Seeking Unity, Europe Drafts a Constitution
By Eliane Sciolino
New York Times
June 15, 2003
It will be much less than a United States of Europe. But it will be more than the distillation of five decades of treaties into one document. For 16 months, Europe's most important and exclusive club has struggled to draft its first constitution. The process has been awkward and unpredictable, ambitious and timid, as delegates from the 15 member nations of the European Union and the 10 that are to join next year fight to protect their countries' national interests even as they agree to cede bits of sovereignty.
Philadelphia it ain't.
The founding fathers came together in 1787 for a Constitutional Convention to forge a document that created a national identity and institutionalized the sovereignty of the American people in one nation-state. The 105 delegates who made up the Convention on the Future of Europe tried to do something much more modest: codifying common ground among long-established states that will give their union more of a logical structure — and perhaps more power — as they expand eastward. "Until now, Europe was mainly associated with a common market," Ana Palacio, Spain's foreign minister and a delegate representing her government, said in an interview. "Now Europe will be more and more a place of citizenship. Now people will associate Europe with a constitution." Indeed, one article in the draft constitution states, "Every national of a member state shall be a citizen of the union." When the union expands, that means a mega-Europe of 450 million citizens, larger than any population mass except for China and India, and an economy of more than $9 trillion, close to that of the United States.
The proposed constitution also states that European Union law will have primacy over that of member states. It simplifies voting rules and spells out areas like trade policy in which the union will have full authority and other areas to be shared with the member states, including justice, transportation and economic and social policy. It will also set up a new structure for an organization that was created for only 6 states and will soon have 25, with two permanent presidents, one foreign minister, a stronger administrative arm and a Parliament with expanded power to pass more legislation. But for many participants in the process, including Giuliano Amato, a former Italian prime minister and a constitutional law expert who is one of two vice presidents of the convention, the proposed constitution is lacking because it fails to create a common foreign and security policy.
"I'm not entirely satisfied," he said in an interview. "Too many member states are defending themselves instead of sharing power at the European level to make things better. It's each state beyond the constitution. That's why I'm not even sure we are entitled to call it a constitution." [On Friday, despite deep disagreements within the delegation, Valéry Giscard d'Estaing, the former French president who is the convention's president, told the final plenary session in Brussels that the convention had adopted a historic first draft. The forum rose for the union's anthem, Beethoven's "Ode to Joy," and toasted their endeavor with Champagne.]
With over 400 articles, the constitution is very much a work in progress. Mr. Giscard d'Estaing will present it to a summit meeting of the member heads of state in Greece next week. Then, in October, it will go into intergovernmental review, in which each member state has the right to demand changes. Each parliament — including those of next year's 10 newcomers — must ratify the document before it comes into force. Some countries, like Ireland and Denmark, will have national referendums — as required by their constitutions. Even the pope has weighed in, lobbying — thus far successfully — for a specific reference in the text to God and Europe's Christian heritage. After all, the union's debt to the "civilizations of Greece and Rome" and later "by the philosophical currents of the Enlightenment" are mentioned.
One of the main challenges to forming a more perfect European Union is one that the American founding fathers confronted: how to find a way for big states and small states to share power. France and other big states would like a strong president from a large country who would reflect their views, an idea that is anathema to the smaller states. Spain has vowed to fight to retain complex voting rules that give it power disproportionate to its population. (Spain has 27 votes in the union, only 2 fewer than Germany, which has more than twice its population.)
Britain, which is skeptical about creating anything that looks like a European state, is demanding the absolute right for any member nation to veto decisions on foreign policy and taxation. Sometimes the big-small divide is trumped by history. Germany, for example, is more inclined to create a federal structure that would more closely resemble a United States of Europe.
Another issue yet to be resolved is how to make the union more accountable to its citizens by opening the decision-making process to public scrutiny. "Right now, if my prime minister goes to Brussels and makes decisions behind closed doors, I as a parliamentarian cannot hold him to account because I only know the outcome, I don't know the process," said Gisela Stuart, a member of the British delegation and of the European Parliament. "It's the same with the ministers. They can tell me anything."
The new constitution will introduce a single foreign minister to give the union a single actor on the international stage. It will also create a permanent president, elected by member heads of state, who will serve up to a five-year term to replace an unwieldy system in which the presidency rotates among member states every six months. Already there is intense speculation that Joschka Fischer, the German foreign minister as well as a convention delegate, is eager for the job of European foreign minister, even though it will probably not be created before 2006. In recent weeks, he suddenly began to talk to Anglophone journalists in English, and friends in Brussels said that he had asked them where one might want to live there.
But there will continue to be two presidents indefinitely — one for the Council of the European Union, which consists of the heads of state of each member country, another for the European Commission, a kind of executive body that is more federal in nature and tends to take the smaller states more seriously. "You have an animal with two heads," said Mr. Amato, who favored a proposal to merge the two presidencies in 2015. "Can an animal with two heads survive for long?" Mr. Giscard d'Estaing answered yes. "We still have seven monarchies in the system," he said in an interview. "Some went through violent revolutionary uprisings, like France. Some were under the Communist rule for 50 years, 70 years. So if we try for an oversimplified system it cannot work."
The draft constitution clearly states that "member states shall actively and unreservedly support the union's common foreign and security policy in a spirit of loyalty and mutual solidarity" and shall "refrain from action contrary to the union's interests or likely to impair its effectiveness." But that was language picked up from previous treaties and did not prevent the union's deeply painful split on Iraq, which pitted countries like France and Germany against Spain and Britain. In a setback to those who wanted a more powerful union to help counterbalance the United States when it comes to issues like foreign policy, defense and taxation, each country — even Luxembourg, with a population of 440,000 — has the right to veto any decision on foreign policy and defense.
In one of the most ambitious expansions of the union's authority, the draft constitution also would create a European public prosecutor to combat terrorism and cross-border crimes like corruption, fraud and people-trafficking. It simplifies legislative and legal procedures and extends decision-making by majority vote, particularly in areas like justice, law enforcement, immigration, asylum, energy and the annual European Union budget.
The draft document also gives the union a "legal personality" that would allow it to sign international treaties. A solidarity clause will require member states to provide mutual assistance in case of terrorist attack. The constitution also explicitly bans slavery (which the original United States Constitution did not) and the death penalty (which was never banned in the American Constitution). There is even an exit clause so that a member state can secede from the union if it chooses. On defense matters, the constitution pledges enhanced "structured cooperation" for "more demanding tasks," but does not pledge military resources for common purposes. Not surprisingly, no effort was made to coax France and Britain to give up their seats as permanent members of the United Nations Security Council.
Underscoring just how important national differences remain, the constitution will be published in the union's 11 current official languages — 21 when the 10 new members are admitted next year. There was no agreement on what to call the new union once it has a constitution, so delegates deleted the space in the draft's preamble where a new name would have appeared. Even the inclusion of the dreaded word "federal" as a description of way the union would function was found to be objectionable, particularly by Britain. It was replaced by anodyne phrases like "united in an ever closer fashion."
"The reality is that you have different visions for Europe," Jean-Luc Dehaene, the former Belgian prime minister who is a convention vice president, said in an interview. "So never fight for words. Just because someone doesn't want to name the baby, you don't throw out the baby." Even in the best of circumstances, the constitution will not come into effect for years. So it will not solve the immediate problem of how to absorb the 10 new countries next year. With the expansion, the population of the European club will increase by 20 percent, but the average wealth per person will fall by about 13 percent because most of the newcomers are relatively poor.
That means that the new union, which started out as a club for the rich, will have to find ways to balance the interests of a country like Luxembourg, which has a per capita gross domestic product of nearly $43,000, with a country like Lithuania, which has a per capita G.D.P. of $3,200. The constitution also will not do away with the 80,000 pages of European Union laws and regulations that dictate what members can and cannot do in some of the biggest and smallest areas of life. The rules govern such things as how to make cars and cigarettes, how corporations carry out acquisitions, how high a budget deficit a country is allowed to have, who is a dentist, what preservatives can be used to make beer, how many hours a week people can work and when hunters can shoot small birds.
Solana Backs Fixed EU Seat on the Security Council
By Michael Mann
November 17, 1999
Strasbourg (France) - The European Union's foreign policy supremo on Wednesday supported calls for the EU to be granted a permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council. "I think it's a good idea.," Javier Solana, the formcr NATO secretary general, told a news briefing during a European Parliament session in Strasbourg.
Asked whether Italian calls to give the EU a permanent seat would mean France and Britain losing theirs, he said: "The Italian position doesn't foresee the French and British seats disappearing, but does foresee an EU seat." Solana, the EU's High Representative for its Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP), said he did not expect changes soon to the makeup of the Security Council, which has five permanent members France, Britain, the United States, China and Russia. "It would need time to have the possibility of turning such an idea into reality," he said. His comments coincide with debate about whether it is appropriate for France and Britain to keep their permanent seats on the Security Council, particularly as the 15 member EU strives to develop a coherent foreign policy identity.
Acknowledging that refom of the Security Council would be a long process, Solana told reporters that the current format "is probably not adapted to the realities of today. "It would be a step in the right direction if the international community achieves agreement for reform of the Security Council, European policy will have to have some representation. I do not say at this moment," he said. British European Affairs Minister Keith Vaz told reporters during a visit to Strasbourg that any change in Britain's role in the UN was "not on the agenda".
Europe Must Upgrade its Military Capabilities
Solana reiterated his belief that Europe must modernize its military, and that this would cost money. "I'm very convinced that if we want to be credible, one of the most important things is to upgrade our military capabilities. This may mean putting in some fresh money," He said recent events such as the Kosovo conflict illustrated the shortcomings in the ability of some European countries to provide hardware and personnel, compared with the United States which led a NATO bombing campaign. "European countries have a million soldiers on paper, but yet we bad problems to deploy 40,000 in Kosovo. That's the type of problem we face."
Solana and the EU's foreign and defence ministers met on Monday to consider how to forge a stronger foreign and security identity for Europe and consider creating a European force to tackle crises. Solana forecast significant developments in security and foreign policy in the next few months. EU leaders are supposed to decide how to move forward in this area during a summit of EU leaders in Helsinki next month.
Solana Considers One EU Seat in UN Solution to Divisions
By Honor Mahony
March 24, 2003
In an interview with Die Welt, the EU's high representative for Common Foreign and Security Policy, Javier Solana, offers some suggestions for how the current crisis in Europe could be avoided in the future. One of the main ideas would be for the EU to be represented by one set in the UN.
In an interview with Die Welt, the EU's high representative for Common Foreign and Security Policy, Javier Solana, offers some suggestions for how the current crisis in the European Union could be avoided in the future. A "possible cause" for the rift between the EU fifteen is the fact that the EU is not represented by one seat in the United Nations Security Council. "The EU is not represented by one seat in the United Nations. But the problems were created in the United Nations."
He noted the differences of opinion ran exactly between the four members of the Security Council - the UK and France (as permanent members) and Spain and Germany (as non-permanent members). "Imagine what influence Europe could have had if it had spoken with one voice?" asked Mr Solana. Speaking with one voice is not just something for the Union in the UN but for "the EU as a whole."
According to the Treaty of European Union, all EU member states have an obligation to refrain from doing anything that goes against a common position in foreign policy. "It is regrettable that precisely this was not followed by some member states," said the EU's foreign policy chief.
Weak Europe not in America's interest
Mr Solana believes that a weak Europe is not in America's interest. The big challenges in world politics are usually for both the USA and the EU, he says.
"Of course, Europe should invest more in its military capabilities, I have said that for years. But the USA is the number one and we do not have these strengths." Europe's strengths lie with international investment, development aid and trade.
"NATO can do for Europe's East what it did for Europe's West:
prevent a return to local rivalries, strengthen democracy against future threats, and create the conditions for prosperity to flourish." State Department
President Bill Clinton
1. Why are we enlarging NATO?
There are four primary reasons that the United States supports adding Poland, Hungary, and the Czech Republic to NATO.
Enlargement will make NATO stronger and better able to address Europe's security challenges. Europe has been a vital American security interest throughout this century. It remains so today. The addition of Poland, Hungary, and the Czech Republic to the Alliance will strengthen our common security, enhance NATO's ability to fulfill its core mission of collective defense, respond to a range of security challenges, and reduce the possibility of another major conflict in Europe of the kind that has claimed so many American lives. As NATO enlarges, more states will share the responsibility to bear NATO's core missions and address new security challenges including weapons proliferation, ethnic conflict and terrorism. The Alliance enlarged three times before, and each time NATO grew stronger. Adding new states to the Alliance today will do so as well.
Enlargement will strengthen NATO. Adding Poland, Hungary, and the Czech Republic to NATO will make the Alliance stronger and better able to address Europe's security challenges. These states will add over 200,000 troops to the Alliance as well as a willingness to contribute to the security of the surrounding region, as they have demonstrated through their contribution of over 1,000 troops to the mission in Bosnia. The military and strategic assets of these states will improve NATO's ability to carry out its collective defense and other missions.
Enlargement will bolster stability and democracy in Central Europe. The process of adding new states to NATO bolsters stability and democratic trends in Central Europe. Partly to improve their prospects for membership, states in the region have settled border and ethnic disputes with neighbors, strengthened civilian control of their militaries, and broadened protections for ethnic and religious minorities. Such actions not only make this region more stable and peaceful, but also create a better long-term climate for American trade and investment.
Enlarging NATO will erase Stalin's artificial dividing line in Europe. NATO enlargement will help prevent the emergence of a gray zone of insecurity in a region that has been at the heart of this century's worst conflicts. While not every interested state was invited to join NATO at Madrid, the Alliance will keep the door open for future members. Enlargement, combined with other arrangements like the Partnership for Peace, the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council (EAPC), the NATO-Russia Founding Act, and the NATO-Ukraine Charter will yield security benefits beyond NATO's own borders. As NATO enlarges, it is forging a more constructive relationship with Russia that will allow NATO and Russia to consult, coordinate activities, and act jointly where possible. NATO enlargement will erase the dividing line in Europe and is a tangible expression of America's commitment to remain engaged in Europe so that it can lead efforts to build a safer and more prosperous transatlantic area for the 21st century.
2. Does Russia oppose NATO enlargement?
While many Russian leaders have said they oppose enlargement, Russia has nevertheless decided to pursue a cooperative relationship with the United States and NATO as enlargement proceeds. At the March 1997 summit in Helsinki, for example, Presidents Clinton and Yeltsin were still able to make progress on nuclear arms control and economic issues despite differences over NATO enlargement. Even more important, on May 27, NATO leaders and President Yeltsin signed the NATO-Russia Founding Act to help establish a new and constructive relationship between NATO and Russia. That accord created a new forum, the Permanent Joint Council, that enables NATO and Russia to discuss security issues of mutual concern. This council has now met several times at the ministerial level.
NATO is, and always has been, a strictly defensive alliance, and both before and after enlargement, it poses no threat to Russia. Since the end of the Cold War, NATO has taken numerous steps that underscore it is not directed against Russia: It has reduced force levels dramatically, with a two-thirds reduction of U.S. troops in Europe; it has moved away from a massive forward deployment along the old East-West dividing line; and it has directly declared that it does not view Russia as an enemy. Ultimately, NATO enlargement will benefit Russia's security along with the rest of Europe by helping to enlarge the zone of democratic security on the continent. The United States and NATO will continue working closely with Russia to ensure that it can play an active and constructive role in building Europe's new security arrangements.
3. What does the NATO-Russia Council mean? Did the NATO-Russia Founding Act give too many concessions to Russia?
No. The Alliance has made no concessions to Russia, but rather has pursued steps that advance the interests of the Alliance and its members. The NATO-Russia Founding Act, signed May 27, 1997 in Paris, lays the foundation for a new and constructive relationship between the Alliance and Russia. At the same time, it provides a new basis for the Alliance and Russia to pursue mutual security concerns in a manner that can improve the security of the entire Euro-Atlantic area. NATO retains its full prerogatives. While Russia will work closely with NATO, it will not work within NATO. The Act makes clear that Russia has no veto over Alliance decisions or decision-making, and NATO retains the right to act independently when it so chooses
NATO's decision-making body, the North Atlantic Council (NAC), is and will remain the Alliance's sole decision-making authority, as defined in the Washington Treaty. Only NATO members will take part in NAC deliberations and policy decision-making. The Permanent Joint Council established under the Founding Act, while a potentially important new contribution to European security, has no power over NAC decisions.
4. How will NATO adapt to new members? Doesn't enlargement risk turning NATO into a "hollow alliance"?
No. Adding new members to the Alliance will make it stronger and better able to address new security challenges. When Greece and Turkey joined NATO in 1952, when West Germany joined in 1955, and when Spain joined the Alliance in 1982, their addition made NATO stronger, not weaker.
The three states the United States supports inviting to join the Alliance have over 300,000 thousand troops in their armed forces. They are modernizing their militaries, including upgrades to their communications, air traffic control systems, and overall interoperability with NATO, to work more effectively with NATO forces.
Further, the new members of NATO will enter an Alliance that has proven its ability to address the post-Cold War security environment, including through cooperation with other states. In Bosnia, NATO allies and many Partner countries have gained considerable experience working together. Since 1994, the Partnership for Peace program also has contributed significantly to preparing potential new members' militaries to join NATO.
The United States is committed to guaranteeing that NATO remains fully prepared militarily to meet all possible Article V or other security responsibilities after enlargement occurs. The United States is working with its existing and future allies to ensure their budgets and programs are sufficient to fulfill these requirements. The improvements that must take place in the militaries of Central and Eastern Europe will not take place overnight, but NATO will not create separate standards for new members. The reduced threat in Europe gives us the opportunity to bring new members along without jeopardizing their fledgling economies. Over time they will be expected to contribute fully to NATO's security.
5. After NATO enlarges, will its top commander still be an American?
Yes. The top commander of NATO--the Supreme Allied Commander in Europe, known as SACEUR--has always been an American. The current SACEUR is Gen. Wesley Clark. America is the largest and most powerful of the democracies that make up NATO. Because of America's leading role in Europe, there has been no discussion at NATO about changing this arrangement. Moreover, while NATO's strength derives in great part from its integrated military structure, in which troops from all allied countries plan, train, and operate together, American troops in NATO always remain under the ultimate command of American officers and of the President and Commander in Chief.
6. What kind of security commitments will be extended to the new members?
Poland, Hungary, and the Czech Republic will enjoy the same security commitments that all current NATO allies extend to one another. Article V of the North Atlantic Treaty of 1949 holds that "the Parties agree that an armed attack against one or more of them in Europe or North America shall be considered an attack against them all." The Treaty does not dictate what response each member will take in such a case and specifically provides that each government will take "such action as it deems necessary, including the use of armed force." Article XI of the Treaty says that Article V and other provisions will be "carried out by the Parties in accordance with their respective constitutional processes." This provision was added in 1949, partly at the insistence of the U.S. Senate, to ensure the constitutional role of Congress would be preserved for any use of armed force under the Treaty.
Thus the Treaty does not bind the United States to specific or automatic response in case of an attack on a NATO ally. The Treaty does, however, provide a strong political commitment to respond in an appropriate manner to ensure the security of the North Atlantic area. Over the decades, the United States and the other allies have given this commitment practical meaning through their substantial conventional and nuclear planning, training, and other preparations and deployments.
7. What will happen to Central European states that aren't invited into NATO?
Enlargement is a process, not a one-time event. Those states that were not invited to join NATO in Madrid in July were not denied membership for all time. Rather, NATO made a commitment that the door to future NATO membership for such states remains open, and that the first states admitted shall not be the last.
The U.S. and NATO are taking a range of steps to ensure that states not initially invited to join the Alliance are not left in a "gray zone" of uncertain security:
NATO will continue and strengthen its "intensified dialogues" with interested countries to ensure they receive specific information to better prepare them to join the Alliance.
NATO also is enhancing its successful Partnership for Peace (PfP) program that builds military cooperation and confidence between NATO and its 27 Partner states across Europe and the former Soviet Union.
In May 1997 NATO created the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council to give Partner states a broader voice in the PfP program and other cooperative efforts with NATO.
NATO has pursued new cooperative agreements with certain European states that have not sought NATO membership, such as with Ukraine.
Finally, the U.S. has directly pursued a range of initiatives with Central European states, irrespective of their prospects for NATO membership, to increase their security. An example is the Charter of Partnership that President Clinton signed with the presidents of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania on January 16. 8. What is the cost of NATO enlargement and why is the U.S. Government estimate lower than the others?
In December 1997, NATO completed a study of the military requirements of enlargement and developed an estimate of the cost of funding those requirements. It concluded that the additional cost to the Alliance's own common-funded budgets caused by the addition of Poland, Hungary, and the Czech Republic would be about $1.5 billion over the next 10 years. The U.S. pays about one-quarter of NATO's budgets. Thus, the additional cost to the U.S. is expected to be less than $400 million over this ten year period. This is the only direct cost to the U.S. as a result of the addition of Poland, Hungary, and the Czech Republic.
An earlier study by the Pentagon, completed in February 1997, noted that there also will be costs related to NATO's enlargement that will be borne by the national military budgets of our current and new allies. These include the costs to Poland, Hungary, and the Czech Republic of continuing to modernize their militaries and the costs to current allies of continuing to improve their military capability to carry out the strategy NATO adopted after the Cold War. These two categories of costs would be incurred whether or not the Alliance was adding new members. Using this broader definition of enlargement-related costs, the Pentagon estimated that the total cost to the U.S., current allies, and new allies would be about $27 billion to $35 billion over the period 1997-2009. While this notional analysis was useful, NATO's subsequent study, described above, provides a more detailed and accurate estimate of the likely costs of enlargement that will be borne by the United States.
Two other organizations, the RAND Corporation and the Congressional Budget Office, also developed cost estimates for NATO enlargement. Like the Pentagon's February 1997 study, the RAND Corporation also used a capabilities-based approach to develop notional cost estimates based on two categories: improving self-defense capabilities of new members and NATO power projection. RAND's analysis resulted in an estimate of approximately $42 billion in total costs over an unspecified 10-15 year period. In broad terms, the RAND methodology and cost estimates are compatible with the Administration's study.
In contrast, the Congressional Budget Office study used a threat-based approach to NATO enlargement, which for most of its cost options estimated the cost to launch a conventional defense for Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic, and Slovakia against an aggressive and militarily resurgent Russia. This approach resulted in defense upgrades that in every major category exceeded those of the Administration estimate. The CBO methodology is thus quite different from that of both the Administration and RAND, and is reflected in the CBO's maximum cost estimate of $124.7 billion over the 15-year period from 1996 to 2010. In the current security environment, however, the Administration does not believe that the threat assumptions leading to the CBO's higher cost estimate are likely to develop.
9. Why not invite these countries into the European Union instead?
We do not have to make an either/or choice concerning how best to preserve European security. Both NATO and the European Union (EU) are adapting to meet the challenges of the post-Cold War era. Both organizations can help build a broader, undivided, democratic and peaceful Europe. Indeed, the integration of the Central European nations into the EU over time is a goal that the EU has set for itself.
The Administration fully supports EU enlargement. Extending the EU will help integrate the entire European continent, but EU enlargement also requires current and new members to make vast and complex adjustments in their regulatory regimes. If NATO enlargement can proceed more quickly, why wait to further integrate Europe until tomato farmers in Central Europe start using the right kind of pesticide?
