-Australia). The Euro-Atlantic sphere is a major place of activity for the NATO according to the new members, and cooperation with countries of different (not traditionally NATO) regions should not affect the main Alliance's aims. This "new cooperation" concept should not be formal and institutionalized but can be a part of a less formal cooperation between NATO and other regions.

2.   Debate concerning the future of the NATO's "out of area" operations

  According to the Central and Eastern European countries North Atlantic Treaty Organization should rethink its involvement in new regions concerning the type of missions sent to react to the international crisis situations. Not always the situation requires the deployment of military resources, but in many cases the civilian or technical support might be sufficient. Some of the new EU countries experts argue that NATO's military operations outside the Euro-Atlantic sphere can weaken the security of this region, as NATO would have a problem with parallel presence outside Europe and in Europe or at its borders in case of the conflict, therefore the question of available resources should be debated. The lack of resources questions also touches the issue of the financial contribution during the deployment. According to Poland the list of activities funded by the common budget should be made, as in the moment only those contributing to the missions have to cover the costs, which in case of the poorer countries is often a problem.

3.   Debate concerning the NATO and the EU relationship developement

  The development of the European Security and Defence Policy (ESDP) of the EU has affected the NATO's ability to work with the EU partners, as the majority of the CEE countries perceive NATO as a first guarantee of their security, which not necessarily is the case for the old, Western members. The CEEs do not want to choose between NATO and the EU highlighting the complementarities of those two organizations. This is reflected in the preference for as little duplication as possible causing the animosity amongst the EU members over the EU military Headquarters, which the CEEs oppose. The duplication question is also connected with the issue of the military deployment as the new EU members contribute to the EU ESDP missions and NATO operations in the same time. According to the CEEs there should be more complementarities between two organizations concerning the operational deployment. Polish and Czech Republic's experts believe that NATO and the EU should work out new agreement based on the example of Berlin Plus, where NATO would be supported by the civil resources and capabilities of the EU and the EU could use NATO's military capabilities.

4.   Debate concerning the NATO's future enlargements

  The majority of the CEEs support further Eastern enlargement understanding its importance for the democracy building and reform transposition. Poland, Czech Republic, Hungary, Bulgaria and Slovakia support the NATO's enlargement eastwards and on the Balkan States, highlighting the need of proving the real identification with the Euro-Atlantic values and security interests, together with ability to fulfill the elementary military standards.

5.   Debate concerning the European Security and Defense Policy of the EU and the European security

  The transatlantic relationship is of a major importance for the CEEs and the NATO is still regarded as a main security guarantee, due to both geopolitics and history of the Central and Eastern European states. The CEEs were first very skeptical to the development of the EU security and defense capabilities, but the growing importance of new security challenges is recognized and the CEEs started to appreciate more the ESDP potential, believing that ESDP has good instruments to tackle them. The new EU and NATO members, especially highlight the importance of the civilian component of the ESDP missions contributing to the ESDP mission not only the military but also technical and expert resources (Lithuanians being an important contributor to the EU rule-of-law mission in Georgia). The change of approach in the new EU members has also its roots in the public opinion views as the governments of the CEES have to take to consideration that the public opinion in those countries is very much in favour of the ESDP, largely as a result of the general satisfaction with the EU membership. According to the Eurobarometer polls 88% of Czechs, 86% of Latvians, Slovaks and Slovenians, 85% of Lithuanians 84% of Poles and 81% of Hungarians are in favour of the ESDP, with the 75% average within other EU members.

3 December 2007

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