Expanding the EU instead of enlarging NATO, moreover, will not secure the gains of democracy in Europe and ensure stability on the continent for two reasons. First, unlike the EU, NATO is a transatlantic organization and therefore can ensure that a united Europe maintains its strongest link to North America. Second, unlike the EU, NATO has a highly developed military structure that remains important for European security. The security that NATO provides has always been and will continue to be essential to the prosperity that the EU promises.
10. What is the process of enlargement and of ratification of enlargement?
At NATO's Madrid Summit in July 1997, the Alliance invited Poland, Hungary, and the Czech Republic to begin the process of becoming members. During the fall, NATO conducted detailed talks with each of these states about their political and military readiness to join the Alliance and share its responsibilities. On the basis of these talks, on December 16, Secretary of State Albright and the other NATO foreign ministers signed the protocols of accession that will add these three states to the North Atlantic Treaty of 1949. All 16 current allied states must ratify the addition of the new members. Ratification procedures vary among the 16 members, and some may require a year or so to complete. We expect the entire ratification process to be completed, and the new allies to take their place in NATO, by 1999--the Alliance's 50th anniversary.
In the United States, ratification requires a two-thirds vote of the Senate in the form of an amendment to the Washington Treaty of 1949 that created NATO. The Senate NATO Observer Group, formed by Majority Leader Trent Lott (R-MS), will help ensure a vigorous and comprehensive debate of enlargement in the Senate. NATO enlargement can only proceed with the bipartisan support of the American public and their representatives in Congress. The Administration will work closely with the public, the Congress, and with interested organizations to ensure this important national security initiative succeeds.
Stuart E. Eizenstat
Under Secretary of State for Economic, Business, and Agricultural Affairs
Address to the Secretary's Open Forum
April 6, 1999
As prepared for delivery
The Future of U.S.-EU Relationship
Thank you very much for that kind introduction. It is a real pleasure for me to be with you to discuss the future of the U.S.-European Union relationship. I am grateful for the opportunity allowed me by the Secretary's Open Forum to share some of our ideas with you.
Looking towards the future with you today, none of us can fail to note that, among the challenges of the 21st century, the member states of NATO on both sides of the Atlantic are confronting one of the worst legacies of the 20th century in former Yugoslavia. While we have consolidated freedom and security in Central Europe and placed Northeastern Europe on the path of integration and cooperation, Europe as a whole will not be secure until we defeat the forces of genocidal violence and ethnic cleansing in Southeastern Europe.
The advent of a 21st century -- a new millennium -- must inevitably bring with it such hyperbole as declarations about a new Europe and a new transatlantic relationship. Yet it is a fact of contemporary life that this unique historical moment coincides with today's dramatic changes, and transatlantic relations are indeed on the threshold of a new era. Some wonder whether that new era will see the European Union and the United States drift apart. I do not. I believe that the nature of a globalized economy and the common political challenges we face will inexorably bring us even closer together.
Today's tragic expulsion from their homes of the Kosovar Albanians finds the United States and the European Union consulting closely in order to share the burden of temporarily hosting these innocent victims of Milosevic's ethnic cleansing. It has been heartening that the alliance has held together so well under such a difficult situation in Kosovo. It is important with respect to the enormous wave of refugees that we all play an appropriate role in resettling them. The United States has agreed to take 20,000. We hope the European countries will be generous in dealing with this extraordinary human crisis on the European continent.
Indeed, I believe that the EU and the United States now should join together to work on a program for the integration of the countries of Southeastern Europe -- including Bosnia, Croatia, Macedonia, Montenegro, and open to a future democratic Serbia -- to reduce the likelihood of future conflict. Building blocks for this program could well consist of already functioning elements like the European Union's Royaumont Process, which focuses on regional democracy and civil society issues; the region's own Central Europe Free Trade Association; and the U.S. Government's Southeastern Europe Cooperative Initiative (SECI), Southern Balkan Development Initiative (SBDI), and Southeastern Europe Defense Ministerial (SEDM); as well as other regional initiatives. An investment here can avoid far larger costs occasioned by military action.
Clearly, this past decade, change has been so rapid it is often difficult to grasp. A new world is upon us. The old glue of the Cold War has dried out and permitted mutual distractions to pull us in directions that can differ. Domestic constituencies may constrain our abilities to address jointly both new challenges and new opportunities.
But we believe we should resist the tendency to divide our intimately connected transatlantic community into "them and us." In fact, issues and opinions cut across national boundaries and, indeed, the Atlantic. First, our societies have become so intertwined that public opinion is often divided almost as much within as between countries. Secretary Albright recently said, "our differences are within the family." Second, the issues that do divide us tend to be particular and separate -- and should not threaten the enormously complex and productive relationship enjoyed by the United States and the European Union. Third, just as with particular issues, individual leaders will come and go (as the resignation of the Santer Commission so vividly reminds us), but the relationship endures despite internal political change. If you will forgive my saying so, we must be careful not to mix apples and oranges -- or bananas.
From the American perspective, three significant events are transforming our relationship, and they offer both opportunities and challenges.
First, economic relations between the United States and the European Union are based increasingly on a foundation of equality, interdependence, and mutual benefit.
Second, the conclusion of the Cold War brought broadened and often deepened ties, rather than a retreat into isolationism. Issues once viewed as "domestic" or "global" have become interwoven, inseparable elements in a relationship no longer overwhelmingly dominated only by traditional military security concerns. These issues are sources both of irritation and cooperation in a more broadly based and more equal relationship.
Third, the great enterprise of constructing a Europe whole and free is on its way towards success, albeit slowly when it comes to enlargement of the European Union and still incomplete in the Balkans, as the tragedy of Kosovo painfully demonstrates. Today, the emphasis in American thinking is slowly shifting from what the United States can do for Europe, to what the United States can do with Europe to promote our common interests. America looks to Europe for a partner. In the eyes of some Americans, European eyes remain so focused on the process of creating a more united Europe that they miss the dangers and opportunities growing around them.
As Europe fulfills its promise, as it integrates and enlarges, we need to recommit ourselves to a strengthened European-American relationship. We need a shared vision to guide joint efforts to promote our common interests and values across the globe.
Such a vision cannot be a plan made in America. Instead, our thoughts here represent a draft for the consideration of our partners.
The Way Ahead
Our approach is directly inspired by the goal described by President Clinton of establishing a real partnership with a free, undivided, and integrated Europe.
We want to build a partnership with a Europe ready and able to act with us to promote and defend our common interests. We seek to expand the scope of our cooperation to meet challenges with which no single country -- or the European Union -- can cope alone. We pursue a more effective sharing of responsibilities as we assume a broader array of tasks together.
The U.S.-EU Relationship
With the European Union we have an extremely broad agenda -- indeed, one that is often global in scope. I consider it no hyperbole to suggest that the relationship between the United States and the European Union may be the most important, influential, and prosperous economic bilateral relationship of modern times.
American and European prosperity is intertwined. The United States and Europe enjoy the largest economic relationship in the world -- a combined annual trade and investment relationship of more than $2 trillion. We have a $300 billion trade relationship between countries with high wages, high labor and environmental standards, and open, largely non-discriminatory access to each other's markets. 14 million jobs on both sides of the Atlantic are generated by this economic relationship. A growing European Union means opportunities for American business and jobs for American workers. At a time of global financial insecurity, rising trade deficits, and doubts about globalization and trade, this is an economic relationship that works.
What is more, where the United States and European Union can agree -- as in the International Technology Agreement, Basic Telecommunications Services, and Financial Services in the WTO -- global progress can be achieved by both the EU and the United States getting on board a critical mass of key developing countries. We have similar obligations on China's WTO accession and on a future, new comprehensive trade round. Only together can we realize our goal of a barrier-free transatlantic market marked by shared environmental and labor standards that would be a model for the entire world.
That is why we view the euro not as a threat but as an important sign that our European partners understand their responsibility to act together with us as engines of growth, financial stability, and open markets.
A successful EMU that promotes sustained growth and stability in Europe is very much in our interest, as well as in Europe's. We have always maintained, however, that the key decisions concerning EMU are an internal matter for Europe to determine on its own.
The EU is currently engaged in an important period of integration and enlargement decisions, of which EMU is perhaps the most notable. We are hopeful that the launching of the euro will contribute to the integration of Europe and reinforce Europe's strong cooperation with other regions and the broader multilateral system. It will reduce the cost of doing business in Europe, open new trade and investment opportunities to U.S. manufacturers and service providers, and provide new impetus toward further reform in Europe and cooperation with the United States and others in achieving global economic growth and financial stability.
Despite these advantages, however, unanswered questions remain that are important to U.S. business. While the EU-11 were successful in aligning key criteria in their economies for initiation of EMU, their ability to respond to macroeconomic imbalances within the constraints of monetary union is yet to be tested. It remains to be seen whether other EU members agree to join EMU, as well as whether EU accession candidates can be integrated into this process.
Questions have been raised about whether the euro will replace the dollar as the world's primary international currency. It is difficult to know the degree to which the euro, over time, will take on a greater role as a reserve currency. Reserve money status depends on a variety of factors. What is important for the United States is that we continue to ensure that U.S. macroeconomic policies earn the respect of world markets.
Similarly, whether the new euro will be a strong or a weak currency depends on a broad number of factors. What is important for the success of EMU is the degree to which it leads to a credible macroeconomic policy regime, structural reforms, and the successful establishment of a more dynamic economy in Europe.
Our overall trade relationship with Europe is strong and positive. Yet problems do exist, and there are obviously challenges in front of us. We are now entering a crucial period in our economic relationship with Europe.
The EU recently completed a politically difficult process to reform its Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), an effort that has large implications for the types of subsidies our own farmers will have to compete against in the future. The key CAP reforms agreed to by the European Council in March were cutting guaranteed prices for cereals over the next several years by 15%, cutting guaranteed prices of milk by 15% beginning in the year 2005, and cutting the basic price of beef by 20%. Overall spending cuts were adopted, a critically important step since CAP spending has grown almost continually since 1962 and is nearly half of the EU's annual budget. We, of course, welcome any movement toward agricultural reform in the EU, particularly to the extent that these reforms will reduce the use of trade-distorting export and other subsidies
That said, however, the reforms approved by the European Council are disappointing. They do not appear to go far enough in terms of reducing the CAP's distorting effects on the world trading system. The reforms did not cut the link between price supports and production, assuring continued surpluses and export subsidies needed to reduce them. Indeed, the final reforms agreed to by the European Council watered down the changes that EU Agriculture Ministers had approved earlier in the month. We have consistently urged the EU to go farther and made clear our intentions in the next round to limit and/or eliminate those types of farm policies that impose costs on others. It is simply not right that U.S. and other farmers around the world, including those in developing countries, should be forced to compete against the subsidies funded by European taxpayers. Vice President Gore laid this out well in Davos in February, when he said we will seek nothing less than the elimination once and for all of trade-distorting export subsidies. We will continue to send this message, making clear our ambitious objectives for the next WTO round and stressing that the more market-oriented the EU's farm policies become, the better they will serve Europe and the world trading system.
In the current environment of serious bilateral transatlantic trade concerns, it will be important for us to hammer home the principles of fair and transparent trade rules, of respecting international commitments, and of using scientific principles, not politics, to make environmental, health, and safety decisions. Relying on these principles is the best way for the United States and the EU to reduce our frictions and to remove the emotions that so often cloud what should be technical actions.
The need for a set of clear and rational trading principles may be greatest in the area of biotechnology.
Biotechnology offers humankind an effective tool to create sustainable solutions to help meet global needs in health care, food supply, and environmental protection. Some genetically-modified plants require fewer pesticides and herbicides and less irrigation, reducing negative impacts on health and environment. For the added 1.5 billion people to be fed in the next two decades, the greatest hope lies in the use of a combination of existing tools and new techniques, including biotechnology.
U.S. agricultural products -- everything from tomato paste to vegetable oil and bulk commodities -- increasingly involve biotechnology. Within a few years, most of our agricultural commodity production will be genetically modified organisms (GMOs) or mixed with GMO products. We can expect that the EU's farmers will inevitably move smartly to biotechnology production, as other agricultural producers are already doing, including those in the developing world, and as the European pharmaceutical industry has done.
Let me be clear. As a WTO member, the EU, like the United States, enjoys the right to a system of government oversight for GMOs to assure public health and safety. However, the standards that the EU and the other members of the WTO have solemnly pledged to implement and uphold require that system to be fair, transparent, predictable, timely and based on sound scientific principles.
By the same token, nations can establish their own food-labeling regulations consistent with their existing international obligations. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration requires labeling for any food, GMO or not, that presents a significant change in nutritional or compositional value. What the United States does not accept is labeling that is misleading and that implies that GMO products are somehow dangerous or of lesser quality, when scientific evidence, testing, and approvals show no risk to human health.
Today and in the future, the United States addresses and will address biotechnology product safety through a rigorous examination process. That scientific rigor and the transparency of our process go a long way towards explaining why the many biotechnology products now on the U.S. market have enjoyed general consumer acceptance.
Unfortunately, the risk assessment and approval processes for biotechnology that the EU has used to date are not transparent, not predictable, and not based on scientific principles. They are all too susceptible to political interference. These shortcomings are demonstrated in the somewhat similar and very relevant beef hormone case before the WTO. After ten years and two WTO rulings against it, the EU continues to search for the "right" scientific evidence to support a political prejudice against beef raised with growth hormones. The EU claims to have 17 new studies underway, yet no one can tell us who is conducting these studies, how they are being run, what procedures they are following and whether there is any opportunity for public review and comment. It is unreasonable and unfair to have some in the EU endlessly use the excuse of just one more study that might, this time, possibly find something to justify keeping its trade restrictions in place.
The EU's handling of biotechnology will help determine the future of both our enormously important bilateral economic relationship and the international trade rules we have jointly worked so hard to establish. Indeed, there are leaders in Europe who recognize that an EU regulatory system elaborated in accord with its own international trade commitments would be a boon to both business and consumers, allowing all to benefit from the use of biotechnology without fear or apprehension. The United States stands ready to work with the EU as it develops such a system, but the time to act is now.
Squabbles in the huge U.S.-EU economic relationship are inevitable -- since we are both economic partners and competitors. However, in the absence of a shared vision of our global role in preserving prosperity, special interests are likely to drive us into a series of confrontations that will erode the basis of economic security for all our citizens.
The sad fact is that the oft-referred-to banana and beef hormone cases give evidence of EU behavior which results in undercutting world confidence in the WTO dispute-resolution process. The United States -- as well as Latin American banana-producing countries -- have been waiting for more than six years for the EU to comply with rulings of GATT and WTO dispute panels (in 1993-94 and 1997-98, respectively), which found the EU's banana import regime discriminatory. And concerning beef hormones, our wait is a decade old. Just contrast this with U.S. alacrity in abiding by WTO decisions in the four cases lost by the United States.
It is in this context that we need to acknowledge our differences and to resolve them before passions become inflamed. Frankly, if we do not effectively use bilateral and multilateral institutions to find solutions, the domestic political process on both sides of the Atlantic may lose faith, setting us up for a dangerous cycle of retaliation. On both sides of the Atlantic, we need to recognize that our citizens' lives are so closely interwoven and that issues can no longer be neatly categorized as either "domestic" or "global." For this reason, both of us will need to give the phrase "political will" a constructive meaning, as we further develop agreed early-warning and resolution mechanisms to ensure that disputes do not get out of hand.
Less well understood is how our relationship affects not just our prosperity but also our ability to improve other aspects of the lives of our citizens. Nearly four years ago, I was honored to be at the side of President Clinton and his European counterparts for the launch of the New Transatlantic Agenda. This process has produced real benefits for real people, not just stimulating investment and trade but also reducing the threats our citizens face from crime, terrorism, nuclear proliferation, pollution, drugs, and disease.
We have acted together to meet a range of challenges none of us can meet alone. There is no area of the globe, no major political issue, and no aspect of human activity on which we do not consult. Nonetheless, just as EU integration is incomplete, so is our across-the-board cooperation. The key to our vision is to broaden the scope of our partnership as the EU enlarges and to deepen our cooperation as EU integration deepens. This is as true on common foreign and security policy as anywhere else. We want a partner that can act. Thus, the more rapidly Europe becomes prepared to act as a full partner across the full range of issues and challenges we both face, the better for the United States. The United States, as much as anyone else, seeks a CFSP that is coordinated and effective.
This does not mean that the United States seeks a seat at the EU table. We do not. Instead, our goals are to chart a 21st century partnership that is more balanced, more effective, and dedicated to expanding our joint actions to address global issues and to promote our common values and interests around the world.
We hope to build on our experience with the New Transatlantic Agenda at the June U.S.-EU Summit in Bonn. We have initiated a dialogue with the new German government, as President of the EU, on how to highlight our common destiny. If we continue to get this partnership right, we could be on the way towards a 21st century of peace and prosperity.
When he visited Brussels in January of 1994, President Clinton spoke to an audience of young people from all over Europe -- and to a few of us officials -- setting forth his vision of a free, undivided, and integrated Europe in full partnership with the United States. Mindful of this vision, our European partners and we are managing a transition to a new era no longer bound by the Cold War. We have not completed that process; many challenges remain. Terrible conflict in Southeastern Europe, poverty and instability beyond EU and NATO borders, and the challenges of globalization -- such as international crime and internal economic adjustments -- are still to be overcome. Our first challenge thus remains to strengthen transatlantic bonds as we ensure, within Europe, the continued integration of the continent through the enlargement and modernization of NATO and the European Union, and through strengthened partnerships with Russia, Ukraine, and other democratizing Newly Independent States.
But we have made enough progress to justify taking the next logical steps -- to work not just for Europe to complete a Europe whole and free, but also with Europe to meet common challenges to our security, prosperity, and the quality of our citizens' lives. We will continue to celebrate the dream of a continent united through the European Union, but we must also hold before us another essential vision -- that of a transatlantic partnership.
We understand that the unique European-U.S. relationship both continues to enable us to achieve things we cannot achieve on our own and often frames the global agenda. However, the competitive nature of today's world and our societies means that we must actively manage and guide the relationship. Inaction leads to drift and, when our paths diverge, neither of us is at our most effective; stalemate and crisis can result.
A strategy to forge an enhanced, interlocking Euro-Atlantic partnership holds enormous potential for improving our ability to shape our world and the daily lives of our citizens. Our hope is that our European partners will join us in constructing such a partnership for the 21st century.
Thank you. http://www.state.gov/www/policy_remarks/1999/990406_eizenstat_useu.html
Miriam Sapiro, Policy Planning Staff, Office of the Secretary
Article prepared for Insight, Number 15, March 1997,
published by The American Society of International Law.
The OSCE: An Essential Component of European Security
The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe ("OSCE") is one of the most important÷but sometimes least understood÷components of European security today. As the only pan-European security organization, the OSCE has a crucial role to play in conquering past hostilities and building genuine cooperative security. To some, however, the OSCE is known only for its human rights advocacy as the product of the "Helsinki Process" launched in 1975. Indeed, the relationship between the full observance of human rights and security remains fundamental to the OSCE. Others think of the OSCE still in terms of its former identity as the rotating Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE).
But gradually the OSCE is gaining prominence in its own right because of the visible and effective role it is playing in enhancing overall security within and among States. Most notably at present, the OSCE is working to consolidate peace in Bosnia and foster democratization in Serbia.
The OSCE Summit held in Lisbon on December 2-3, 1996, made clear the centrality of the organization to efforts underway to build a more secure, democratic and peaceful Europe. The OSCE, along with NATO, the EU and other transatlantic and European institutions, is committed to realizing the vision of a New Atlantic Community, without artificial and hostile dividing lines, where all members feel secure. As the leaders of the participating States who gathered at Lisbon unambiguously declared: "The OSCE plays a central role in achieving our goal of a common security space. Its fundamental elements--the comprehensiveness and indivisibility of security and allegiance to shared values, commitments and norms of behavior--inspire our vision of empowering governments and individuals to build a better and more secure future."
The OSCE supplements the work of traditional security structures in Europe, such as NATO and the United Nations. As Vice-President Gore said at the Lisbon Summit, "the OSCE continues to be a place where the issues that affect the destiny of Europe can be debated on equal footing by all governments. The OSCE is unique in this regard. But the OSCE has become much more than a great forum of nations. It has become a way for nations to join together both in word and deed to address practical problems and challenges to those principles which form the core of this body."
The OSCE has unique attributes that make it the forum of choice in many situations. Of first and foremost importance, the OSCE is the most inclusive Euro-Atlantic forum for consultation and joint action. Its geographical diversity stretches from Vancouver to Vladivostok, and it includes all of the Central Asian republics that were once part of the Soviet Union. Second, as noted by Vice President Gore, all OSCE States have equal participatory rights; each voice is as important as the next. Third, the absence of a rigid legal structure allows the OSCE to respond quickly and flexibly to breaking political events.
A perceived weakness of the OSCE is its requirement for consensus for most actions. While this requirement can result in less sweeping kinds of decisions, it can also be considered a strength. The search for a common denominator can reinforce the sense of an OSCE community and improve prospects for implementation.
The problems and challenges facing the OSCE community today come from different sources. They include not only potential challenges to sovereignty, but threats to peace from ethnic tensions and violent separatism within States. The OSCE also addresses some of the tough transnational threats States face, such as destabilizing migration and environmental damage. Other transnational threats, such as weapons proliferation, terrorism and drug trafficking are becoming the subject of increasing OSCE attention.
The OSCE has broken new ground in developing effective tools for conflict prevention, crisis management and post-conflict rehabilitation to address these various risks and threats to security. Some tools address the root causes of tension; others focus on the symptoms of trouble. One tool is the opportunity for a group of thirteen concerned States to call for an Emergency Meeting to address a threat to a principle of the Helsinki Final Act or a major threat to peace. Another tool is OSCE Missions, which have made major contributions to forging peace in Bosnia and in Chechnya, as well as stability in other areas. A third instrument is the OSCE High Commissioner for National Minorities, who has perceptively used early warning signals and preventive diplomacy to defuse minority tensions in the Baltics and other States.
The OSCE also has at its disposal several novel methods for the peaceful settlement of disputes. One of several methods is the "directed conciliation" procedure. This mechanism enables the OSCE to direct disputing States to conciliate their differences, based on previously agreed rules. As such, it combines the OSCEâs strength of being able to exert political pressure on recalcitrant States with the theory that a consensual solution may be the more likely to succeed. Directed conciliation, like other OSCE mechanisms designed specifically for disputes, has yet to be used. To some extent, the mere availability of these tools provides an incentive to encourage States to resolve serious differences on their own.
These tools did not exist when the foundations of the OSCE were laid. After the United States, the Soviet Union, other members of NATO and the Warsaw Pact, and other European States signed the Helsinki Final Act in 1975, the (then) CSCE was seen by the West as primarily a way to press the East on human rights issues. Nonetheless, the Final Act described ten principles encompassing the basic tenets that guide relations between States. These principles continue to form the cornerstone of the OSCE process today. Documents negotiated after the 1975 Helsinki Meeting created additional commitments, although none have had the historic importance of the Final Act.
The Final Act and subsequent OSCE commitments reflect the fundamental notion that genuine security among nations in the region is comprehensive, inclusive and cooperative. Such security derives from politically binding commitments in all dimensions of security, not just military but civil and political, economic, environmental and scientific. These commitments are equally applicable to all OSCE States. Their full implementation is constantly reviewed at OSCE meetings. Such interaction reinforces the highly interdependent nature of security in the OSCE region, where no nation can feel fully secure if its citizens feel unsafe or its neighbors feel threatened.
As new states have emerged in Europe, the number of States participating in the OSCE has grown. Following the dissolution of the Soviet Union, all twelve former republics and the three Baltic Republics joined. After the disintegration of Yugoslavia, four of the five successor states joined: Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Republic of Croatia, The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Slovenia. The Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (Serbia and Montenegro) (known as the "FRY") tried unsuccessfully to assume Yugoslaviaâs seat. The OSCE suspended Yugoslaviaâs participation, and political sanctions preclude action upon a request by the FRY to join. The admission of Andorra brings the number of OSCE participating States to 54.
During the 1970's and 1980's, it was appropriate to call the entity a "Conference" or the "CSCE." The body met for varying periods of time at irregular intervals, as decided by the participants. But with the end of the Cold War, the 1990âs opened up opportunities for closer and more frequent consultation. With the historic adoption of the Charter of Paris for a New Europe in 1990--which for the first time recognized the need to build and strengthen democracy "as the only system of government" in all participating States, the CSCE decided to have regular meetings at different political levels, and to establish a secretariat in Prague for administrative support. At that time it established a "Conflict Prevention Centre" in Vienna, as well as an "Office of Free Elections" in Warsaw. The Warsaw office has since expanded to become the "Office of Democratic Institutions and Human Rights," which monitors human rights and electoral practices throughout the region.
The 1992 Helsinki Summit created the job of Chairman-in-Office ("CIO"), which rotates among OSCE states annually. The CIO functions like a private-sector Chief Executive Officer, and includes responsibility for coordinating the fulfillment of OSCE's day-to-day responsibilities. Later in 1992, Foreign Ministers met in Stockholm and established the post of Secretary General ("SG"). As the OSCE's Chief Administrative Officer, the SG serves a more administrative than political function, acting under the political guidance of the Chairman-in-Office, advising on the financial implications of various proposals, and supervising the support provided by the OSCE secretariat. On occasion the SG represents the OSCE at international meetings; there is currently debate whether the position should assume a more political role.
The Stockholm Ministerial also established a group of representatives of the participating States to meet in Vienna as needed to implement decisions taken at more senior levels. This group became a permanent fixture in 1993, when Foreign Ministers met in Rome and created a permanent body for political consultation and decision-making. This "Permanent Committee" was established to handle day-to-day operational tasks and to meet on a continuous basis in Vienna.
The 1994 Budapest Summit clarified and revitalized the roles of the different levels of leadership and management that had evolved since 1990. The Ministerial Council is now the central decision-making and governing body of the OSCE; it meets once a year at the level of either Heads of State (or Government) or Foreign Minister. Between these meetings, the Senior Council is responsible for setting policy and broad budgetary guidelines; it meets in Prague on average twice a year, including before the Ministerial Council Meeting. Most operational decisions are made by the Permanent Council (formerly the Permanent Committee), which remains the regular body for consultation and decision-making. The Chairman-in-Office remains vested with overall responsibility for executive action. There continues to be a secretariat in Vienna with a smaller office in Prague, as well as the institutions of the Office of Democratic Institutions and Human Rights in Warsaw and the Conflict Prevention Centre in Vienna.
The Budapest Summit also changed the name of the CSCE to the OSCE. The change reflects the determination of the participating States to give the body a new political impetus. While there was little doubt before Budapest that the CSCEâs existence was no longer a temporary phenomenon, the change in name to the OSCE reflected both its evolution into a more established political structure and the expectation that it would play an even greater role in maintaining regional security and enhancing stability in the years to come.
The OSCE is well poised to meet this challenge and contribute to building a democratic and peaceful Europe, which remains central to Americaâs security and prosperity. Its reorganization since 1990 has transformed the body into an innovative structure for consultation and concerted action. At its disposal today are a myriad of instruments to provide early warning of brewing tensions, prevent tensions from developing into full-blown crises and defuse conflicts should they arise.
An important component of building a united Europe is the opening of NATO and the EU to new members. In 1994, as this process was just beginning, the OSCEâs Budapest Summit adopted a "Code of Conduct" which reaffirmed the right of each State to be free to choose its own security arrangements, including treaties of alliance. At Budapest, OSCE States reaffirmed that they will not strengthen their security at the expense of others. These kinds of OSCE commitments, negotiated among all the States concerned with and directly affected by European security issues, can support the transformation of other organizations.
At the December 1996 Lisbon Summit, OSCE leaders focused on preparing the OSCE for the challenges of the new century. They adopted a Declaration on a Common and Comprehensive Security Model for the Twenty-First Century that sets forth enhanced ways to jointly address security issues. Leaders also pledged to realize the OSCEâs full potential to work with other organizations in a mutually reinforcing way to consolidate peace throughout the region. Participants at Lisbon also welcomed the decision reached by OSCE States that are signatory to the Treaty on Conventional Forces in Europe to begin negotiations to adapt the Treaty to the changing security environment in Europe.
The OSCE's recent work in Bosnia and Serbia provides a good illustration of its potential. Bosnia marks the OSCEâs largest operational challenge to date, and it has acquitted itself well. As anticipated in the Dayton Peace Agreement, the OSCE Mission undertook responsibility for the conduct of national and municipal elections, arms control negotiations and human rights monitoring. Against great odds, national elections were held in September 1996 to elect the new leaders of the joint Bosnian institutions. The OSCE is now working to resolve difficult issues related to the municipal elections planned for later this year.
The OSCE's response to the growing political crisis in Serbia is an example of the importance of flexible instruments that can be deployed quickly. When it became clear that Serbian authorities would not recognize the victories won by the opposition parties in the November 17 municipal elections, the OSCE Chairman-in-Office (then Swiss Foreign Minister Cotti) promptly dispatched former Spanish Prime Minster Felipe Gonzalez as his Personal Representative to Belgrade. Mr. Gonzalez and his OSCE delegation, which included as the U.S. representative former Ambassador Max Kampelman, concluded that the opposition had indeed won in the contested municipalities. The OSCE Delegation called upon Serbian authorities to accept and abide by these results, a position which OSCE States endorsed on January 3, 1997. Sustained pressure towards full implementation of the election results, improved human rights observance and greater democratization continues to be exerted on Serbia by the OSCE.
Some of the credit for the positive changes that have occurred in Europe since 1975 is due to the CSCE and, now, the OSCE. Confrontation between East and West has given way to cooperation. The debate whether human rights and fundamental freedoms are a legitimate matter of international concern has ended. There is consensus that democracy is the preferred form of government, and that it must be consolidated and strengthened throughout the region. The continuing work of the OSCE can help make the vision of a truly secure and united Europe a reality. http://www.state.gov/www/regions/eur/970300sapiro.html
President Bush Welcomes Seven Nations to the NATO Alliance
Remarks by the President on the Enlargement of NATO
The South Lawn
For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
March 29, 2004
3:42 P.M. EST
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you all. Good afternoon, and welcome to the White House.
Fifty-five years ago, the representatives of 12 nations gathered here in Washington to sign the North Atlantic Treaty, which established the most successful military alliance in history. Today, we proudly welcome Bulgaria -- (applause) -- Estonia -- (applause) -- Latvia -- (applause) -- Lithuania -- (applause) -- Romania -- (applause) -- Slovakia -- (applause) --and Slovenia. (Applause.) We welcome them into the ranks of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. (Applause.)
When NATO was founded, the people of these seven nations were captives to an empire. They endured bitter tyranny, they struggled for independence, they earned their freedom through courage and perseverance. And today they stand with us as full and equal partners in this great alliance. (Applause.)
It has been my honor to host the Prime Ministers of each new NATO member in the Oval Office. I want to thank them for their friendship, I want to thank them for their leadership. I look forward to working with them to make the world more peaceful and more free. Welcome to America. (Applause.)
I want to thank the foreign and defense ministers of the new NATO members who are with us today. I want to thank the Prime Ministers of Albania, Croatia and Macedonia, who are with us today. (Applause.) Jaap de Hoop Scheffer is with us today, who is the Secretary General of NATO. Thank you for coming, Mr. Secretary General. I thank the Ambassadors of all the members of NATO, both old and new.
I want to thank the Vice President, Secretary of State Powell, Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld, General Dick Myers, General Jones, members of my administration. I want to thank the members of Congress who are with us today; Majority Leader Bill Frist of the United States Senate; members of the Senate which voted unanimously in support of the admission of the new members that we welcome today. (Applause.) I want to thank the members of the House of Representatives who have joined us today. I want to thank those who are here today whose vision years ago helped make this moment a reality. I want to thank other distinguished guests. Welcome.
Today marks a great achievement for each of the nations joining our alliance. All member nations of NATO must be free and democratic and fully committed to defending the principles of liberty. All member nations must be willing, and able, to contribute to the common defense of our alliance. Our seven new members have built free institutions, they've increased their military capabilities in the span of a decade. They are stronger nations because of that remarkable effort -- and the NATO alliance is made stronger by their presence. (Applause.)
Since NATO's founding, the assurance of mutual defense has been a safeguard for peace. As President Truman said, "By this treaty, we are not only seeking to establish freedom from aggression and from the use of force in the North Atlantic community, but we are also actively striving to promote and preserve peace throughout the world."
Under NATO's banner, the nations of Europe put aside rivalries that had divided the continent for centuries. NATO members stood watch on freedom's borders for two generations of the Cold War. Because of NATO's vigilance, free people lifted the Iron Curtain, and tore down the Berlin Wall and replaced dictators with democratic governments.
In the aftermath of this victory, some questioned whether NATO could -- or should -- survive the end of the Cold War. Then the alliance proved its enduring worth by stopping ethnic cleansing in Bosnia, and by ousting the armies of a tyrant in Kosovo. Some wondered whether NATO could adapt to the new threats of the 21st century. Those doubts were laid to rest on September the 12th, 2001, when NATO invoked -- for the first time in its history -- Article Five of our charter, which states that an attack against one NATO ally is an attack against all. (Applause.)
NATO's core mission remains the same: the defense of its members against any aggression. Today, our alliance faces a new enemy, which has brought death to innocent people from New York to Madrid. Terrorists hate everything this alliance stands for. They despise our freedom, they fear our unity, they seek to divide us. They will fail. We will not be divided. (Applause.) We will never bow to the violence of a few. We will never -- we will face the mortal danger of terrorism, and we will overcome it together. (Applause.)
The countries we welcome today were friends before they were allies, and they were allies in action before becoming allies by treaty. Today, all seven of these nations are helping to bring lasting freedom to Afghanistan and Iraq. Bulgaria provided refueling facilities during the early days of Operation Enduring Freedom, and has deployed more than 400 soldiers to Iraq. (Applause.) Military engineers from Estonia and Latvia are helping to clear explosive devices from Iraq. (Applause.) Forces from Lithuania and Slovakia are helping to secure Iraq. (Applause.) Romanian troops have sacrificed their lives fighting terrorists in Afghanistan. (Applause.) And troops from Slovenia are serving in the international force that is protecting the city of Kabul in Afghanistan. (Applause.)
Forces from Albania, Croatia, and Macedonia are also contributing in Afghanistan or Iraq -- proving their mettle as they aspire to NATO membership. (Applause.) These three nations, joined together under the Adriatic Charter, are building strong democracies at home that can contribute to NATO efforts abroad. The United States supports these efforts. The door to NATO will remain open until the whole of Europe is united in freedom and in peace. (Applause.)
As witness to some of the great crimes of the last century, our new members bring moral clarity to the purposes of the Alliance. They understand our cause in Afghanistan and in Iraq, because tyranny for them is still a fresh memory. These nations know that when great democracies fail to confront danger, far worse peril can follow. They know that aggression, left unchecked, can rob millions of their liberty and their lives. And so now, as members of NATO, they are stepping forward to secure the lives and freedom of others. (Applause.)
The NATO alliance now flies seven new flags, and reaches from the Bay of Biscay to the Black Sea. And Europe -- once the source of global conflict -- is now a force for stability and peace.
Our great transatlantic alliance has met and overcome great dangers in the past, and our work in NATO is not done. In the past, many assumed that NATO represented a pledge that America would come to the aid of Europe. Today, by our words and by our actions, we know that NATO means much more -- it is a solemn commitment that America and Europe are joined together to advance the cause of freedom and peace. (Applause.)
NATO is acting to meet the challenges of our time. NATO forces are securing Afghanistan, NATO ships are patrolling the Mediterranean, and NATO is supporting the Polish-led division in Iraq. NATO is widening the circle of its friends, by creating a new chapter in our relationship with Russia. NATO members are reaching out to the nations of the Middle East, to strengthen our ability to fight terror, and to provide for our common security. And we're discussing how we can support and increase the momentum of freedom in the greater Middle East.
Our unity and our commitment to freedom carried us to victory in the Cold War, and they showed us the way to victory in the war on terror. Together, Europe and America can lead peaceful nations against the dangers of our time. Europe and America can advance freedom, and give hope and support to those who seek to lift the yoke of isolation and fear and oppression. That is the mission that history has set for NATO -- this great and confident alliance of 26 nations -- and we proudly accept this mission.
May God bless you all. (Applause.)
END 3:54 P.M. EST http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2004/03/20040329-4.html
NATO Alliance Strategic Concept
Approved by the Heads of State and Government participating in the meeting of the North Atlantic Council,
Washington DC, April 24, 1999
At their Summit meeting in Washington in April 1999, NATO Heads of State and Government approved the Alliance's new Strategic Concept.
NATO has successfully ensured the freedom of its members and prevented war in Europe during the 40 years of the Cold War. By combining defence with dialogue, it played an indispensable role in bringing East-West confrontation to a peaceful end. The dramatic changes in the Euro-Atlantic strategic landscape brought by the end of the Cold War were reflected in the Alliance's 1991 Strategic Concept. There have, however, been further profound political and security developments since then.
The dangers of the Cold War have given way to more promising, but also challenging prospects, to new opportunities and risks. A new Europe of greater integration is emerging, and a Euro-Atlantic security structure is evolving in which NATO plays a central part. The Alliance has been at the heart of efforts to establish new patterns of cooperation and mutual understanding across the Euro-Atlantic region and has committed itself to essential new activities in the interest of a wider stability. It has shown the depth of that commitment in its efforts to put an end to the immense human suffering created by conflict in the Balkans. The years since the end of the Cold War have also witnessed important developments in arms control, a process to which the Alliance is fully committed. The Alliance's role in these positive developments has been underpinned by the comprehensive adaptation of its approach to security and of its procedures and structures. The last ten years have also seen, however, the appearance of complex new risks to Euro-Atlantic peace and stability, including oppression, ethnic conflict, economic distress, the collapse of political order, and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.
The Alliance has an indispensable role to play in consolidating and preserving the positive changes of the recent past, and in meeting current and future security challenges. It has, therefore, a demanding agenda. It must safeguard common security interests in an environment of further, often unpredictable change. It must maintain collective defence and reinforce the transatlantic link and ensure a balance that allows the European Allies to assume greater responsibility. It must deepen its relations with its partners and prepare for the accession of new members. It must, above all, maintain the political will and the military means required by the entire range of its missions.
This new Strategic Concept will guide the Alliance as it pursues this agenda. It expresses NATO's enduring purpose and nature and its fundamental security tasks, identifies the central features of the new security environment, specifies the elements of the Alliance's broad approach to security, and provides guidelines for the further adaptation of its military forces.
PART I -- THE PURPOSE AND TASKS OF THE ALLIANCE
NATO's essential and enduring purpose, set out in the Washington Treaty, is to safeguard the freedom and security of all its members by political and military means. Based on common values of democracy, human rights and the rule of law, the Alliance has striven since its inception to secure a just and lasting peaceful order in Europe. It will continue to do so. The achievement of this aim can be put at risk by crisis and conflict affecting the security of the Euro-Atlantic area. The Alliance therefore not only ensures the defence of its members but contributes to peace and stability in this region.
The Alliance embodies the transatlantic link by which the security of North America is permanently tied to the security of Europe. It is the practical expression of effective collective effort among its members in support of their common interests.
The fundamental guiding principle by which the Alliance works is that of common commitment and mutual co-operation among sovereign states in support of the indivisibility of security for all of its members. Solidarity and cohesion within the Alliance, through daily cooperation in both the political and military spheres, ensure that no single Ally is forced to rely upon its own national efforts alone in dealing with basic security challenges. Without depriving member states of their right and duty to assume their sovereign responsibilities in the field of defence, the Alliance enables them through collective effort to realise their essential national security objectives.
The resulting sense of equal security among the members of the Alliance, regardless of differences in their circumstances or in their national military capabilities, contributes to stability in the Euro-Atlantic area. The Alliance does not seek these benefits for its members alone, but is committed to the creation of conditions conducive to increased partnership, cooperation, and dialogue with others who share its broad political objectives.
To achieve its essential purpose, as an Alliance of nations committed to the Washington Treaty and the United Nations Charter, the Alliance performs the following fundamental security tasks: Security: To provide one of the indispensable foundations for a stable Euro-Atlantic security environment, based on the growth of democratic institutions and commitment to the peaceful resolution of disputes, in which no country would be able to intimidate or coerce any other through the threat or use of force.
Consultation: To serve, as provided for in Article 4 of the Washington Treaty, as an essential transatlantic forum for Allied consultations on any issues that affect their vital interests, including possible developments posing risks for members' security, and for appropriate co-ordination of their efforts in fields of common concern.
Deterrence and Defence: To deter and defend against any threat of aggression against any NATO member state as provided for in Articles 5 and 6 of the Washington Treaty.
And in order to enhance the security and stability of the Euro-Atlantic area:
Crisis Management: To stand ready, case-by-case and by consensus, in conformity with Article 7 of the Washington Treaty, to contribute to effective conflict prevention and to engage actively in crisis management, including crisis response operations.
Partnership: To promote wide-ranging partnership, cooperation, and dialogue with other countries in the Euro-Atlantic area, with the aim of increasing transparency, mutual confidence and the capacity for joint action with the Alliance.
In fulfilling its purpose and fundamental security tasks, the Alliance will continue to respect the legitimate security interests of others, and seek the peaceful resolution of disputes as set out in the Charter of the United Nations. The Alliance will promote peaceful and friendly international relations and support democratic institutions. The Alliance does not consider itself to be any country's adversary.
PART II -- STRATEGIC PERSPECTIVES
The Evolving Strategic Environment
The Alliance operates in an environment of continuing change. Developments in recent years have been generally positive, but uncertainties and risks remain which can develop into acute crises. Within this evolving context, NATO has played an essential part in strengthening Euro-Atlantic security since the end of the Cold War. Its growing political role; its increased political and military partnership, cooperation and dialogue with other states, including with Russia, Ukraine and Mediterranean Dialogue countries; its continuing openness to the accession of new members; its collaboration with other international organisations; its commitment, exemplified in the Balkans, to conflict prevention and crisis management, including through peace support operations: all reflect its determination to shape its security environment and enhance the peace and stability of the Euro-Atlantic area.
In parallel, NATO has successfully adapted to enhance its ability to contribute to Euro-Atlantic peace and stability. Internal reform has included a new command structure, including the Combined Joint Task Force (CJTF) concept, the creation of arrangements to permit the rapid deployment of forces for the full range of the Alliance's missions, and the building of the European Security and Defence Identity (ESDI) within the Alliance.
The United Nations (UN), the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), the European Union (EU), and the Western European Union (WEU) have made distinctive contributions to Euro-Atlantic security and stability. Mutually reinforcing organisations have become a central feature of the security environment.
The United Nations Security Council has the primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security and, as such, plays a crucial role in contributing to security and stability in the Euro-Atlantic area.
The OSCE, as a regional arrangement, is the most inclusive security organisation in Europe, which also includes Canada and the United States, and plays an essential role in promoting peace and stability, enhancing cooperative security, and advancing democracy and human rights in Europe. The OSCE is particularly active in the fields of preventive diplomacy, conflict prevention, crisis management, and post-conflict rehabilitation. NATO and the OSCE have developed close practical cooperation, especially with regard to the international effort to bring peace to the former Yugoslavia.
The European Union has taken important decisions and given a further impetus to its efforts to strengthen its security and defence dimension. This process will have implications for the entire Alliance, and all European Allies should be involved in it, building on arrangements developed by NATO and the WEU. The development of a common foreign and security policy (CFSP) includes the progressive framing of a common defence policy. Such a policy, as called for in the Amsterdam Treaty, would be compatible with the common security and defence policy established within the framework of the Washington Treaty. Important steps taken in this context include the incorporation of the WEU's Petersberg tasks into the Treaty on European Union and the development of closer institutional relations with the WEU.
As stated in the 1994 Summit declaration and reaffirmed in Berlin in 1996, the Alliance fully supports the development of the European Security and Defence Identity within the Alliance by making available its assets and capabilities for WEU-led operations. To this end, the Alliance and the WEU have developed a close relationship and put into place key elements of the ESDI as agreed in Berlin. In order to enhance peace and stability in Europe and more widely, the European Allies are strengthening their capacity for action, including by increasing their military capabilities. The increase of the responsibilities and capacities of the European Allies with respect to security and defence enhances the security environment of the Alliance.
The stability, transparency, predictability, lower levels of armaments, and verification which can be provided by arms control and non-proliferation agreements support NATO's political and military efforts to achieve its strategic objectives. The Allies have played a major part in the significant achievements in this field. These include the enhanced stability produced by the CFE Treaty, the deep reductions in nuclear weapons provided for in the START treaties; the signature of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, the indefinite and unconditional extension of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, the accession to it of Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Ukraine as non-nuclear weapons states, and the entry into force of the Chemical Weapons Convention. The Ottawa Convention to ban anti-personnel landmines and similar agreements make an important contribution to alleviating human suffering. There are welcome prospects for further advances in arms control in conventional weapons and with respect to nuclear, chemical, and biological (NBC) weapons.
Security Challenges and Risks
Notwithstanding positive developments in the strategic environment and the fact that large-scale conventional aggression against the Alliance is highly unlikely, the possibility of such a threat emerging over the longer term exists. The security of the Alliance remains subject to a wide variety of military and non-military risks which are multi-directional and often difficult to predict. These risks include uncertainty and instability in and around the Euro-Atlantic area and the possibility of regional crises at the periphery of the Alliance, which could evolve rapidly. Some countries in and around the Euro-Atlantic area face serious economic, social and political difficulties. Ethnic and religious rivalries, territorial disputes, inadequate or failed efforts at reform, the abuse of human rights, and the dissolution of states can lead to local and even regional instability. The resulting tensions could lead to crises affecting Euro-Atlantic stability, to human suffering, and to armed conflicts. Such conflicts could affect the security of the Alliance by spilling over into neighbouring countries, including NATO countries, or in other ways, and could also affect the security of other states.
The existence of powerful nuclear forces outside the Alliance also constitutes a significant factor which the Alliance has to take into account if security and stability in the Euro-Atlantic area are to be maintained.
The proliferation of NBC weapons and their means of delivery remains a matter of serious concern. In spite of welcome progress in strengthening international non-proliferation regimes, major challenges with respect to proliferation remain. The Alliance recognises that proliferation can occur despite efforts to prevent it and can pose a direct military threat to the Allies' populations, territory, and forces. Some states, including on NATO's periphery and in other regions, sell or acquire or try to acquire NBC weapons and delivery means. Commodities and technology that could be used to build these weapons of mass destruction and their delivery means are becoming more common, while detection and prevention of illicit trade in these materials and know-how continues to be difficult. Non-state actors have shown the potential to create and use some of these weapons.
The global spread of technology that can be of use in the production of weapons may result in the greater availability of sophisticated military capabilities, permitting adversaries to acquire highly capable offensive and defensive air, land, and sea-borne systems, cruise missiles, and other advanced weaponry. In addition, state and non-state adversaries may try to exploit the Alliance's growing reliance on information systems through information operations designed to disrupt such systems. They may attempt to use strategies of this kind to counter NATO's superiority in traditional weaponry.
Any armed attack on the territory of the Allies, from whatever direction, would be covered by Articles 5 and 6 of the Washington Treaty. However, Alliance security must also take account of the global context. Alliance security interests can be affected by other risks of a wider nature, including acts of terrorism, sabotage and organised crime, and by the disruption of the flow of vital resources. The uncontrolled movement of large numbers of people, particularly as a consequence of armed conflicts, can also pose problems for security and stability affecting the Alliance. Arrangements exist within the Alliance for consultation among the Allies under Article 4 of the Washington Treaty and, where appropriate, co-ordination of their efforts including their responses to risks of this kind.
PART III -- THE APPROACH TO SECURITY IN THE 21st CENTURY
The Alliance is committed to a broad approach to security, which recognises the importance of political, economic, social and environmental factors in addition to the indispensable defence dimension. This broad approach forms the basis for the Alliance to accomplish its fundamental security tasks effectively, and its increasing effort to develop effective cooperation with other European and Euro-Atlantic organisations as well as the United Nations. Our collective aim is to build a European security architecture in which the Alliance's contribution to the security and stability of the Euro-Atlantic area and the contribution of these other international organisations are complementary and mutually reinforcing, both in deepening relations among Euro-Atlantic countries and in managing crises. NATO remains the essential forum for consultation among the Allies and the forum for agreement on policies bearing on the security and defence commitments of its members under the Washington Treaty.
The Alliance seeks to preserve peace and to reinforce Euro-Atlantic security and stability by: the preservation of the transatlantic link; the maintenance of effective military capabilities sufficient for deterrence and defence and to fulfil the full range of its missions; the development of the European Security and Defence Identity within the Alliance; an overall capability to manage crises successfully; its continued openness to new members; and the continued pursuit of partnership, cooperation, and dialogue with other nations as part of its co-operative approach to Euro-Atlantic security, including in the field of arms control and disarmament.
The Transatlantic Link
NATO is committed to a strong and dynamic partnership between Europe and North America in support of the values and interests they share. The security of Europe and that of North America are indivisible. Thus the Alliance's commitment to the indispensable transatlantic link and the collective defence of its members is fundamental to its credibility and to the security and stability of the Euro-Atlantic area.
The Maintenance Of Alliance Military Capabilities
The maintenance of an adequate military capability and clear preparedness to act collectively in the common defence remain central to the Alliance's security objectives. Such a capability, together with political solidarity, remains at the core of the Alliance's ability to prevent any attempt at coercion or intimidation, and to guarantee that military aggression directed against the Alliance can never be perceived as an option with any prospect of success.
Military capabilities effective under the full range of foreseeable circumstances are also the basis of the Alliance's ability to contribute to conflict prevention and crisis management through non-Article 5 crisis response operations. These missions can be highly demanding and can place a premium on the same political and military qualities, such as cohesion, multinational training, and extensive prior planning, that would be essential in an Article 5 situation. Accordingly, while they may pose special requirements, they will be handled through a common set of Alliance structures and procedures.
The European Security And Defence Identity
The Alliance, which is the foundation of the collective defence of its members and through which common security objectives will be pursued wherever possible, remains committed to a balanced and dynamic transatlantic partnership. The European Allies have taken decisions to enable them to assume greater responsibilities in the security and defence field in order to enhance the peace and stability of the Euro-Atlantic area and thus the security of all Allies. On the basis of decisions taken by the Alliance, in Berlin in 1996 and subsequently, the European Security and Defence Identity will continue to be developed within NATO. This process will require close cooperation between NATO, the WEU and, if and when appropriate, the European Union. It will enable all European Allies to make a more coherent and effective contribution to the missions and activities of the Alliance as an expression of our shared responsibilities; it will reinforce the transatlantic partnership; and it will assist the European Allies to act by themselves as required through the readiness of the Alliance, on a case-by-case basis and by consensus, to make its assets and capabilities available for operations in which the Alliance is not engaged militarily under the political control and strategic direction either of the WEU or as otherwise agreed, taking into account the full participation of all European Allies if they were so to choose.
Conflict Prevention And Crisis Management
In pursuit of its policy of preserving peace, preventing war, and enhancing security and stability and as set out in the fundamental security tasks, NATO will seek, in cooperation with other organisations, to prevent conflict, or, should a crisis arise, to contribute to its effective management, consistent with international law, including through the possibility of conducting non-Article 5 crisis response operations. The Alliance's preparedness to carry out such operations supports the broader objective of reinforcing and extending stability and often involves the participation of NATO's Partners. NATO recalls its offer, made in Brussels in 1994, to support on a case-by-case basis in accordance with its own procedures, peacekeeping and other operations under the authority of the UN Security Council or the responsibility of the OSCE, including by making available Alliance resources and expertise. In this context NATO recalls its subsequent decisions with respect to crisis response operations in the Balkans. Taking into account the necessity for Alliance solidarity and cohesion, participation in any such operation or mission will remain subject to decisions of member states in accordance with national constitutions.
NATO will make full use of partnership, cooperation and dialogue and its links to other organisations to contribute to preventing crises and, should they arise, defusing them at an early stage. A coherent approach to crisis management, as in any use of force by the Alliance, will require the Alliance's political authorities to choose and co-ordinate appropriate responses from a range of both political and military measures and to exercise close political control at all stages.
Partnership, Cooperation, And Dialogue Through its active pursuit of partnership, cooperation, and dialogue, the Alliance is a positive force in promoting security and stability throughout the Euro-Atlantic area. Through outreach and openness, the Alliance seeks to preserve peace, support and promote democracy, contribute to prosperity and progress, and foster genuine partnership with and among all democratic Euro-Atlantic countries. This aims at enhancing the security of all, excludes nobody, and helps to overcome divisions and disagreements that could lead to instability and conflict.
The Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council (EAPC) will remain the overarching framework for all aspects of NATO's cooperation with its Partners. It offers an expanded political dimension for both consultation and cooperation. EAPC consultations build increased transparency and confidence among its members on security issues, contribute to conflict prevention and crisis management, and develop practical cooperation activities, including in civil emergency planning, and scientific and environmental affairs.
The Partnership for Peace is the principal mechanism for forging practical security links between the Alliance and its Partners and for enhancing interoperability between Partners and NATO. Through detailed programmes that reflect individual Partners' capacities and interests, Allies and Partners work towards transparency in national defence planning and budgeting; democratic control of defence forces; preparedness for civil disasters and other emergencies; and the development of the ability to work together, including in NATO-led PfP operations. The Alliance is committed to increasing the role the Partners play in PfP decision-making and planning, and making PfP more operational. NATO has undertaken to consult with any active participant in the Partnership if that Partner perceives a direct threat to its territorial integrity, political independence, or security.
Russia plays a unique role in Euro-Atlantic security. Within the framework of the NATO-Russia Founding Act on Mutual Relations, Cooperation and Security, NATO and Russia have committed themselves to developing their relations on the basis of common interest, reciprocity and transparency to achieve a lasting and inclusive peace in the Euro-Atlantic area based on the principles of democracy and co-operative security. NATO and Russia have agreed to give concrete substance to their shared commitment to build a stable, peaceful and undivided Europe. A strong, stable and enduring partnership between NATO and Russia is essential to achieve lasting stability in the Euro-Atlantic area.
Ukraine occupies a special place in the Euro-Atlantic security environment and is an important and valuable partner in promoting stability and common democratic values. NATO is committed to further strengthening its distinctive partnership with Ukraine on the basis of the NATO-Ukraine Charter, including political consultations on issues of common concern and a broad range of practical cooperation activities. The Alliance continues to support Ukrainian sovereignty and independence, territorial integrity, democratic development, economic prosperity and its status as a non-nuclear weapons state as key factors of stability and security in central and eastern Europe and in Europe as a whole.
The Mediterranean is an area of special interest to the Alliance. Security in Europe is closely linked to security and stability in the Mediterranean. NATO's Mediterranean Dialogue process is an integral part of NATO's co-operative approach to security. It provides a framework for confidence building, promotes transparency and cooperation in the region, and reinforces and is reinforced by other international efforts. The Alliance is committed to developing progressively the political, civil, and military aspects of the Dialogue with the aim of achieving closer cooperation with, and more active involvement by, countries that are partners in this Dialogue.
The Alliance remains open to new members under Article 10 of the Washington Treaty. It expects to extend further invitations in coming years to nations willing and able to assume the responsibilities and obligations of membership, and as NATO determines that the inclusion of these nations would serve the overall political and strategic interests of the Alliance, strengthen its effectiveness and cohesion, and enhance overall European security and stability. To this end, NATO has established a programme of activities to assist aspiring countries in their preparations for possible future membership in the context of its wider relationship with them. No European democratic country whose admission would fulfil the objectives of the Treaty will be excluded from consideration.
Arms Control, Disarmament, And Non-Proliferation
The Alliance's policy of support for arms control, disarmament, and non-proliferation will continue to play a major role in the achievement of the Alliance's security objectives. The Allies seek to enhance security and stability at the lowest possible level of forces consistent with the Alliance's ability to provide for collective defence and to fulfil the full range of its missions. The Alliance will continue to ensure that -- as an important part of its broad approach to security -- defence and arms control, disarmament, and non-proliferation objectives remain in harmony. The Alliance will continue to actively contribute to the development of arms control, disarmament, and non-proliferation agreements as well as to confidence and security building measures. The Allies take seriously their distinctive role in promoting a broader, more comprehensive and more verifiable international arms control and disarmament process. The Alliance will enhance its political efforts to reduce dangers arising from the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery. The principal non-proliferation goal of the Alliance and its members is to prevent proliferation from occurring or, should it occur, to reverse it through diplomatic means. The Alliance attaches great importance to the continuing validity and the full implementation by all parties of the CFE Treaty as an essential element in ensuring the stability of the Euro-Atlantic area.
PART IV -- GUIDELINES FOR THE ALLIANCE'S FORCES
Principles Of Alliance Strategy
The Alliance will maintain the necessary military capabilities to accomplish the full range of NATO's missions. The principles of Allied solidarity and strategic unity remain paramount for all Alliance missions. Alliance forces must safeguard NATO's military effectiveness and freedom of action. The security of all Allies is indivisible: an attack on one is an attack on all. With respect to collective defence under Article 5 of the Washington Treaty, the combined military forces of the Alliance must be capable of deterring any potential aggression against it, of stopping an aggressor's advance as far forward as possible should an attack nevertheless occur, and of ensuring the political independence and territorial integrity of its member states. They must also be prepared to contribute to conflict prevention and to conduct non-Article 5 crisis response operations. The Alliance's forces have essential roles in fostering cooperation and understanding with NATO's Partners and other states, particularly in helping Partners to prepare for potential participation in NATO-led PfP operations. Thus they contribute to the preservation of peace, to the safeguarding of common security interests of Alliance members, and to the maintenance of the security and stability of the Euro-Atlantic area. By deterring the use of NBC weapons, they contribute to Alliance efforts aimed at preventing the proliferation of these weapons and their delivery means.
The achievement of the Alliance's aims depends critically on the equitable sharing of the roles, risks and responsibilities, as well as the benefits, of common defence. The presence of United States conventional and nuclear forces in Europe remains vital to the security of Europe, which is inseparably linked to that of North America. The North American Allies contribute to the Alliance through military forces available for Alliance missions, through their broader contribution to international peace and security, and through the provision of unique training facilities on the North American continent. The European Allies also make wide-ranging and substantial contributions. As the process of developing the ESDI within the Alliance progresses, the European Allies will further enhance their contribution to the common defence and to international peace and stability including through multinational formations.
The principle of collective effort in Alliance defence is embodied in practical arrangements that enable the Allies to enjoy the crucial political, military and resource advantages of collective defence, and prevent the renationalisation of defence policies, without depriving the Allies of their sovereignty. These arrangements also enable NATO's forces to carry out non-Article 5 crisis response operations and constitute a prerequisite for a coherent Alliance response to all possible contingencies. They are based on procedures for consultation, an integrated military structure, and on co-operation agreements. Key features include collective force planning; common funding; common operational planning; multinational formations, headquarters and command arrangements; an integrated air defence system; a balance of roles and responsibilities among the Allies; the stationing and deployment of forces outside home territory when required; arrangements, including planning, for crisis management and reinforcement; common standards and procedures for equipment, training and logistics; joint and combined doctrines and exercises when appropriate; and infrastructure, armaments and logistics cooperation. The inclusion of NATO's Partners in such arrangements or the development of similar arrangements for them, in appropriate areas, is also instrumental in enhancing cooperation and common efforts in Euro-Atlantic security matters.
Multinational funding, including through the Military Budget and the NATO Security Investment Programme, will continue to play an important role in acquiring and maintaining necessary assets and capabilities. The management of resources should be guided by the military requirements of the Alliance as they evolve.
The Alliance supports the further development of the ESDI within the Alliance, including by being prepared to make available assets and capabilities for operations under the political control and strategic direction either of the WEU or as otherwise agreed.
To protect peace and to prevent war or any kind of coercion, the Alliance will maintain for the foreseeable future an appropriate mix of nuclear and conventional forces based in Europe and kept up to date where necessary, although at a minimum sufficient level. Taking into account the diversity of risks with which the Alliance could be faced, it must maintain the forces necessary to ensure credible deterrence and to provide a wide range of conventional response options. But the Alliance's conventional forces alone cannot ensure credible deterrence. Nuclear weapons make a unique contribution in rendering the risks of aggression against the Alliance incalculable and unacceptable. Thus, they remain essential to preserve peace.
The Alliance's Force Posture
The Missions of Alliance Military Forces
The primary role of Alliance military forces is to protect peace and to guarantee the territorial integrity, political independence and security of member states. The Alliance's forces must therefore be able to deter and defend effectively, to maintain or restore the territorial integrity of Allied nations and -- in case of conflict -- to terminate war rapidly by making an aggressor reconsider his decision, cease his attack and withdraw. NATO forces must maintain the ability to provide for collective defence while conducting effective non-Article 5 crisis response operations.
The maintenance of the security and stability of the Euro-Atlantic area is of key importance. An important aim of the Alliance and its forces is to keep risks at a distance by dealing with potential crises at an early stage. In the event of crises which jeopardise Euro-Atlantic stability and could affect the security of Alliance members, the Alliance's military forces may be called upon to conduct crisis response operations. They may also be called upon to contribute to the preservation of international peace and security by conducting operations in support of other international organisations, complementing and reinforcing political actions within a broad approach to security.
In contributing to the management of crises through military operations, the Alliance's forces will have to deal with a complex and diverse range of actors, risks, situations and demands, including humanitarian emergencies. Some non-Article 5 crisis response operations may be as demanding as some collective defence missions. Well-trained and well-equipped forces at adequate levels of readiness and in sufficient strength to meet the full range of contingencies as well as the appropriate support structures, planning tools and command and control capabilities are essential in providing efficient military contributions. The Alliance should also be prepared to support, on the basis of separable but not separate capabilities, operations under the political control and strategic direction either of the WEU or as otherwise agreed. The potential participation of Partners and other non-NATO nations in NATO-led operations as well as possible operations with Russia would be further valuable elements of NATO's contribution to managing crises that affect Euro-Atlantic security.
Alliance military forces also contribute to promoting stability throughout the Euro-Atlantic area by their participation in military-to-military contacts and in other cooperation activities and exercises under the Partnership for Peace as well as those organised to deepen NATO's relationships with Russia, Ukraine and the Mediterranean Dialogue countries. They contribute to stability and understanding by participating in confidence-building activities, including those which enhance transparency and improve communication; as well as in verification of arms control agreements and in humanitarian de-mining. Key areas of consultation and cooperation could include inter alia: training and exercises, interoperability, civil-military relations, concept and doctrine development, defence planning, crisis management, proliferation issues, armaments cooperation as well as participation in operational planning and operations.
Guidelines for the Alliance's Force Posture
To implement the Alliance's fundamental security tasks and the principles of its strategy, the forces of the Alliance must continue to be adapted to meet the requirements of the full range of Alliance missions effectively and to respond to future challenges. The posture of Allies' forces, building on the strengths of different national defence structures, will conform to the guidelines developed in the following paragraphs.
The size, readiness, availability and deployment of the Alliance's military forces will reflect its commitment to collective defence and to conduct crisis response operations, sometimes at short notice, distant from their home stations, including beyond the Allies' territory. The characteristics of the Alliance's forces will also reflect the provisions of relevant arms control agreements. Alliance forces must be adequate in strength and capabilities to deter and counter aggression against any Ally. They must be interoperable and have appropriate doctrines and technologies. They must be held at the required readiness and deployability, and be capable of military success in a wide range of complex joint and combined operations, which may also include Partners and other non-NATO nations.
This means in particular:
that the overall size of the Allies' forces will be kept at the lowest levels consistent with the requirements of collective defence and other Alliance missions; they will be held at appropriate and graduated readiness;
that the peacetime geographical distribution of forces will ensure a sufficient military presence throughout the territory of the Alliance, including the stationing and deployment of forces outside home territory and waters and forward deployment of forces when and where necessary. Regional and, in particular, geostrategic considerations within the Alliance will have to be taken into account, as instabilities on NATO's periphery could lead to crises or conflicts requiring an Alliance military response, potentially with short warning times;
that NATO's command structure will be able to undertake command and control of the full range of the Alliance's military missions including through the use of deployable combined and joint HQs, in particular CJTF headquarters, to command and control multinational and multiservice forces. It will also be able to support operations under the political control and strategic direction either of the WEU or as otherwise agreed, thereby contributing to the development of the ESDI within the Alliance, and to conduct NATO-led non-Article 5 crisis response operations in which Partners and other countries may participate;
that overall, the Alliance will, in both the near and long term and for the full range of its missions, require essential operational capabilities such as an effective engagement capability; deployability and mobility; survivability of forces and infrastructure; and sustainability, incorporating logistics and force rotation. To develop these capabilities to their full potential for multinational operations, interoperability, including human factors, the use of appropriate advanced technology, the maintenance of information superiority in military operations, and highly qualified personnel with a broad spectrum of skills will be important. Sufficient capabilities in the areas of command, control and communications as well as intelligence and surveillance will serve as necessary force multipliers;
that at any time a limited but militarily significant proportion of ground, air and sea forces will be able to react as rapidly as necessary to a wide range of eventualities, including a short-notice attack on any Ally. Greater numbers of force elements will be available at appropriate levels of readiness to sustain prolonged operations, whether within or beyond Alliance territory, including through rotation of deployed forces. Taken together, these forces must also be of sufficient quality, quantity and readiness to contribute to deterrence and to defend against limited attacks on the Alliance;
that the Alliance must be able to build up larger forces, both in response to any fundamental changes in the security environment and for limited requirements, by reinforcement, by mobilising reserves, or by reconstituting forces when necessary. This ability must be in proportion to potential threats to Alliance security, including potential long-term developments. It must take into account the possibility of substantial improvements in the readiness and capabilities of military forces on the periphery of the Alliance. Capabilities for timely reinforcement and resupply both within and from Europe and North America will remain of critical importance, with a resulting need for a high degree of deployability, mobility and flexibility;
that appropriate force structures and procedures, including those that would provide an ability to build up, deploy and draw down forces quickly and selectively, are necessary to permit measured, flexible and timely responses in order to reduce and defuse tensions. These arrangements must be exercised regularly in peacetime;
that the Alliance's defence posture must have the capability to address appropriately and effectively the risks associated with the proliferation of NBC weapons and their means of delivery, which also pose a potential threat to the Allies' populations, territory, and forces. A balanced mix of forces, response capabilities and strengthened defences is needed;
that the Alliance's forces and infrastructure must be protected against terrorist attacks.
Characteristics of Conventional Forces
It is essential that the Allies' military forces have a credible ability to fulfil the full range of Alliance missions. This requirement has implications for force structures, force and equipment levels; readiness, availability, and sustainability; training and exercises; deployment and employment options; and force build-up and mobilisation capabilities. The aim should be to achieve an optimum balance between high readiness forces capable of beginning rapidly, and immediately as necessary, collective defence or non-Article 5 crisis response operations; forces at different levels of lower readiness to provide the bulk of those required for collective defence, for rotation of forces to sustain crisis response operations, or for further reinforcement of a particular region; and a longer-term build-up and augmentation capability for the worst case -- but very remote -- scenario of large scale operations for collective defence. A substantial proportion of Alliance forces will be capable of performing more than one of these roles.
Alliance forces will be structured to reflect the multinational and joint nature of Alliance missions. Essential tasks will include controlling, protecting, and defending territory; ensuring the unimpeded use of sea, air, and land lines of communication; sea control and protecting the deployment of the Alliance's sea-based deterrent; conducting independent and combined air operations; ensuring a secure air environment and effective extended air defence; surveillance, intelligence, reconnaissance and electronic warfare; strategic lift; and providing effective and flexible command and control facilities, including deployable combined and joint headquarters.
The Alliance's defence posture against the risks and potential threats of the proliferation of NBC weapons and their means of delivery must continue to be improved, including through work on missile defences. As NATO forces may be called upon to operate beyond NATO's borders, capabilities for dealing with proliferation risks must be flexible, mobile, rapidly deployable and sustainable. Doctrines, planning, and training and exercise policies must also prepare the Alliance to deter and defend against the use of NBC weapons. The aim in doing so will be to further reduce operational vulnerabilities of NATO military forces while maintaining their flexibility and effectiveness despite the presence, threat or use of NBC weapons.
Alliance strategy does not include a chemical or biological warfare capability. The Allies support universal adherence to the relevant disarmament regimes. But, even if further progress with respect to banning chemical and biological weapons can be achieved, defensive precautions will remain essential.
Given reduced overall force levels and constrained resources, the ability to work closely together will remain vital for achieving the Alliance's missions. The Alliance's collective defence arrangements in which, for those concerned, the integrated military structure plays the key role, are essential in this regard. The various strands of NATO's defence planning need to be effectively coordinated at all levels in order to ensure the preparedness of the forces and supporting structures to carry out the full spectrum of their roles. Exchanges of information among the Allies about their force plans contribute to securing the availability of the capabilities needed for the execution of these roles. Consultations in case of important changes in national defence plans also remain of key importance. Cooperation in the development of new operational concepts will be essential for responding to evolving security challenges. The detailed practical arrangements that have been developed as part of the ESDI within the Alliance contribute to close allied co-operation without unnecessary duplication of assets and capabilities.
To be able to respond flexibly to possible contingencies and to permit the effective conduct of Alliance missions, the Alliance requires sufficient logistics capabilities, including transport capacities, medical support and stocks to deploy and sustain all types of forces effectively. Standardisation will foster cooperation and cost-effectiveness in providing logistic support to allied forces. Mounting and sustaining operations outside the Allies' territory, where there may be little or no host-nation support, will pose special logistical challenges. The ability to build-up larger, adequately equipped and trained forces, in a timely manner and to a level able to fulfil the full range of Alliance missions, will also make an essential contribution to crisis management and defence. This will include the ability to reinforce any area at risk and to establish a multinational presence when and where this is needed. Forces of various kinds and at various levels of readiness will be capable of flexible employment in both intra-European and transatlantic reinforcement. This will require control of lines of communication, and appropriate support and exercise arrangements.
The interaction between Alliance forces and the civil environment (both governmental and non-governmental) in which they operate is crucial to the success of operations. Civil-military cooperation is interdependent: military means are increasingly requested to assist civil authorities; at the same time civil support to military operations is important for logistics, communications, medical support, and public affairs. Cooperation between the Alliance's military and civil bodies will accordingly remain essential.
The Alliance's ability to accomplish the full range of its missions will rely increasingly on multinational forces, complementing national commitments to NATO for the Allies concerned. Such forces, which are applicable to the full range of Alliance missions, demonstrate the Alliance's resolve to maintain a credible collective defence; enhance Alliance cohesion; and reinforce the transatlantic partnership and strengthen the ESDI within the Alliance. Multinational forces, particularly those capable of deploying rapidly for collective defence or for non-Article 5 crisis response operations, reinforce solidarity. They can also provide a way of deploying more capable formations than might be available purely nationally, thus helping to make more efficient use of scarce defence resources. This may include a highly integrated, multinational approach to specific tasks and functions, an approach which underlies the implementation of the CJTF concept. For peace support operations, effective multinational formations and other arrangements involving Partners will be valuable. In order to exploit fully the potential offered by multinational formations, improving interoperability, inter alia through sufficient training and exercises, is of the highest importance.
Characteristics of Nuclear Forces
The fundamental purpose of the nuclear forces of the Allies is political: to preserve peace and prevent coercion and any kind of war. They will continue to fulfil an essential role by ensuring uncertainty in the mind of any aggressor about the nature of the Allies' response to military aggression. They demonstrate that aggression of any kind is not a rational option. The supreme guarantee of the security of the Allies is provided by the strategic nuclear forces of the Alliance, particularly those of the United States; the independent nuclear forces of the United Kingdom and France, which have a deterrent role of their own, contribute to the overall deterrence and security of the Allies.
A credible Alliance nuclear posture and the demonstration of Alliance solidarity and common commitment to war prevention continue to require widespread participation by European Allies involved in collective defence planning in nuclear roles, in peacetime basing of nuclear forces on their territory and in command, control and consultation arrangements. Nuclear forces based in Europe and committed to NATO provide an essential political and military link between the European and the North American members of the Alliance. The Alliance will therefore maintain adequate nuclear forces in Europe. These forces need to have the necessary characteristics and appropriate flexibility and survivability, to be perceived as a credible and effective element of the Allies' strategy in preventing war. They will be maintained at the minimum level sufficient to preserve peace and stability.
The Allies concerned consider that, with the radical changes in the security situation, including reduced conventional force levels in Europe and increased reaction times, NATO's ability to defuse a crisis through diplomatic and other means or, should it be necessary, to mount a successful conventional defence has significantly improved. The circumstances in which any use of nuclear weapons might have to be contemplated by them are therefore extremely remote. Since 1991, therefore, the Allies have taken a series of steps which reflect the post-Cold War security environment. These include a dramatic reduction of the types and numbers of NATO's sub-strategic forces including the elimination of all nuclear artillery and ground-launched short-range nuclear missiles; a significant relaxation of the readiness criteria for nuclear-roled forces; and the termination of standing peacetime nuclear contingency plans. NATO's nuclear forces no longer target any country. Nonetheless, NATO will maintain, at the minimum level consistent with the prevailing security environment, adequate sub-strategic forces based in Europe which will provide an essential link with strategic nuclear forces, reinforcing the transatlantic link. These will consist of dual capable aircraft and a small number of United Kingdom Trident warheads. Sub-strategic nuclear weapons will, however, not be deployed in normal circumstances on surface vessels and attack submarines.
PART V -- CONCLUSION
As the North Atlantic Alliance enters its sixth decade, it must be ready to meet the challenges and opportunities of a new century. The Strategic Concept reaffirms the enduring purpose of the Alliance and sets out its fundamental security tasks. It enables a transformed NATO to contribute to the evolving security environment, supporting security and stability with the strength of its shared commitment to democracy and the peaceful resolution of disputes. The Strategic Concept will govern the Alliance's security and defence policy, its operational concepts, its conventional and nuclear force posture and its collective defence arrangements, and will be kept under review in the light of the evolving security environment. In an uncertain world the need for effective defence remains, but in reaffirming this commitment the Alliance will also continue making full use of every opportunity to help build an undivided continent by promoting and fostering the vision of a Europe whole and free. http://www.state.gov/www/regions/eur/nato/nato_990424_stratcncpt.html
NATO and the fight against terrorism
The 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks on New York and Washington thrust not only the United States but also the entire NATO Alliance into the fight against terrorism. Less than 24 hours after the attacks, NATO invoked for the first time Article 5 of the Washington Treaty - its collective defence clause - declaring the attacks to be an attack against all NATO members. The Alliance subsequently deployed aircraft and ships in support of the United States.
Since then, and following other tragic attacks, NATO has been engaged actively in the campaign against terrorism on both the political and military fronts.
What does this mean in practice?
NATO is contributing to the fight against terrorism through military operations in Afghanistan, the Balkans and the Mediterranean and by taking steps to protect its populations and territory against terrorist attacks.
How did it evolve?
The Alliance’s 1999 Strategic Concept already identified terrorism as one of the risks affecting NATO’s security. The Alliance’s response to September 11, however, saw NATO engage actively in the fight against terrorism, launch its first operations outside Europe and begin a far-reaching transformation of its capabilities.
Which NATO bodies play a central role? The North Atlantic Council, the Alliance’s principal decision-making body, decides on NATO’s overall role in the fight against terrorism. Specific aspects of NATO’s involvement (e.g. co-operation with partners) are developed though specialized bodies and committees.
Partnership Action Plan against Terrorism
1. On 12 September 2001, the Member States of the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council (EAPC) condemned unconditionally the terrorist attacks on the United States of America on 11 September 2001, and pledged to undertake all efforts to combat the scourge of terrorism.
2. Building on this commitment, member States of the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council (hereinafter referred to as EAPC States) hereby endorse this Partnership Action Plan against Terrorism with a view to fulfilling their obligations under international law with respect to combating terrorism, mindful that the struggle against terrorism requires joint and comprehensive efforts of the international community, and resolved to contribute effectively to these efforts building on their successful co-operation to date in the EAPC framework.
3. EAPC States will make all efforts within their power to prevent and suppress terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, in accordance with the universally recognised norms and principles of international law, the United Nations Charter, and the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1373. In this context, they will in particular “find ways of intensifying and accelerating the exchange of operational information, especially regarding actions or movements of terrorist persons or networks" and "emphasise the need to enhance co-ordination of efforts on national, sub-regional, regional and international levels in order to strengthen a global response to this serious challenge and threat to international security.”
4. EAPC States are committed to the protection and promotion of fundamental freedoms and human rights, as well as the rule of law, in combating terrorism.
5. EAPC States reaffirm their determination to sign, ratify and implement the relevant United Nations conventions related to the fight against terrorism.
6. EAPC States will cooperate in the fight against terrorism in the EAPC framework in accordance with the specific character of their security and defence policies and the EAPC/PfP principles of inclusiveness and self-differentiation. They will seek complementarity of their efforts in this framework with those undertaken by relevant international institutions.
7. EAPC States co-operate across a spectrum of areas in the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council and Partnership for Peace that have relevance to the fight against terrorism. These include inter alia political consultations; operations; issues of military interoperability; defence and force planning and defence reform; consequence management, including civil emergency planning; air defence and airspace management; armaments co-operation; border control and security; suppression of financing of terrorism; prevention of arms and explosives smuggling; science; and arms control and non-proliferation. EAPC States stress that arms control and non-proliferation make an essential contribution to the global combat against terrorism, in particular by helping prevent the use of WMD. EAPC States stress in this context the importance of abiding by, and ensuring the effective implementation of existing multilateral instruments.
8. Through the Partnership Action Plan, EAPC States will identify, organize, systematize ongoing and new EAPC/PfP activities, which are of particular relevance to the international fight against terrorism.
9. The principal objectives of the Partnership Action Plan against Terrorism are to:
Reconfirm the determination of EAPC States to create an environment unfavorable to the development and expansion of terrorism, building on their shared democratic values, and to assist each other and others in this endeavour. Underscore the determination of EAPC States to act against terrorism in all its forms and manifestations and their willingness to co-operate in preventing and defending against terrorist attacks and dealing with their consequences. Provide interested Partners with increased opportunities for contributing to and supporting, consistent with the specific character of their security and defence policies, NATO's efforts in the fight against terrorism. Promote and facilitate co-operation among the EAPC States in the fight against terrorism, through political consultation, and practical programmes under EAPC and the Partnership for Peace. Upon request, provide assistance to EAPC States in dealing with the risks and consequences of terrorist attacks, including on their economic and other critical infrastructure. Mechanisms
10. The Partnership Action Plan against Terrorism is launched under the authority of the North Atlantic Council after consultation with Partners in the EAPC.
11. The Partnership Action Plan against Terrorism is the first issue-specific, result-oriented mechanism for practical co-operation involving Allies and interested Partners, as foreseen in the Consolidated Report on the Comprehensive Review of the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council and the Partnership for Peace.
12. This Action Plan will be implemented through EAPC/PfP mechanisms in accordance with the principles of inclusiveness and self-differentiation, and reflected in the Individual Partnership Programmes (IPP) or Individual Partnership Action Plan (IPAP) between NATO and Partners.
13. The North Atlantic Council, in consultation with Partners, will assess on a regular basis the progress in the implementation of the Partnership Action Plan against Terrorism and will review its contents, taking into consideration possible new challenges and circumstances in the international fight against terrorism.
14. The activities listed in the Partnership Action Plan against Terrorism will not prejudice other initiatives EAPC States may pursue in combating terrorism. EAPC States will continue to promote regional co-operation initiatives to combat terrorism and address new security threats and seek complementarity of these initiatives with efforts undertaken in the EAPC framework.
15. The participation of Mediterranean Dialogue Partners and other states in the activities foreseen in the Partnership Action Plan against Terrorism such as workshops, seminars and other activities may be considered on a case by case basis.
16. The specific action items under this Partnership Action Plan against Terrorism are listed below; other items may be added later. Implementation of these activities will be subject to applicable national laws and regulations, the specific character of security and defence policies of EAPC States and the principles of inclusiveness and self-differentiation.
16.1. Intensify Consultations and Information Sharing
16.1.1. Political consultations. Allies and Partners will consult regularly on their shared security concerns related to terrorism. Allies will make efforts to inform Partners about, and/or seek their views on, issues related to international fight against terrorism, beginning from the early stages of Alliance discussions. Partners may seek, in accordance with agreed procedures, direct political consultations with NATO, individually or in smaller groups, on their concerns related to terrorism. The consultations and discussions will reflect key security concerns of Allies and Partners, if relevant to the fight against terrorism.
16.1.2. Information sharing. EAPC States will intensify their efforts to share information and views related to terrorism, both in EAPC meetings and in seminars and workshops held under EAPC/PfP auspices. Lead nations may be invited to organise such events. EAPC States note the establishment of an EAPC/PfP Intelligence Liaison Unit (EAPC/PfP ILU). They will promote, in accordance with their domestic laws, exchange of intelligence relevant to terrorist threats.
16.1.3. Armaments information sharing. EAPC States will share information on equipment development and procurement activities which improve their national capabilities to combat terrorism, in the appropriate groups under the Conference of National Armaments Directors (CNAD).
16.1.4. Scientific Co-operation in identifying and mitigating new threats and challenges to security. States in the EAPC Committee on the Challenges of Modern Society (CCMS) will exchange information within networks of national experts dealing with selected priority topics related to the prevention and mitigation of societal disruption. Both Partner and Allied experts will participate in these co-operative activities. Close contacts with other NATO bodies and international organizations, as well as the PfP Consortium of Defence Academies and Security Studies Institutes, will be maintained to seek complementarity of effort, identify critical gaps and to launch cooperative projects.
16.1.5. Civil Emergency Planning. EAPC States will share related information and actively participate in Civil Emergency Planning to assess risks and reduce vulnerability of the civil population to terrorism and WMD. This will include active participation in crisis management procedures.
16.2. Enhance Preparedness for Combating Terrorism
16.2.1. Defence and security sector reform. Partners will intensify their efforts to develop efficient, democratically controlled, properly-structured and well-equipped forces able to contribute to combat terrorism.
16.2.2. Force planning. Partners involved in the Partnership for Peace Planning and Review Process (PARP) will give priority, among others, to Partnership Goals aimed at improving their capabilities to participate in activities against terrorism. Such Partnership Goals will be identified within PARP and will also be communicated to Partners not participating in the PARP process – for information and to encourage equivalent efforts by non-PARP countries.
16.2.3. Air Defence and Air Traffic Management. Allies and Partners will co-operate in efforts undertaken by the NATO Air Defence Committee on air defence / air policing capability improvements and by the NATO Air Traffic Management Committee on civil-military Air Traffic Control co-ordination procedures' improvements in response to the new situation. They will contribute, based on national decisions, to the development of Air Situation Data exchange between Allies and Partners.
16.2.4. Information exchange about forces. EAPC States may consider to exchange information regarding forces responsible for counter-terrorism operations and facilitate contacts among them as appropriate.
16.2.5. Training and exercises. Partners will be invited to participate in training opportunities and exercises related to terrorism to be co-ordinated by SACEUR/SACLANT. To the extent possible, the Partnership Work Programme will provide more anti-terrorism related opportunities and activities in the field of training and exercises. Exercises will also be used to share experiences in the fight against terrorism.
16.2.6. Armaments co-operation. EAPC States will make use of NATO armaments co-operation mechanisms under CNAD, as appropriate, to develop common, or as a minimum interoperable equipment solutions to meet the requirements of activities against terrorism.
16.2.7. Logistics co-operation. EAPC States will make use of NATO Logistics co-operation mechanisms under the Senior NATO Logisticians' Conference, as appropriate, to develop arrangements to provide effective and efficient support to activities against terrorism, including Host Nation Support.
16.3. Impede Support for Terrorist Groups
16.3.1. Border control. EAPC States will, through their bodies responsible for border control, enhance their efforts to prevent illicit movement of personnel and material across international borders. They will support assistance efforts in this area undertaken through Partnership for Peace. In this context, regional and international co-operation among them will be further encouraged.
16.3.2. Economic dimension. EAPC States will exchange information and views in the EAPC Economic Committee on the economic aspects of the international fight against terrorism, in particular on regulatory provisions barring the financing of terrorist activity and methods and sources of finance for terrorist groups.
16.3.3. Arms Control. EAPC States will continue their co-operation in the field of arms control and will consult on measures of effective control of weapons of mass destruction devices and safe disposal of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) related substances and materials. They will also support the ongoing efforts to achieve an International Code of Conduct against Ballistic Missile Proliferation before the end of 2002.
16.3.4. Small Arms and Light Weapons. EAPC States will continue their exchange of information through the EAPC Ad-Hoc Group on Small Arms and Light Weapons on illicit trafficking in small arms, munitions, explosives, materials and technology capable of being used to support terrorism.
16.4. Enhance Capabilities to Contribute to Consequence Management
16.4.1. WMD-related terrorism. Partners will be invited to support and participate in NATO-led activities to enhance capabilities against WMD-related terrorism, and to share appropriate information and experience in this field according to procedures to be agreed.
16.4.2. Enhance co-operation in Civil-Emergency Planning EAPC States will continue their co-operation in enhancing civil preparedness for possible terrorist attacks with WMD, including Chemical-Biological-Radiological-Nuclear weapons, by continuing to implement the Civil Emergency Planning Action Plan endorsed by the Senior Civil Emergency Planning Committee(SCEPC)/EAPC on 26 November 2001 and updated on 25 June 2002. In particular, Partners associate themselves with the efforts being undertaken within the SCEPC and its Planning Boards and Committees to work on all possible options to provide support, when requested, to national authorities against the effects of any terrorist attack, taking into account the proposals endorsed by Alliance Foreign Ministers at their meeting in Reykjavik. This includes specifically: co-operation between civil and military authorities: identification and development of opportunities for co-operation between civilians and the military, including training and expertise, as well as reciprocal support. rapid response: an examination of how national rapid response capabilities could enhance the ability of EAPC States to respond, upon request by a stricken nation, to the consequences, for the civilian population, of WMD use, and how civilian expertise could contribute in this regard; and working with the SCEPC on ways to promote interoperability between those capabilities, and also on other possible measures, so that all options for EAPC States to respond either nationally or jointly remain available. general guidelines: non-binding general guidelines or minimum standards as regards planning, training, procedures and equipment that EAPC States could, on a voluntary basis, draw on. capabilities inventory: further development and refinement of the Inventory of National Capabilities in order to maximise its value. warning and detection: exploration, in co-operation with the NATO Military Authorities, of means to support national authorities in improving detection and warning of the population in case of WMD threats. network of laboratories: consider the establishment of a network of permanent laboratories and deployable facilities. medical protocols: support of the development of medical protocols which would improve co-ordinated response capability. an enhanced role for the Euro-Atlantic Disaster Response Coordination Centre: further improvement of EADRCC capabilities, including by the provision of national experts to ensure Allies’ and Partner’s ability to speedily, effectively and efficiently provide assistance to one another in case of a terrorist attack with WMD, including CBRN weapons. border crossing: signing up to the Model Agreement on the Facilitation of Vital Cross Border Transport Movements.
16.4.3. Military contribution to consequence management. EAPC States will consider providing information to SACEUR about military capabilities that may be available to contribute to the provision of immediate assistance to civil authorities if requested, particularly in respect of attacks using chemical, biological and radiological weapons.
16.4.4. Co-operation in non-classified scientific activities for reducing the impact of terrorism. States in the EAPC Science Committee will exchange scientific and technological knowledge on topics relevant to the fight against terrorism. In addition, focussed co-operative activities will be conducted by experts from NATO’s Security-Related Civil Science and Technology Panel to provide a better basis for mitigating terrorist activities. Partners which have extensive scientific capabilities in relevant fields will work effectively with NATO scientists in developing the scientific basis for reducing the terrorist impact. The Science Committee will advise the Council and other relevant committees on scientific aspects of terrorist activities, and will co-ordinate closely with NATO bodies conducting classified activities (including the WMD Centre and the Research and Technology Organisation).
16.4.5. Co-operation in equipment development and procurement. EAPC States will take advantage of CNAD groups to identify equipment requirements which support consequence management, after a terrorist attack, and where appropriate, co-operate on the development and/or procurement to meet these needs. Emphasis should be on dual use technologies which support both military and civil requirements.
16.5. Assistance to Partners’ efforts against terrorism
16.5.1. Use of the Political Military Steering Committee (PMSC) Clearing House mechanism. Within the existing PMSC framework a focussed Clearing House meeting will be devoted, as appropriate, to the specific needs of Partner’s related to combating terrorism.
16.5.2. Establish/contribute to PfP Trust Funds. Consistent with PfP Trust Fund Policy, EAPC States will consider the establishment of PfP Trust Funds to assist individual member states in specific efforts against terrorism, as envisaged in the Consolidated Report on the Comprehensive Review of the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council and the Partnership for Peace. Such Trust Funds may be particularly relevant to Partners from Central Asia, the Caucasus and the Balkans. These projects will be implemented as a matter of priority.
16.5.3. Mentoring programmes. EAPC States will develop mentoring programmes for specific terrorism-related issues in order to share specific experiences in combating terrorism. Exercises in the spirit of PfP will also be actively used for sharing experiences in combating terrorism.
17. The Secretary General of NATO as Chairman of the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council may report on the activities under the Partnership Action Plan against Terrorism to NATO and EAPC Foreign and Defence Ministers.
18. The Secretary General may communicate this document to the United Nations Security Council as an initial contribution of the Partnership to the implementation of the UNSCR 1373. http://www.nato.int/docu/basictxt/b021122e.htm
Invocation of Article 5 Confirmed
NATO Press Release
October 2, 2001
Frank Taylor, the U.S. Ambassador-at-Large and Coordinator for Counterterrorism, briefed the North Atlantic Council -- NATO's top decision-making body -- on 2 October on the results of investigations into the 11 September terrorist attacks against the United States. As a result of the information he provided to the Council, it has been clearly determined that the individuals who carried out the attacks belonged to the world-wide terrorist network of Al-Qaida, headed by Osama bin Laden and protected by the Taleban regime in Afghanistan.
At a special press conference, NATO Secretary General Lord Robertson announced that since it had been determined that the attacks had been directed from abroad, they were regarded as an action covered by Article 5 of the Washington Treaty. When the Alliance invoked the principle of Article 5 of the Washington Treaty on 12 September, it stated that it needed to know whether such actions had been conducted from abroad before the Article could become fully operative. This has now been determined, but Lord Robertson explained that, at present, it was premature to speculate on what military action would be taken by the Alliance, be it individually or collectively.
Prepared by the Bureau of European and Canadian Affairs, June 20, 1997
The NATO Alliance, reformed and enlarged to meet the security challenges of the 21st century, is a key element in the New Atlantic Community that Secretary Christopher described on September 6 in Stuttgart. The U.S. has led the way in building a new NATO by giving the Alliance capabilities for new missions; opening NATO's doors to Europe's emerging democracies; and forging a strong, cooperative relationship between NATO and Russia. At the January 1994 Brussels summit, President Clinton initiated a process of NATO external and internal adaptation. This process will reach new milestones at the July 1997 summit in Madrid. NATO expects the summit will agree on internal reforms, launch enlargement negotiations with one or more countries, sign a NATO-Ukraine Charter and celebrate the NATO-Russia Founding Act signed in May 1997 in Paris.
New Roles and Missions: Bosnia
The new NATO emerging from this process of internal and external adaptation is capable of meeting the security challenges of the 21st century. European and Atlantic systems will be intertwined to create a true security partnership. NATO will continue to enlarge both the scope and depth of its cooperation with all European nations. Circumstances have already forced NATO to demonstrate its new capability, and the Alliance has proved its mettle. Bosnia encapsulates the new kind of challenge. IFOR has been a brilliant response, and the new NATO-led Stabilization Force--SFOR--is continuing to secure the peace. Under the NATO umbrella, Allies and former adversaries have joined together to conduct the most important and successful peacekeeping operation since World War II.
Internal Adaptation In 1990, NATO began its adaptation from a Cold War institution to a modern instrument of North Atlantic and European security, revising strategy and restructuring force posture to reflect the changed European security environment and the disappearance of the Soviet threat. One major development has been NATO's decision to adapt its standards to the growing European capabilities in the security field. The June 1996 North Atlantic Council--NAC--Ministerial in Berlin took major steps to give Europeans a larger role within a single, flexible Alliance structure. NATO Foreign Ministers agreed that the European role--known as the European Security and Defense Identity--ESDI--would be developed within the Alliance. ESDI will permit creation of coherent military forces capable of cooperating under the political control and strategic direction of the exclusively European security organization, the Western European Union--WEU.
NATO experts are working on detailed terms through which NATO assets, such as logistics or headquarters units, could be made available to the WEU on a case-by-case basis, as well as the appropriate command arrangements to support and conduct operations under WEU leadership. When ready, these arrangements will allow Europeans and the WEU to conduct security operations by drawing upon some of the Alliance's unique military assets.
The Berlin Ministerial also agreed on the concept of Combined Joint Task Forces--CJTF--which is being developed in more detail by NATO's Military Committee. When implemented, this concept will provide the Alliance with more flexible and mobile forces and headquarters elements to be used, for example, in WEU-led operations or in missions including non-NATO countries.
External Adaptation: Partnership for Peace
President Clinton's initiative in January 1994 led the Alliance to reach out to non-member states and extend the zone of security and stability eastward in Europe. At his suggestion, NATO established the highly successful Partnership for Peace, a framework for practical cooperation with, currently, 27 Partners. PFP has become an integral part of the European security scene, helping young democracies restructure and establish democratic control of their military forces, develop transparency in defense planning and budgetary processes, operate effectively with Alliance forces, better understand collective defense planning, and learn new forms of military doctrine. The December NAC further strengthened the Partnership for Peace. In September 1996, then-Secretary Christopher called for creation of a forum for consultations and cooperation between Allies and Partners on such issues as peacekeeping, peace enforcement, humanitarian and search and rescue missions, and PFP exercises. The Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council (EAPC), which held its inaugural meeting May 30, 1997 in Sintra, Portugal, and will become a vital organ of Allied-Partner relations, giving Partners a greater voice in political consultation and planning of joint military activities. While PFP assists prospective members, it has become an institution in its own right which builds permanent cooperation among a large number of Partner states.
President Clinton's January 1994 initiative also launched a process of steady, transparent enlargement of the Alliance. In September 1995, NATO completed a study on the "how" and "why" of enlargement. During 1996, NATO and prospective new members engaged in intensified dialogue on potential accession to the Alliance.
At the December 1996 NAC, the Ministers called for a NATO summit to be held in July in Madrid. At that summit, one or more countries that want to join NATO will be invited to begin accession negotiations, with actual membership targeted for 1999--NATO's 50th anniversary. The U.S. has consistently stated that the first accession will not be the last and that the door to membership will remain open.
NATO enlargement is not directed against anyone, and it will not create new dividing lines. It will advance the security of everyone--NATO's old members, new members, and non-members alike. Enlargement will not be free of cost for the U.S. and current Allies or for new members, who must demonstrate that they are willing and able to shoulder the burdens and responsibilities of membership.
Special Relationships with NATO
NATO-Russia Founding Act
The Founding Act on Mutual Relations, Cooperation in Security Between NATO and the Russian Federation (The NATO-Russia Founding Act) provides the basis for an enduring and robust partnership between NATO and Russia, one that can make an important contribution to Europe's security in the 21st century. The Act was signed May 27, 1997 in Paris by NATO Secretary General Solana, President Clinton, Russian President Yeltsin and other Alliance Heads of State.
The development of a strong, enduring relationship between NATO and Ukraine is an important aspect of the emerging European security architecture. The maintenance of Ukraine's independence, territorial integrity, sovereignty and integration into Euro-Atlantic institutions is a crucial factor for stability and security in Central Europe and the continent as a whole. At the Madrid summit, NATO and Ukraine will formally sign the Charter initialled in Sintra, Portugal in May , 1997, will provide a framework for an enhanced NATO-Ukraine relationship through consultation and cooperation on issues of common interest. http://www.state.gov/www/regions/eur/fs_natoadapt.html
Transatlantic Partnership on Political Cooperation
Statement released at the U.S.-EU Summit, Birmingham, United Kingdom, May 18, 1998
1. Under the New Transatlantic Agenda, launched in December 1995, the United States and the European Union made a commitment to further strengthen and adapt our partnership to face new challenges at home and abroad. We recognized that our political and economic cooperation is a powerful force for peace, democracy and prosperity. We agreed to move to common action to achieve these ends. We have since taken specific steps to strengthen respect for human rights, to promote non-proliferation, to fight terrorism, to address crises in troubled regions and much more. Our experience has shown that, working together, the United States and the European Union are more effective in pursuing shared goals. When differences have emerged between us, however, this has reduced the effectiveness of our response.
2. In order to enhance our partnership, we undertake to intensify our consultations with a view to more effective cooperation in responding to behavior that is inimical to the goals agreed to in the New Transatlantic Agenda or which threatens international stability and security, in which we have a shared interest. We have instructed senior officials to undertake early consultations when there is a risk of such behavior. To this end, we have agreed to principles that will guide us:
a) We will seek through exchanging information and analysis and through early consultations to pre-empt, prevent and, as needed, respond to such behavior. Our objective is to achieve compatible and mutually reinforcing policy responses, which are practical, timely and effective.
b) These responses should be carefully formulated as part of a coherent overall policy approach designed to change unacceptable behavior. They should also be in line with international commitments and responsibilities.
c) We will make full use of diplomatic and political action to achieve our objectives.
d) Economic sanctions are another possible response. Their use requires careful consideration. In general, they would be used only when diplomatic and political options have failed or when a problem is so serious as to require more far-reaching action.
e) In such circumstances, the United States and the European Union will make a maximum effort to ensure that their economic sanctions are multilateral. They are likely to have the strongest political and economic impact when applies as widely as possible throughout the international community. Multilateral actions also distribute the costs of sanctions on the imposing parties more evenly. Whenever possible, effective measures taken by the UN Security Council are the optimal approach.
f) When multilateral economic sanctions are imposed, our objective will be to exert the greatest possible pressure on those responsible for the problem, while avoiding unnecessary hardship and minimizing the impact on other countries.
g) Where wider agreement on economic sanctions cannot be achieved, or in cases of great urgency, the United States and the European Union will consult on appropriate responses. In such circumstances either partner could decide to impose economic sanctions.
h) To ensure the resilience of our partnership in such circumstances:
-- a partner will not seek or propose, and will resist, the passage of new economic sanctions legislation based on foreign policy grounds which is designed to make economic operators of the other behave in a manner similar to that required of its own economic operators;
-- that partner will target such sanctions directly and specifically against those responsible for the problem; and
-- the partner not imposing sanctions will take into account the interests of the other in formulating its own policy and continue to pursue, in its own way, those goals which are shared.
i) It is in the interest of both partners that policies of governmental bodies at other levels should be consonant with these principles and avoid sending conflicting messages to countries engaged in unacceptable behavior. Both partners will work to achieve this goal.
3. The United States and the European Union will consult closely, including at senior levels, in applying these principles and resolving differences. Each side will also develop the necessary internal procedures to ensure effective implementation of the principles. http://www.state.gov/www/regions/eur/eu/js_980518_useu_polcoop.html
The History of an Idea
December 30, 2003
The idea of a united Europe stretches back thousands of years. The early enthusiasts were seldom as high-minded as their modern successors
A few months ago, George Bush gave a lunch at the White House for Romano Prodi, the president of the European Commission. Mr Prodi, keen to impress upon his host the grandeur of the European project, launched into a description of the enlargement of the European Union. By 2004, he pointed out, the EU would have 450m citizens and its territory would stretch from the Atlantic to the borders of Russia. “Sounds like the Roman empire, Romano,” remarked Mr Bush. Other lunchers guessed that the American president was being gently satirical. But Mr Bush, wittingly or not, had touched upon a serious point. The drive for “European unity”, which will proceed further next year when the EU's membership expands to 25 countries, has deep historical origins. Indeed, they do stretch back to the dissolution of the Roman empire.
Ever since the fall of Rome, a strain in European thought has longed for the re-creation of an over-arching political structure for Europe, and used the Roman empire as a model. In 800AD—more than three centuries after the fall of Rome—Charlemagne, the king of the Franks, had himself crowned in Rome by the pope. His new empire stretched from the Pyrenees to the Danube and from Hamburg to Sicily; and his imperial seal bore the words Renovatio Imperii Romani, “the Renewal of the Roman Empire”.
Charlemagne's empire fell apart fairly swiftly after his death. But the memory of Charlemagne—and of the empire that he wished to renew—continued to inspire those who sought to unify Europe by fair means or foul. Napoleon created the Legion of Honour, an order of distinction, in 1802 on the model of the Roman Legio Honoratorum and invoked Charlemagne at his imperial coronation in 1804. Hitler's loyalists gave the Roman salute and their cry “Heil Hitler!” was modelled on “Hail Caesar!” When the Nazis formed a new SS division for French volunteers they called it the Charlemagne division.
Of course, the Romans have inspired not only despots but also democrats, among them the architects of the Capitol in Washington, DC. And the Romans and Charlemagne also inspired the fathers of the EU, whose objectives were the exact opposite of war. The founding treaty of their creation was signed in Rome in 1957 and their successors were hoping—until this month's failed summit—to return to the eternal city in 2004 to put their names to a new constitution. Meanwhile the expansion of the club is being managed from the Charlemagne building in Brussels.
It is easy to see common elements in the Roman and the Carolingian empires that might appeal to modern-day builders of Europe. Most obvious is sheer territorial expanse. To that may be added the creation of a common legal code, the issuance of a common currency as a symbol of imperial rule, the building of roads linking the empire (or trans-European networks, as they are unsmilingly called in Brussels). And all this is based upon a new, and supposedly lasting, peace within the empire—for the Romans, the Pax Romana.
Unity, fraternity, creativity
The notion that unity and peace in Europe are two sides of the same coin is an article of faith for modern pro-Europeans. A large exhibition about the history of the idea of European unity was staged in 2003 at the German History Museum in Berlin. Marie-Louise von Plessen, the exhibition's curator, argues that the “idea of unification and peace are completely linked.” The political sympathies of the exhibition's organisers were barely disguised.
The Berlin exhibition emphasised the intellectual origins of the idea of European unity. Miss von Plessen's plan was to show that “Behind the shifting alliances between nations, there were always people who thought and wrote about the utopia of a united Europe, even though they were never really taken seriously until after the second world war.” The thousands of people trooping through the galleries were treated to tableaux bearing quotes from philosophers and thinkers promoting the idea of European unity.
There was Pierre Dubois, a counsellor for the Duke of Burgundy, who called for a European federation in 1306; Immanuel Kant, the German philosopher who made a celebrated call for “perpetual peace”; William Penn, the founder of Pennsylvania, and an early advocate of a European parliament; and Victor Hugo, the French 19th-century novelist who proclaimed in 1849 that “A day will come when you, France, you, Russia, you, Italy, you, Germany, you, all nations of the continent, without losing your distinctive qualities and glorious individuality, will be merged within a superior unit.” Lest any utterly dim-witted visitor miss the political moral, the exhibition closed with a quotation from Valéry Giscard d'Estaing, the chairman of the convention that drafted the disputed constitution for the EU, urging his listeners to “Dream of Europe. Let us imagine a continent at peace, freed of its barriers and obstacles, where history and geography are finally reconciled.”
A tableau of crimes and misfortunes
It is not just museum curators and elderly politicians who hold fast to the idea that European unity is both the best way of guaranteeing peace in Europe and a natural historical progression. The idea is also cherished among serious historians in France and Germany. Hagen Schulze, a professor of history at the Free University of Berlin, ends his scholarly study of the evolution of the European nation-state, “States, Nations and Nationalism”, with the thought that the “ancient states and nations” of Europe “may gradually fade away and recede into the background to make way for one united Europe.” This, he avers, is likely to be a considerable improvement on previous efforts to “restore the former unity of this continent by elevating one of its major powers” to a position of hegemony—first Spain, then France, then Germany. The horrors of the fighting in Yugoslavia—he was writing in the mid-1990s—bring forth more lamentations about the warlike tendencies of nation-states. “The baleful principle of a nation united by bonds of blood is still capable of threatening democracy and plunging Europe into fresh...trials of strength.”
French historians tend to be a little less eager to wish away la patrie. But many of them also almost instinctively link the idea of European unity with notions of peace and progress. Jacques Boussard in “The Civilisation of Charlemagne” (1968) asserts that “Charlemagne's achievement was the realisation of a united Europe. There were no wars except at the frontiers.” (This is an important qualification, given that the great man fought some 53 military campaigns expanding the boundaries of his empire.) In Boussard's view it was only the “stable society created by Charlemagne” that allowed for an “extraordinary outpouring of cultural, artistic and intellectual activity.”
It is sometimes observed that places that once formed part of Charlemagne's empire-France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands-have been much more at ease with the modern-day drive for European unity than areas that fell outside it, notably Britain and Scandinavia. Perhaps as a consequence, British historians are less likely than their French or German counterparts to assume that European unity is necessarily synonymous with peace and cultural progress. In the “Oxford Illustrated History of Medieval Europe”, for example, George Holmes argues that one of the lessons of the period is the “extraordinary vigour and creativity which derive from the fragmentation of power and wealth”, and that “the places where political fragmentation was most complete, such as Tuscany, the Low Countries and the Rhineland, were perhaps the most creative.” Arguments about the connections between creativity and culture on the one hand and political unity and fragmentation on the other are reassuringly abstract—particularly when safely placed in the Middle Ages. Historical debate becomes a lot rougher when it moves into the modern era. In 1997 John Laughland published “The Tainted Source”, whose subtitle—“The undemocratic origins of the European idea”—summarises its general thesis. Mr Laughland, who helps to run a Eurosceptical lobby group called the European Foundation, argues that it is not just the familiar figures in the pro-European pantheon—Jean Monnet, Robert Schuman and the like—who preached the virtues of European unity. Similar sentiments had been expressed by Hitler and the architects of fascist Italy and Vichy France.
Hitler, for example, told the Reichstag in 1936, “It is not very intelligent to imagine that in such a cramped house like that of Europe, a community of peoples can maintain different legal systems and different concepts of law for long.” Mussolini urged in 1933 that, “Europe may once again grasp the helm of world civilisation if it can develop a modicum of political unity.” Oswald Mosley, the leading British fascist of the 1930s, was also a champion of the idea of European union.
Partly as a result of Mr Laughland's work, many British Eurosceptics are inclined to see the modern promoters of European unity not as idealistic peaceniks, but as the heirs of Hitler who have simply devised a new and subtler plan for taking over Britain. Bonkers? Perhaps. They certainly forget the speech of Winston Churchill in Zurich in 1946, in which he called for a United States of Europe. But the conquest-by-stealth view is popular in Britain. When Mr Giscard d'Estaing published his draft constitution this year, the Sun, Britain's bestselling newspaper, greeted it with a cartoon showing Hitler and Napoleon squabbling over a copy of the document, each claiming, “I thought of it first.”
A DNA test for Europe's real father?
Hitler does not feature very prominently either in Mr Giscard d'Estaing's works or in the recent Berlin exhibition on ideas of European unity. In the German exhibition, the Nazi contribution to the debate on European unity is dismissed thus: “Hitler seeks to subjugate the European continent to the Third Reich in the name of ‘New Europe'.” Miss von Plessen, the exhibition's organiser, says that she used Mr Laughland's book as a source for the Berlin show. But she argues that it is unfair to link Hitler to the modern movement for European unity because “Hitler based his ideas on notions of the superiority of the Germanic race and conquest, whereas modern Europe is being built on the idea of equality between peoples.”
She is not much keener on the idea that Napoleon was a “builder of Europe”. The exhibition catalogue refers to the French emperor as “seeking to use national sentiments for his own ends” and implies that it was the monarchical alliance that defeated him, and this was the true promoter of European co-operation and peace.
Some French historians, however, are much less bashful about claiming Napoleon to the cause of European Unity. Since the French still generally regard Napoleon as a “good thing”—he was a hero to Churchill, too—they are less likely to fear that the cause of European unity will suffer by association with the emperor.
On the contrary. In 2002 Historia, a monthly French magazine, published an article under the title “Napoleon—the real father of Europe”, with a cover illustration of the great man crossing the Alps wearing a hat decorated with the insignia of today's EU. According to the article, many of the EU's features—federal law, the common market, the dismantling of frontiers, the promotion of the idea of the rights of man—can be traced to the Napoleonic heritage. Why, even the Grand Army brought together 20 nations. And such musings are not confined to popular history magazines. Dominique de Villepin, the French foreign minister, recently published a book on Napoleon in which he argued, “History has vindicated Napoleon's vision of a ‘great European family' of the future.”
Napoleon himself had little doubt that he deserved to be counted as a great European. In his memoirs, he lamented that had he only won his war in Russia, “Europe would soon have been...but one people, and anyone who travelled anywhere would have found himself always in the common fatherland.” Moreover, “Paris would have been the capital of the world, and the French the envy of the nations.”
O, for an empire like America's
Should anyone really be disturbed by the less savoury antecedents of Europhilia? Even Mr Laughland, the Eurosceptic polemicist, notes in a fit of fairness that “drawing attention to the detail of Nazi propaganda about Europe is not to imply that modern pro-Europeans are fascists. That would be absurd.” If the modern makers of European union are constructing an empire, it is of a new and strange variety—reliant on persuasion, example and regulation, rather than force of arms.
Naturally, it has ambitions. If pressed, few of the architects of the modern Europe venture would deny that they hope that one day the EU will be a great power—a peaceable, liberal, law-based and generous great power, no doubt, but one capable of looking the United States or China in the eye. Mr Bush caught an authentic whiff of this ambition when he teased Mr Prodi about the new Roman empire. Perhaps, nursing some imperial ambitions of his own, he recognised it. Not long before their lunch, Joseph Nye, a Harvard professor, was writing of the United States, “Not since Rome has any one nation loomed so large above the others.” The Roman empire has indeed been re-created, it seems, but its capital is Washington, DC—for the time being, anyway. Maybe, after a while, the new division of the West will mirror the old division of the Roman empire, with Rome and Constantinople replaced by Washington and Brussels.
Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright
Welcomes the Czech Republic, Hungary, and
Poland Into the North Atlantic Treaty Organization
Released by the Bureau of Public Affairs, March 12, 1999
Department of State, Washington, D.C.
Today Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright will receive instruments of accession to the North Atlantic Treaty for the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Poland. The Secretary will represent the United States in its role as depository for the North Atlantic Treaty. The original Treaty, which was signed in Washington on April 4, 1949, is deposited in the archives of the U.S. Department of State Treaty Office, and any amendment to the text of the Treaty, including changes in the membership of the Alliance, must be formally notified to the Department of State in writing before it becomes official. The accession instruments will be delivered to the Secretary for their respective countries by foreign ministers Jan Kavan of the Czech Republic, Janos Martonyi of Hungary, and Bronislaw Geremek of Poland.
Deposit of the instruments of accession marks the final step in a complex process that formally began with the invitation issued by NATO leaders at the 1997 Madrid NATO Summit to these three countries to join the Alliance. Formal enlargement protocols were signed by the Allies and the three invitees in Brussels in December 1997. In the course of 1998 the 16 current NATO Allies ratified the enlargement protocols, allowing NATO Secretary General Solana, in January of this year, to formally invite the three to accede to the North Atlantic Treaty. That process will be completed today: the three foreign ministers will present their ratification instruments and sign the Proces-Verbal confirming their accession. The Secretary will then sign the Proces-Verbal acknowledging deposit of the instruments and formally take possession of them. At that point, all three will be full members of NATO.
This is the fourth time that new members have joined NATO: Greece and Turkey were admitted in 1952, the Federal Republic of Germany in 1955 and Spain in 1982. Today's events are especially significant: They take place as NATO prepares to celebrate its 50th Anniversary at the April 23-24 NATO Summit in Washington. As Secretary Albright has said, this will be "the Summit that defines the NATO of the 21st Century."
The selection of the Harry S. Truman Presidential Library as the site for today's event is therefore especially appropriate, as it provides an opportunity to pay tribute to President Truman and Secretary of State Dean Acheson, who were among the chief architects of the Alliance, even as we move to adapt NATO to new and profoundly different circumstances from those they faced.
EU justice ministers agree compromise on data retention
13.10.2005 - 17:29 CET | By Teresa Küchler
BRUSSELS - EU justice ministers have backed down on a council proposal on data retention and instead decided to seek the help of the commission and parliament to reach a decision.
Unable to reach an agreement on a data retention proposal of their own, the justice ministers decided at a council meeting in Luxembourg on Wednesday (12 October) to move ahead with a "compromise proposal" from the commission.
This compromise from the commission suggests member states should have more freedom to make up their own rules than what has been proposed by the council.
"We want maximum flexibility for member states to decide on the length of storage or what to do with unanswered calls", said the UK secretary of state Charles Clarke, on behalf of the UK Presidency at a press conference at the council meeting in Luxembourg.
Data shall be stored for between 6 months and 2 years, according to the new proposal. The council proposal implied a minimum of 1 year and as long as up to 4 years of storage.
"We also want flexibility on the issue of costs", Mr Clarke said.
Mobile phone operator and Internet service providers have complained that long-term storage of communications data will be an expensive affair.
The council proposal has been rejected twice by parliament, with MEPs particularly worried about civil rights infringements.
Justice commissioner Franco Frattini made assurances on Wednesday that a discussion on data protection would be held in parallel to that of data retention in order to safeguard privacy rights. He urged all three EU institutions to work together on this matter.
"We will try to persuade parliament’s liberty committee about the added value of reaching a comprehensive agreement between the three institution in this very sensitive area", he said.
Data protection laws deal with checks on the use of private information such as a person's name, address, phone number, bank records, medical records or airline passenger lists.
Retaining such data for analysis is believed to be useful in the fight against terrorism and organised crime.
After last year's terrorist attack in Madrid and the London attacks in July, individual member states have wanted to move faster in implementing new laws, while the parliament and commission have fought to be a part of the deal.
The original draft was put forward by member states UK, Sweden, France and Ireland in the direct aftermath of the terror attack in Madrid in 2004.
After yesterday's announcement that the council draft was dropped in favour of the commission compromise, Swedish justice minister Thomas Bodström said that he was prepared to by-pass the EU on data laws.
"If the Parliament had not said no [to our proposal], it would not have had anything to discuss at all. Let us now try for real this time. Otherwise we are ready to move on our own, he said. But Irish justice minister Michael McDowell said according to Irish media, that the commission had no legal power to legislate on the issue of data retention. Dublin would consider legal action if new EU rules threatened Ireland's own data retention law, he said according to The Irish Times. http://www.euobserver.com/
Further steps taken on EU battle groups
23.05.2005 - 17:41 CET | By Honor Mahony EUOBSERVER /
BRUSSELS - EU defence ministers meeting on Monday in Brussels took some more steps towards the creation of the bloc's own rapid reaction 'battle groups' by deciding to speed up the bloc's notoriously slow decision-making process.
The ministers adopted proposals by the EU's foreign policy chief, Javier Solana, which suggest that ministers should take a decision to deploy forces to a region within five days and that the forces should then be at the trouble spot within ten days.
"We decided to adopt a proposal which will help us to bring down the time within which decisions are taken to enable the EU to react rapidly to crises to avoid worse coming to pass", said Luxembourg defence minister Luc Frieden.
The decision to set up the battle groups was taken late last year and envisages groups of around 1,500 soldiers being deployable to the world's hotspots within ten days of a unanimous decision by member states.
"I think today we should now be in a position to take a political decision with a five day period", said Mr Frieden but added that member states now have to test whether quick decision-making at the EU level would also be compatible at the national level.
"In our own countries, we are going to modify the rules in force ... to ensure that national procedures at government and parliamentary level can also be gone through within the same time period as that which has been set for the EU", said Mr Frieden, whose country currently holds the EU presidency.
More battlegroups formalised
Meanwhile Germany signed itself up to two more battle groups with France and Spain as well as with Poland, Slovakia, Lithuania and Latvia with the first to be ready in the second half of 2008 and the second during the first half of 2010.
A Nordic group - with Estonia, Finland, Sweden and non-EU members Iceland and Norway - was also formally given the go ahead on Monday and is expected to be up and running in 2008.
Each group will be associated with a force headquarters and will be headed by a ‘lead nation’, which will take up operational command.
The decision on which group will be sent to where will be made according to EU countries area of expertise to do with the troubled region - the groups - thirteen in all - are expected to be able to be deployed up to 6000 kilometres away.
In the name of the EU
Ministers also discussed "behaviour" rules for soldiers acting in the EU's name so that any issues of human rights violations, for example, get reported.
Mr Frieden referred to a "code of rules" to make sure the military carrying out EU operations are "worthy representatives of the European Union".
In recent times, the EU has launched military missions in the Balkans and in Africa.
Thursday, June 3, 1999 Published at 22:05 GMT 23:05 UK
Europe agrees military co-operation plan
On target: Defence industries will be working more closely
European Union leaders have agreed on a common defence strategy, giving the EU the capacity to organise its own military operations independently of the United States and Nato, if need be. At the opening session of a two-day summit in Cologne, the leaders said the existing European defence alliance, the dormant Western European Union, would be incorporated into the EU by the end of next year.
New bodies will be set up to handle defence, including a European Union military committee.
The drive to build an autonomous European defence capability has been spurred by frustrations at dependency on US air power and hesitant American leadership during the Kosovo war as well as a concern to give the EU political influence commensurate with its financial and trading power.
A spokesman for host nation Germany said European Union states outside Nato, such as Austria, Finland and Sweden would be able to take part, as would Nato nations outside the European Union, such as Norway and Turkey.
EU diplomats said they hoped neutral countries would opt out of operations without blocking them, if they felt they could not support them.
UK Prime Minister Tony Blair's spokesman hailed the agreement as a "big step forward" that would make the EU a major player on the world stage.
However, Conservative defence spokesman John Maples, said: "Putting control of Europe's defences directly in EU hands will risk the very future of Nato and will threaten to weaken greatly the United States commitment to Europe's defence."
The Liberal Democrats welcomed the move. Leader Paddy Ashdown said: "If Europe is going to get serious about defence then other European countries have got to stop freeloading on the US and to some extent the UK and France."
Mr Ashdown said some European countries like Germany and Italy did not punch their weight on the defence spending front and suggested a more equal distribution of responsibility.
The difficulties of Nato's campaign in Yugoslavia highlighted the need for a new approach to regional security for the EU, he said.
"History will say of Kosovo - here is an event which came before Europe was ready. We cannot afford to be unready again," he said.
The leaders also vowed to work towards closer and more efficient collaboration among Europe's fragmented defence industries, although government efforts to bring about a giant European Aerospace and Defence Company have so far failed to sway the private sector companies concerned.
German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder has said completing EU political union with a common defence policy is as important as this year's launch of the single European currency. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/359607.stm
Eurocorps: A truly European defence force?
Friday, 10 December, 1999, 10:10 GMT
The Franco-German brigade: Critics say its is merely a gesture
By defence correspondent Mark Laity For 50 years, Europe concentrated on ending past rivalries that created centuries of conflict.
But now it is also trying to build a defence system that reflects the continent's future strength and growing togetherness.
The Franco-German Brigade, formed 10 years ago, certainly signalled the end of traditional hatreds.
Old enemies now train together, in combat simulators.
But mixing different nationalities in small units is rarely efficient. Critics say the brigade also symbolise what is wrong with Euro-defence - it is more of a gesture than a force with true capability.
European spending low
Kosovo revealed the embarrassing truth, with US air power and high technology doing most of the work.
We have to improve European commitment from Europe.
UK Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon
And when Nato entered Kosovo, Europe could barely scrape enough troops together to send. Britain did best, but was still badly stretched. Europe mostly spends too little, and often not wisely, UK Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon says.
"When we needed it, the European nations could only get 2% of their forces into the theatre at a time and in a place, and in a way that was useful.
"We have to improve that commitment from Europe," Mr Hoon said.
The Eurocorps could be part of the answer.
Troops It grew out of the much smaller Franco-German Brigade, and now involves five nations, although not Britain.
A Utopian venture to create a European superstate
F Europe's leaders meeting in Helsinki are expected to back a plan promising 60,000 European troops will always be ready to deploy at short notice. More controversially, they will agree on giving the EU the ability to act if Nato does not.
or some, like former UK prime minister Lady Thatcher, speaking this week, it has raised fears of a slippery slope to a European army.
"The real drive towards a separate European defence is the same as that towards a single European currency, which I am against," Baroness Thatcher said, "namely the Utopian venture of creating a single European superstate to rival America on the world stage."
French ambivalence towards Nato
France, with its ambivalence towards both Nato and the US, causes most worries.
The Eurocorps they were instrumental in creating is not Nato controlled, but it works closely with the alliance, and the French, British and Germans have emphasised European military action will only follow if Nato does not get involved.
American politicians, such as Defence Secretary Bill Cohen, are cautiously reassured by the words of leaders like Nato's Secretary-General, George Robertson.
"He and others will insist that what is done to strengthen the European pillar must be seen in the context of strengthening Nato, and not inconsistent with it and not divisive," Mr Cohen said.
Kosovo could be an early test. The Eurocorps has offered to take command there, but firmly under Nato control.
Proof it says that a stronger European defence will not threaten the alliance.
When it was formed, the Franco-German Brigade was more a political symbol than militarily useful.
But now its commanders say it has come of age, and that it and the Eurocorps are the spearhead of a truly European force.
The challenge now is to prove that, without alienating the Americans or undermining Nato. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/557700.stm
Last Updated: Friday, 5 August 2005, 15:39 GMT 16:39 UK
At-a-glance: New terror plans
Tony Blair has proposed a raft of anti-terror measures. Here are the main points of the plans.
New grounds for deporting and excluding people from the UK - including fostering hatred or, advocating and justifying violence to further beliefs. The powers will cover statements already on record. Consultation on the plans will finish this month
Agreements with other countries, such as Jordan, to ensure people can be deported to their nations of origin without being tortured or ill-treated
Amend human rights laws, if necessary, to prevent legal obstacles to new deportation rules
Home secretary automatically to consider deporting any foreigner involved in listed extremist bookshops, centres, organisations and websites
Make justifying or glorifying terrorism anywhere an offence
Automatically refuse asylum to anyone with anything to do with terrorism anywhere
Consult on setting a maximum time limit for extraditions to other countries - Mr Blair said it was unacceptable that Rashid Ramda, wanted for the Paris Metro bombing 10 years ago, was still in the UK
Examine calls for police to be able to hold terror suspects for longer before pressing charges
Use more control orders against British terror suspects, who cannot be deported
Increase the number of special judges hearing terror cases
Review the threshold for gaining British citizenship and establish, with the Muslim community, a commission to advise how to better integrate parts of the community "presently inadequately integrated"
Create a list of foreign preachers who will be kept out of the UK and consult on creating new powers to close places of worship used to foment extremism
Use biometric visas for those from designated countries and compiling a database so people whose views or activities pose a threat to UK security can be kept out of the country. They could only appeal against the decision from overseas. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/4748717.stm
Last Updated: Monday, 21 March, 2005, 16:48 GMT
Annan urges sweeping UN reforms
Kofi Annan wants world leaders to "act boldly"
UN Secretary General Kofi Annan has urged governments to endorse "bold and far-reaching" reforms of the body. They include enlarging the Security Council, setting out rules on when it can authorise military force, and an agreed definition of terrorism.
The proposals are designed to ensure the UN, which was shaken by the bitter debate over the war against Iraq, remains at the heart of world security.
The UN must be brought in line with "today's realities", Mr Annan said.
The reform proposals come at a time when the world body faces criticism over its management of the oil-for-food programme in Iraq and allegations of sexual abuse by UN peacekeepers in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Enlarge Security Council from 15 to 24 members
Streamline General Assembly agenda
Introduce new guidelines for authorising military action
Replace Commission on Human Rights with Human Rights Council
Introduce zero tolerance policy on abuses by UN peacekeepers
Improve co-ordination of environment and development aid agendas
Time to turn talk to action
Poll shows support for reform
Kofi Annan's report in full (1MB)
The reforms proposed will be discussed by a meeting of world leaders attending a UN summit in September, and must then be endorsed by the General Assembly.
Mr Annan said: "This hall has heard enough high-sounding declarations to last us for some decades to come.
"We all know what the problems are and we all know what we have promised to achieve. What is needed now is not more declarations or promises, but action - action to fulfil the promises already made."
In a report setting out the reforms, Mr Annan urges governments to "act boldly" and adopt "the most far-reaching reforms in the history of the United Nations".
"We will not enjoy development without security, we will not enjoy security without development, and we will not enjoy either without respect for human rights," he said.
The report comes two years after the US-led invasion of Iraq, which took place without explicit Security Council authorisation.
Mr Annan said current threats such as civil violence, organised crime, terrorism and weapons of mass destruction, as well as poverty and disease, were interconnected.
Following the Iraq war, the UN's role has been called into question and the organisation must re-establish itself
"I am profoundly convinced that the threats which face us are of equal concern to us all," he told the General Assembly.
The secretary general called on UN members to agree on a definition of terrorism and to take urgent steps to prevent nuclear, chemical and biological weapons from getting into the hands of terrorists.
The report suggests that "any action constitutes terrorism if it is intended to cause death or serious bodily harm to civilians or non-combatants with the purpose of intimidating a population or compelling a government or an international organisation to do or abstain from doing any act".
Mr Annan also called on developed countries to increase their spending on development and debt relief, to help achieve targets on halving extreme poverty and achieving universal education.
He declared a policy of zero tolerance for sexual exploitation and called for better oversight of UN contracts.
And he proposed a new human rights body and gave his backing to the idea of expanding the 15-member Security Council to 24.
Many of his suggestions are based on the recommendations made last year by a panel that he commissioned.
Last Updated: Tuesday, 30 November, 2004, 16:34 GMT
UN plan demands more intervention
By Paul Reynolds
World affairs correspondent, BBC News website
UN and Congolese troops have not always seen eye to eye
The UN should be reformed to make intervention in failing states easier, a commission is set to recommend.
The panel, which has examined how the UN could respond better to global threats, also calls for the Security Council to be enlarged, the BBC has learned.
The report has been called the "biggest make-over" of the UN since 1945.
It is thought that if the UN shows greater readiness to act, unilateralism by member states would be less likely.
A year ago, in the wake of the international divisions over Iraq, UN Secretary General Kofi Annan warned the UN was at a "fork in the road".
He said the organisation had to review its fundamental policies in order to address the increasing threats of global terrorism, weapons of mass destruction and nuclear proliferation. UN operations, finances and spending
He asked a panel of 16 veteran diplomats and politicians, chaired by former Thai Prime Minister Anand Panyarachun, to examine ways the UN should be reformed.
The route the panel is set to advocate is much more interventionist, moving away from the UN's traditional emphasis that it cannot meddle in the internal affairs of a member state.
The BBC has been told that among the panel's main findings are calls for a peace-building commission to be established to monitor potential trouble spots, offer help and advice, give warnings and prepare the way for armed intervention as a last resort.
The panel wants member states to accept a new obligation - a "responsibility to protect" their own citizens.
If they failed to do so, then intervention by the Security Council would be much more likely than under current UN procedures.
At the moment, the Council can order intervention, and a member state can act in self-defence, if there is an imminent threat. The Council can declare a threat to international security but the definition is vague and the procedure unwieldy.
This report recommends that the Council should be more willing to act pre-emptively, though according to five strict criteria:
the threat should be defined
the purpose of intervention should be clear
it should be a last resort,
the means should be proportionate
the consequences should be examined
Whether the Council would in fact take action would depend on what the crisis was and how it voted. The UN would not have its own peace-keeping force, although several members of the panel wanted this.
Among the other main findings, the panel suggests threats to international security should be defined widely and should include poverty, pandemics like Aids and environmental disasters, not just threats from weapons of mass destruction, wars and failed states.
Anand Panyarachun (Chairman), former Prime Minister of Thailand
Robert Badinter (France)
Joao Clemente Baena Soares (Brazil)
Gro Harlem Brundtland (Norway)
Mary Chinery-Hesse (Ghana)
Gareth Evans (Australia)
Lord David Hannay (United Kingdom)
Enrique Iglesias (Uruguay)
Amre Moussa (Egypt)
Satish Nambiar (India)
Sadako Ogata (Japan)
Yevgenii Primakov (Russia)
Qian Qichen (China)
Nafis Sadik (Pakistan)
Salim Ahmed Salim (Tanzania)
Brent Scowcroft (United States)
The Security Council should be enlarged from 15 members to 24 - the five permanent members, the US, Russia, China, the UK and France, should keep their seats and their vetoes (any changes to that would simply not be agreed, it was felt).
The panel does not, however, recommend how this should be achieved and simply offers two models. In the first, there would be more permanent members without a veto. In the second there would be some semi-permanent members who must be voted onto the Council every four years.
Terrorism would be defined for the first time and should be made part of an international convention. Terrorism would mean any action targeted against non-combatants and civilians.
To help stop the spread of nuclear weapons, countries wanting fuel for their nuclear power should have automatic rights to get supplies under the International Atomic Energy Agency so long as they complied with inspection regimes.
These inspections should themselves be drastically tightened up. The system would work rather as the International Monetary Fund does where members have drawing rights on currencies.
Regional organisations like the African Union should be strengthened. Any peacekeeping operation should be funded by the UN itself and member states should pay automatically.
The G8 group of countries should be expanded and changed. One idea put forward is that membership of the G8, which is made up only of the rich, should be widened to 20 bringing in developing countries.
The UN Human Rights Commission should be re-invigorated with more human rights activists and fewer diplomats on members' delegations.
The report will now be considered by the Secretary General and then by the member states.
Any institutional changes are likely to come only slowly but the thrust is clear - the UN must reform or lose its role.
Should the United Nations be reformed to make intervention in failing states easier? http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/4052385.stm
Last Updated: Wednesday, 14 September 2005, 16:03 GMT 17:03 UK
At-a-glance: UN World Summit
Kofi Annan has said the UN is at a "fork in the road"
More than 150 world leaders are meeting at the headquarters of the United Nations in New York to mark the opening of the 60th annual session of the UN General Assembly. The build-up to the meeting has been marred by sharp differences between member states on key issues.
The BBC News website looks at the issues under discussion.
Issue: Widespread poverty in the developing world and inequalities across the globe have prompted large-scale campaigning throughout 2005 for increased aid, debt relief and new trade agreements.
UN aim: Progress towards existing Millennium Development Goals, adopted in 2000, which include reducing poverty, improving access to education and reducing disease around the world by 2015. Additional push for countries to set aside 0.7% of gross national product for aid.
Outcome: Sixteen pages of the 35-page UN document focus on development issues, including the Millennium Development Goals. The US did not agree to the 0.7% of GNP target.
Issue: International disagreement over definition of "terrorism".
UN aim: Universal international condemnation of terror attacks.
Outcome: Undecided. US insisted on definition of terrorism including all attacks on civilians and non-combatants. Opposed by developing nations sympathetic to Palestinian armed struggle. Text left to be decided by General Assembly.
Issue: Kofi Annan proposed a new peace-building commission to assist nations emerging from war and armed conflict.
Outcome: Agreement in principle, although divisions remain over whether the new commission will report to the Security Council or to the General Assembly, where developing countries have a greater voice.
Issue: UN criticised over lack of action in Rwanda in 1994, and its slow response to the crisis in Darfur in recent years.
UN aim: Kofi Annan proposed a UN-led response to reports of genocide that places binding obligations on member states.
Outcome: Mostly approved but without legal obligations.
Issue: Widespread dissatisfaction at existing UN Human Rights Commission, which has regularly been chaired by countries with poor human rights records, such as Sudan. Countries such as China, Zimbabwe and Russia have often escaped censure.
UN aim: Establishment of a new Human Rights Council with a membership limited to countries known to respect human rights.
Outcome: Agreement over new commission, but membership criteria and details not yet finalised.
Issue: Calls for major reform of UN systems including internal management, influenced by scandals including the oil-for-food affair.
UN aim: Mr Annan, heavily criticised over his involvement in the oil-for-food issue, proposed root and branch reforms of auditing and accountability procedures within the UN.
Outcome: General approval, although Mr Annan failed to win authority to make personnel changes and re-deploy staff.
UN SECURITY COUNCIL REFORM
Issue: The make-up of the Security Council, the key decision-making body at the UN, remains based on a post-1945 formation: the US, UK, France, Russia and China are permanent members with the power of veto. Ten other places are filled on a rotating basis without veto.
UN aim: Kofi Annan backed expansion of the Security Council to 24 members, plus clear written definitions of when it is acceptable to authorise force.
Outcome: Dropped from the summit agenda. US backs expansion in principle, but only at the "right time".
DISARMAMENT AND NON-PROLIFERATION
Issue: Growth of the international small arms trade, concern over the possible spread of nuclear technology and weapons of mass destruction.
UN aim: Calls for new agreements to regulate the arms trade, re-negotiation of the ageing nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and focus on disarmament by existing nuclear powers.
Outcome: All references to disarmament and non-proliferation dropped from the draft summit text, labelled a "disgrace" by Mr Annan.
The UN needs a European lead
16.09.2005 - 16:07 CET | By Peter Sain ley Berry
COMMENT - The United Nations is rarely perceived as a European Institution.
Its genesis, after all, was in San Francisco, on the other side of the world and its political and principal seat is in New York.
Yet its origins lay in the failed attempt to prevent a second European war and the - so far successful - desire to prevent a third. Founded by 51 states in 1945, the UN now numbers 191 members.
Of these only 25 are European Union member states, yet between them they provide two of the five permanent members of the Security Council, some 38 per cent of the UN's regular budget and around 50 per cent of all contributions to the UN's various funds and programmes.
The UN's Charter follows principles that we in Europe would recognise as implicitly European. The UN's basic philosophy of multilateralism, international law, peacekeeping and social justice is a philosophy which is also perhaps closest to our own than to any other. The UN is not the European Union writ large - but it is very much a member of our family.
In Larger Freedom
This week the UN is celebrating its 60th anniversary with a Summit of world leaders called to review progress towards the goals that the same leaders set themselves five years ago in the Millennium Declaration.
Its purpose is also to take steps to reform the UN as an institution. The UN Secretary-General, Kofi Annan, threw down the gauntlet to member states in a document - In Larger Freedom - that set out his own recommendations for the way ahead.
We in Europe know how difficult it is to deal with 25 states that think along broadly the same lines.
We cannot even agree a budget package for the next seven years or draft a set of constitutional arrangements acceptable to key electorates. How much harder then for the UN Secretariat to deal with 191 delegations some of whom will not even speak to each other?
So Annan's original ideas have been watered down. The grand summit that some thought might catapult the UN into the future has turned into the usual pettifogging hagley-bagley.
Europe, as Europe, has kept its head down. Nations have spoken as nations but the force of the Continent's aspirations has not been heard. For the European Commission, Mr Barroso has tried to blow the trumpet for development, but the sound has been muted.
It is true the European Union and its member states have a better than average track record. But then look at the competition.
To say that Europe provides the world with more development aid than Japan and the United States combined, is not saying very much. A better indicator is that it will take us another ten years - until 2015 - before we reach the UN's guideline level of development aid - 0.7 percent of GNP.
Subsidies distort trade
Money of course is not all. Perhaps more important is the opening up of trade.
According to the UN, rich countries spend about $1 billion per year on aiding agriculture in developing countries; but they spend the same amount every single day in domestic subsidies.
Not all of these subsidies distort trade, but getting rid of the ones that do, and the barriers that protect our food processing industries, will be a painful nettle to grasp.
At the Summit George Bush repeated his earlier G8 declaration that the United States was willing to turn its back on subsidies if other countries would do the same. Whether Europe will respond to this challenge will become clear soon enough when ministers meet in Hong Kong for the next round of world trade talks.
Ending poverty matters more perhaps to Europe than to any other region of the globe.
Quite apart from the moral issue, it is in our vital self-interest to be surrounded by prosperous, democratic and stable neighbours - in Africa and the Middle East especially.
In some Asian countries considerable progress has been made, but among Europe's closer neighbours the scene is mixed. The UN's Human Development Report for 2005, published last week, warns that there will be no chance under current trends of fulfilling the anti-poverty promises made in the Millennium Declaration.
Fifty countries, with a combined population of almost 900 million people, it says, are not just standing still but actually falling backwards on at least one of the Millennium Development Goals.
Twenty-four of these countries are Europe's neighbours in sub-Saharan Africa. Another 65 countries, with a combined population of 1.2 billion, will fail to meet at least one goal until after 2040, thereby missing the modest targets of 2000 by an entire generation.
Armed conflicts slow progress
On current trends, the goal to reduce the deaths of children under five years of age will be met 30 years late - in 2045, not 2015.
The human cost of missing this target is 41 million more child deaths over the next decade, says the report. As for the goal to secure universal primary education, 47 million children will still be out of school in 2015, on current trends, 19 million of them in sub-Saharan Africa.
The main reason for this slow progress is armed conflict.
In India and Pakistan, in Indonesia and sub-Saharan Africa, in the Middle East and many other regions, bloated military budgets have led to profound deprivation and human suffering.
Unfortunately, half of the world's governments dedicate more resources to defence than to health programmes.
Such distortions in national budgets contribute to poverty and retard human development. War, and the preparation for war, is one of the greatest obstacles to human progress, fostering a vicious cycle of arms build-ups, violence and poverty.
Some six years ago, I was privileged to hear Oscar Arias, Nobel Laureate and former President of Costa Rica, speak of the damage to development done by arms.
"The impact of military spending is dramatic, and the progress that could be realised if military spending were redirected is tremendous. If we channelled just $40 billion each year away from armies and into anti-poverty programmes, in ten years all of the world's population would enjoy basic social services - education, health care and nutrition, potable water and sanitation. Another $40 billion each year over ten years would provide each person on this planet with an income level above the poverty line for their country. Shockingly, this life-giving $80 billion in annual funds would represent only 10 per cent of world defence expenditures."
The message is as true today as ever.
Which it is why it is a scandal and deeply disappointing that no agreement has been reached on disarmament and non-proliferation at the UN Summit.
Indeed these subjects have been written out of the draft communiqué. Sadly, there are too many vested interests among the arms sellers - of which we in Europe have in some profusion - and arms buyers. This is the UN - and Europe - at its worst.
"The European Union is committed to do more, better and faster," said Louis Michel, the Belgian Commissioner responsible for International development, last week while launching a pro-development information campaign with the cuddly title of 'Europe Cares.' "We have taken the political lead in development to make poverty history."
But we could do far more, Monsieur, far more.
The author is editor of EuropaWorld
Sunday, 30 September, 2001, 02:35 GMT 03:35 UK
Russia praises UN anti-terrorism move
The UN condemned the suicide attacks the next day
Russia has praised the UN Security Council resolution to combat terrorism, saying it had "considerable significance". "Above all, it provides a legal foundation for forming a coalition against terrorism," said Russian Foreign Ministry Alexander Yakovenko on ORT state television.
France is delighted about this unanimous decision which... illustrates the need for a universal mobilisation
French foreign ministry France joined Russia in welcoming the UN Security Council resolution, passed unanimously Friday evening.
The BBC Moscow correspondent says Russia's approval is a signal that it will support moves which go through the UN, but would be less happy with any unilateral action from the United States.
High level security meetings have been held in Moscow with American officials on Washington's global campaign against terrorism.
The United States-sponsored resolution also calls on all states to co-operate on exchanging information about the activity of terrorist groups.
Enemies of the US have vociferous support
President Bush's administration has made it clear that it sees the closing down of funding for terrorism as one of key planks in its campaign after the 11 September attacks on New York and Washington in which more than 6,000 people were killed.
Those who do not abide by the resolution might find themselves subject to UN sanctions.
One stumbling block was the definition of a "terrorist," which is not contained in the resolution and could be added later by the 189-nation General Assembly.
"There is a huge grey area of what is a terrorist," said one council diplomat.
United Nations diplomats say the resolution passed late on Friday should be seen as a practical way of closing loopholes that exist in current UN anti-terrorism conventions, many of which have not been signed or ratified by member states.
The resolution invokes the enforcement rules of Chapter Seven, which obliges all states to implement it immediately.
Kofi Annan believes in a joint response
There is also a provision for the establishment of a Security Council committee that would monitor whether countries are actually abiding by the rules of the resolution, drawing on the expertise of banking and other technical experts.
It also calls on states to exchange information to prevent the movement of terrorists across international borders.
The new resolution follows a call this week by President Bush for nations to freeze the assets of people and groups linked to terrorism.
But the resolution does not mention the list of 27 individuals and groups whose assets were frozen by the US.
The council's permanent members - France, China, Russia, the United States and Britain - agreed on the general terms of the resolution before it was introduced to the rest of the council, diplomats said.
Sunday, 21 October, 2001, 18:54 GMT 19:54 UK
Bush and Putin hail new relationship
Bush described relations as candid and constructive
US President George W Bush and his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, have hailed what they called a new relationship between their countries.
The US wants to scrap the ABM treaty
Speaking after their meeting at the Asia-Pacific Economic Forum (Apec) in Shanghai, President Bush repeatedly thanked President Putin for his support over the terrorist attacks on America.
He said it underscored the fact that the US and Russia no longer view each other as enemies.
But he reiterated that the Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty, signed by Russia and the US in 1972, was anachronistic, despite Russia's insistence that it underpins global security.
No Cold War
President Bush noted that Russia was the first to call after the attacks on 11 September.
He said the two countries had made progress in "a new relationship ... based on co-operation and mutual interests instead of confrontation and mutual vulnerability."
Mr Bush said he discussed "significantly lowering" nuclear arsenals with President Putin.
But he also said the terrorist attacks of last month made it clearer than ever that the ABM is "outmoded and dangerous".
The ABM treaty bars President Bush's plans for a US missile defence system, which Washington says will protect it from attacks by rogue states.
Russia opposes both the US missile defence plan and the abolition of the treaty, which it regards as the cornerstone to global security.
But the Russian president told a joint news conference that they had made progress on the issue.
Further talks planned
"At least we do have an understanding that we can reach some agreement taking into account the national interests" of the two nations, Mr Putin said.
A senior White House official said after the news conference that although President Bush did not give President Putin a deadline for the US's exit from the ABM treaty he made it clear that it would happen soon.
This would effectively sound the death knell for the treaty, as only Russia and the US subscribe to it.
Mr Putin said he looked forward to longer negotiations on nuclear stockpiles and missile defence at their meetings at Bush's Texas ranch next month.
Friday, 1 February, 2002, 05:07 GMT
Terror prompts huge US military revamp
Rumsfeld: Best form of defence is attack
US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has called for America to spend billions of dollars on new weapons to protect itself against the threat of terrorism. Mr Rumsfeld said the United States faced attacks far more deadly than those on 11 September, and should prepare for "the unknown, the uncertain, the unseen and the unexpected".
These attacks could grow vastly more deadly than those we suffered on 11 September
Donald Rumsfeld He said hundreds of thousands of Americans could be killed if terrorists managed to get hold of unconventional weapons and deliver them with ballistic missiles.
Mr Rumsfeld's comments, in a speech to the Pentagon's National Defence University, came ahead of the formal unveiling on Monday of President George W Bush's request for a massive boost in US defence spending.
The proposed increase would be the biggest requested since former President Ronald Reagan went cap in hand to Congress during the Cold War, 20 years ago.
"In the years ahead, it is likely that we will be surprised again by new adversaries who may also strike in unexpected ways," Mr Rumsfeld said.
President Bush has warned "rogue" states
"And as they gain access to weapons of increasing power - and let there be no doubt they are - these attacks could grow vastly more deadly than those we suffered 11 September 11."
Mr Rumsfeld said the situation called for pre-emptive strikes. "The best, and in some cases the only, defence is a good offence."
The US had - ill-advisedly - postponed spending on spy planes and chemical and biological defence, Mr Rumsfeld said.
"That needs to change."
President Bush is requesting $379bn in defence spending in the fiscal year 2003, up $48bn from this year.
Following his State of the Union address threat to Iran, Iraq and North Korea - a trio he called an "axis of evil" - his security adviser Condoleezza Rice provided details of US plans on Thursday.
She said the US would:
Work towards an international ban on the proliferation of dangerous weapons
Use its new friendship with Russia to press for changes in rogue states
Push ahead with its plans for missile defence
More than four months after the devastating attacks on New York and Washington, the US remains on high alert.
The anthrax scare alerted officials to the threat of unconventional weaponry
FBI Director Robert S Mueller says this is because he believe there are "sleeper cells" of terrorists waiting for the command to attack.
Mr Mueller said interviews with captured al-Qaeda fighters and documentary evidence found in Afghanistan and elsewhere pointed to more potential attacks.
A government official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said two weeks ago intelligence services issued a warning of a possible attack on a nuclear plant or other nuclear facility.
Mr Mueller he urged the highest state of alert for the Super Bowl football game this weekend and the February's Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City.
Friday, 7 December, 2001, 13:33 GMT
Nato and Russia seal new ties
Colin Powell: Nato will retain its veto
Nato and Russia have agreed to forge what Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov described on Friday as "a profound change" in relations. At a meeting in Brussels, Mr Ivanov and his 19 Nato counterparts decided to create a new council that will allow joint decision-making on a range of issues by next May.
Robertson: Deal will promote stability
"There is no issue more important to the security and stability of the Euro-Atlantic area than the further development of a confident and co-operative relationship between us," Nato Secretary-General Lord Robertson told Mr Ivanov.
The struggle against terrorism, arms control and nuclear non-proliferation are regarded as key areas for co-operation.
But Nato leaders have emphasised that Russia will not have a veto over alliance decisions.
"Nato at 19 will retain its prerogative to act independently on any issue," US Secretary of State Colin Powell said on Thursday.
The name of the new council has not been fixed, but officials are informally referring to the planned collaboration with Russia as "Nato at 20".
Membership ruled out
Nato ministers have ordered a working group to come up with ideas on how the new council would work.
The question is about developing a mechanism for working out and adopting joint decisions in keeping with the times
Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov
One proposal is to bring Russia in at the very beginning of discussions on certain issues. If they are unable to reach agreement at 20, they can meet at 19.
"We'll try to do a great deal at 20, but Nato works at 19 and will continue to do so," said UK Foreign Secretary, Jack Straw.
Mr Ivanov said on Friday that the question was how to develop "a mechanism for working out and adopting joint decisions in keeping with the times."
Since 1997, meetings have been held under something called the Nato-Russia Permanent Joint Council, but both sides say it has never been satisfactory.
Possible joint decision areas
Theatre missile defence
Search and rescue at sea
Originally created to ease Moscow's fears about Nato enlargement, it has often served as a forum for the alliance to inform Russia of decisions it already has taken.
Mr Ivanov underlined that Russia had no plans to join the queue for Nato membership.
Nato's plan is to have the new council in place by the time of next meeting of Nato foreign ministers in Reykjavik in May.
The UK had proposed inaugurating the new council now, and committing Nato to running a wide range of tasks, including peacekeeping, with Russia as an equal partner.
However, diplomats said there was last-minute resistance from the US, as well as former Warsaw Pact countries Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic.
France and the Netherlands are also reported to have been cool about the UK proposals.
The BBC's Oana Lungescu says that the worry is that, once Russia gets enhanced status it will push for a greater say in other areas too, in particular regarding plans for further expansion.
The Reykjavik meeting will be an important point in the enlargement process, when foreign ministers will start weighing up the progress made by each applicant.
Earlier this week, the commander of Russia's Baltic Fleet warned that the entry of the Baltic republics into Nato would still be perceived as a significant threat by Moscow.
However, the Kremlin itself has said that Nato expansion is not a problem if a truly co-operative relationship can be achieved.
Saturday, 17 June, 2000, 20:02 GMT 21:02 UK
Planning for an EU military force
The new force would be ready for action in troublespots
By Diplomatic Correspondent Barnaby Mason Imagine the scene. A crisis blows up in an African country: it could be a natural disaster; it could be a local civil war that gets out of hand, threatening both a democratic government and a large community of European residents.
A military committee in Brussels gets a report from the European Union's foreign affairs chief.
Money is made available from the European Commission's emergency fund.
Available military units are identified within 24 hours and are in action on the ground soon afterwards.
That at least is the hopeful picture being painted by UK officials of what could be reality within a year or two.
The drive to give the EU a military identity is acquiring some momentum.
An EU force could act independently of Nato
In Portugal on Monday, an EU summit is expected to give a further push towards setting up a European military force capable of a range of operations from disaster relief to peace-making.
European leaders will adopt guidelines for a new and sensitive security relationship with Nato.
They will also discuss the possible participation in European military operations of Nato countries like Turkey which are not members of the EU.
The ambitious aim is that by 2003 the European Union will be able to deploy 60,000 troops at two months' notice and keep them in the field for at least a year. Smaller units could be on the move within a matter of days - to respond to a disaster like this February's floods in Mozambique, for example.
The EU is not talking about a standing army or about collective defence.
Rather, the idea is a pool of available forces to manage a crisis.
Many countries are cutting defence budgets
Actions would range from humanitarian relief all the way up to enforcing peace in a hostile environment, such as that in Sierra Leone.
On occasion, the EU might act as the agent of the United Nations.
Sometimes police rather than troops might be needed: another idea is to earmark 5,000 police who could be quickly deployed.
The project is being driven by France and the UK, which began the process a year-and-a-half ago with a declaration signed in the French port of St Malo.
European, especially British, officials repeatedly stress that the initiative will strengthen Nato, not undermine it.
This reassurance is directed mainly at the United States.
There is still some unease in Washington, although the Clinton administration has endorsed the EU's plans.
In fact, the Americans have been urging the Europeans for years to take on a greater share of the defence burden.
The EU would act only when Nato as a whole was not involved - which in practice means when the United States opts out. But it would be able to use Nato assets.
The EU summit will approve guidelines for the security relationship with Nato and create four working groups to carry out detailed negotiations on how the two organisations will interact.
EU leaders will also encourage European countries which do not belong to the Union to take part nevertheless in its military operations.
They include six Nato members, notably Turkey.
The others are Norway, Iceland, Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic.
British officials say the Turks are dissatisfied with the proposed arrangements and want a place at the table where decisions are taken to mount an operation.
That is not possible, the officials say, although they would be consulted.
The decisions will be taken by EU member states, all of whom have a veto.
And states will be able to choose whether they themselves want to take part in a particular operation. Most likely, those who do will bear the cost.
So the main doubts about the initiative now centre on the political will of governments to make the resources available.
By September, officials expect to have agreement on what military elements are needed for the proposed force.
Then member states will have to make clear what they can provide, not just fighting units but back-up, transport and logistics. Up to now the Europeans have been dependent for many things on the United States, especially airlift capacity.
When asked whether European governments will be prepared to spend more on defence, officials say they have not yet got into the question of funding.
They say governments will at the very least have to spend money better, so that the forces they say they can provide are genuinely deployable.
Some of this sounds like an attempt to evade the issue.
At any rate, Europe's new military identity will certainly not be compatible with continued pressure to cut defence spending.
Tuesday, 5 March, 2002, 08:54 GMT
Russia 'dismayed' at Nato offer
Nato wants a deal with Russia before it expands again
By Jonathan Marcus
BBC Defence correspondent
Russian officials have reportedly expressed dismay at proposals put before them for greater co-operation between Moscow and Nato.
The proposals were tabled by the Alliance's Deputy Secretary General, Guenther Altenberg, on a visit to Moscow.
The idea is to breathe new life into the relationship between Russia and the Atlantic Alliance ahead of Nato's next round of expansion, expected in November.
In the aftermath of the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington last September, both Nato and Russia expressed a desire to seek a fresh start in their relationship.
The UK Government took a leading role in elaborating the new scheme within Nato: the idea was to replace the existing Nato-Russia Permanent Joint Council - where Russia effectively sat down faced by the 19-member Nato alliance with a new body.
This, it was hoped, would have a much more serious consultative role.
It would be able to make joint decisions on matters of common concern, and rather than being structured as a Nato-Russia body it would have more of the character of a gathering of 20 individual countries.
The initial British proposals were watered down somewhat - not least due to US pressure.
But what's on offer to Moscow is effectively a fresh start - the institutional gift-wrapping is in a sense irrelevant - what matters is what each side wants to put into the new arrangements.
Nato, though, knows that time is pressing.
It wants to bring a second wave of new members into the alliance at its summit next November, including perhaps one - or even all three - of the Baltic Republics.
It wants its new start with Russia to be agreed before then - the target date is in May when Nato foreign ministers are due to meet their Russian counterpart in Reykjavik.
It's impossible to tell if the negative noises from Moscow are just sound effects or a sign of substantial problems.
Russia insists that the new forum must be more than just a cosmetic exercise.
And Nato for its part emphasises that serious issues will be on the new body's agenda.
Wednesday, 3 October, 2001, 20:46 GMT 21:46 UK
Russia closes ranks with EU
Russia and the EU: a new kind of friendship?
The European Union and Russia are to boost security co-operation to an unprecedented level following the attacks on the United States, with monthly consultations on foreign and defence policy. Russian President Vladimir Putin and EU leaders issued a statement after a summit in Brussels pledging "joint action" in the fight against terrorism.
As for Nato expansion, one can take an entirely new look at this if Nato takes on a different shade and is becoming a political organisation
President Putin And there also appeared to be progress in Russia's relationship with Nato.
The alliance's Secretary General, Lord Robertson, said after meeting the Russian president: "These discussions mark a major milestone in the Nato-Russia relationship. We have identified a number of new areas where Nato and Russia can work together," he said. V Mr Putin said earlier Russia would re-consider its hostile position on Nato expansion.
Belgian Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt, whose country currently holds the rotating EU presidency, told reporters after meeting Mr Putin the EU and Russia would begin to work more closely. "We have decided now that this should be a structured dialogue with monthly meetings," he said.
It is thought that the European side is hoping for better communications with Russian intelligence authorities and is offering to help with border security and the fight against the illegal arms trade.
Russia says it does not need proof of Bin Laden's guilt
Delighted with Mr Putin's backing for America's global anti-terror coalition, the EU promised it would speed up Russia's entry to the World Trade Organisation.
Mr Putin had arrived in Brussels eager to display support, saying his country needed "no proof of the guilt of Bin Laden" in the devastating September 11 attacks on New York and the Pentagon.
While he has excluded the possibility of Russian military involvement in looming US strikes, he is offering other forms of assistance such as tracking down finances and support networks as well as encouraging former Soviet states to respond to Washington's needs.
Mr Putin told reporters prior to Wednesday's meeting that he thought it was "time to reflect on the creation of permanent consultative structures in the security field" and said he was ready for "profound" changes in Russia's relations with Nato and EU security bodies.
Putin says Russia will reconsider its opposition to Nato expansion
And after the meeting, Mr Putin said that Russia would go so far as to reconsider its traditional opposition to Nato expansion, if Moscow played a greater role in the process.
Three former Soviet Baltic states are key candidates to join the alliance in another wave of enlargement next year.
"As for Nato expansion, one can take another, an entirely new look at this... if Nato takes on a different shade and is becoming a political organisation," said Mr Putin.
"Of course we would reconsider our position with regard to such expansion if we were to feel involved in such processes."
In evocative language Mr Putin described terrorism as a "bacteria" which adapted to and lived off its host states.
Russia says it is fighting terrorists in Chechnya
He also reportedly told his EU colleagues that the breakaway Russian republic of Chechnya was being used as a base for international terrorism.
The BBC's Justin Webb in Brussels says that in the current climate, it is unlikely that EU leaders have pressed Mr Putin on his military action within Chechnya, despite strong pressure from international human rights groups to do so.
The New York-based Human Rights watch has urged the EU to send a strong signal to Russia that recent events did not mean the violations of international law in Chechnya would be tolerated.
Amnesty has demanded an official statement on the physical harm it says is being caused to Chechen civilians.
Although the European Commission has said that nothing has changed in its view of the Chechnya issue, last week German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder said the Chechen conflict might have to be re-evaluated in the light of what had happened in America.
Tuesday, 21 November, 2000, 15:36 GMT
Putin will not oppose EU army
Mr Blair has 'invested a lot' in relations with Mr Putin
Russian president Vladimir Putin has given his tentative backing to the UK Government's support for a European Union rapid reaction force. Speaking at a joint press conference in the Kremlin alongside Mr Blair, Mr Putin said plans for the EU force had been discussed in detail. People say there is a risk in being so close with Russia but I think this is something well worth doing
Tony Blair "What's important is to ensure that everything that is being done under this concept is transparent and clear," said the Russian leader. "These processes are developing and evolving in Europe whether Russia wants it or not. It's not our intention either to interfere with these processes or to encourage them or to provide impetus."
Human rights Earlier Mr Blair underlined his empathy with President Putin by expressing understanding for his controversial policies towards Chechnya and press freedom.
Putin's Chechen legacy casts a long shadow Human rights campaigners had called on Mr Blair to demand unhindered access to detention centres in Chechnya and a full investigation of allegations of torture by the Russian security services. Amnesty International accused President Putin of "spectacularly" breaching the UN Convention Against Torture.
UK Director Kate Allen said: "The horrific torture suffered by many Chechens can only be ended if other world leaders are prepared to challenge the Russian President directly on his failure to hold those responsible to account." Earlier Mr Blair told reporters: "You have to understand the scale of the problems the president of Russia has to deal with.
"An economy that needs fundamental restructuring, a civil society that needs to be rebuilt and external relations that have a whole series of historical legacies that have to be overcome."
Mr Blair said: "The important thing for Britain is stability in Russia, Russia growing and prospering in a way that means Russia is a full member of the international community."
Continuing dialogue over nuclear defence systems
One of the most controversial issues on the agenda was the prospect of America's 'Son of Star Wars' national missile defence system, designed to knock out rogue states' nuclear weapons.
Mr Putin said Russia stood firm in its opposition to altering a key nuclear arms pact to allow the United States to build the shield but he was still ready to discuss the problem: "We believe that the destruction of the ABM treaty would lead to serious destabilisation in the world."
Mr Blair, who has said he is prepared to mediate, said he also approved of further talks: "I welcome the continuing dialogue, which is the right and sensible way of approaching this issue," he said.
Mr Blair said his meeting with the Russian leader had been fruitful: "I know that people say there is a risk in being so close with Russia and President Putin but I think this is something that's well worth doing."
Mr Putin also seemed impressed: "I find the Prime Minister to be a very pleasant, a very well informed person, a competent person, a person with whom it's a great pleasure to deal with," he said.
Wednesday, 6 December, 2000, 05:40 GMT
Row over 'secret EU superstate'
Germany and Italy have published a joint paper
The government faces fresh accusations of misleading the public over plans for closer European integration as Prime Minister Tony Blair prepares for the crucial summit in Nice. In a paper published on Tuesday night, Germany and Italy push for another EU summit on "further development of European integration".
Their joint submission to European leaders meeting in Nice on Thursday suggests the inter-governmental conference (IGC) should be held in 2004, according to The Times newspaper.
Tony Blair is happy to take Britain into an EU superstate but is doing so by stealth
Shadow foreign secretary Francis Maude
Shadow foreign secretary Francis Maude called the latest document a "bombshell" and said it showed the government's secret integrationist policy and the "real agenda" behind Nice.
The summit is regarded as one of the most important meetings of EU leaders in years and aims to pave the way for the entry of some 13 new members.
Mr Blair has already suggested another summit and called for many of the proposals set out in the Italian-German paper.
But he told the European Union summit in Biarritz, France, in October there should not be a "two-speed" Europe as the EU expanded.
He said Britain wanted to make sure political reform in the EU was based on "nations coming together, not some European federal superstate".
The Foreign Office played down the significance of the paper, insisting it contained "nothing new".
Mr Blair has set himself five key objectives for this weekend's European Union summit in Nice aimed to strengthen the UK's position in Europe.
His aims include more power for Britain through a substantial re-weighting of votes, a smaller and better organised European Commission and a more flexible Europe free from "hardcore" nations.
He has also vowed to safeguard Britain's veto on crucial issues such as taxation and social security spending.
A Foreign Office spokeswoman said many of the proposals in the Italian-German submission were in line with the government's position.
Mr Blair had called for the creation of a second chamber for the EU Parliament back in October, she added.
However, the Italian-German submission also called for members to discuss making the EU's controversial new Charter of Fundamental Human Rights legally binding, a move British ministers have repeatedly discounted.
But Mr Maude said: "Tony Blair is happy to take Britain into an EU superstate but is doing so by stealth because he knows Labour's beliefs are at odds with those of the British people."
Friday, 26 November, 1999, 11:05 GMT
Summit backs Euro force
Jacques Chirac and the prime minister speaking in London
UK Prime Minister Tony Blair has emerged from an Anglo-French summit in London saying a "new era" has opened in the two countries' military relations. The prime minister said that the UK and French governments were keen for the rest of Europe to back their plans for a rapid reaction force, which could intervene speedily in local conflicts. The move to improve defence co-ordination follows the recent conflict in Kosovo where European countries were dependent on US aid to tackle an emergency in their own backyard. The two governments have strongly denied that strengthening Europe's defence capabilities will undermine Nato. Click here to read what BBC News Online users think of forging a common European defence policy. French government officials said they envisaged the rapid reaction force would consist of between 50,000 and 60,000 troops, up to 500 aircraft and 15 warships. Mr Blair said: "It is not about creating a single European army, it is not about attempting to supplant or compete with Nato." It was rather an attempt to strengthen what he called "military effectiveness".
'Effective action' He added that the move would aim to enable "Europe to act effectively where the Alliance [Nato] as a whole is not engaged".
Military transport is one of the key areas of the new co-operation Mr Blair said he hoped the rest of the EU would back the proposals at next month's summit in Helsinki.
Reacting to reports of American fears the Secretary General of Nato, George Robertson, said: "Those in America who are becoming nervous about some of the developments that are taking place are wrong. "Nothing that is being done in Europe at the present moment threatens the Alliance." The Anglo-French deal will also see the sharing of resources such as military transport, cookhouses and some training establishments.
Lessons of Kosovo Speaking ahead of the meeting UK Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon insisted that the US Government supported closer European integration on defence.
"US policy supports the development of a European security and defence identity," he said. "What we are working for is a more effective European contribution to Nato.
"We learned in Kosovo of the inability of European nations to get sufficient forces into the field sufficiently quickly. But Tory defence spokesman Iain Duncan Smith insisted that there was "a deep disquiet" in Washington about what was going on. "This whole deal plays to a French agenda which has been going for 40 years which is about dividing Nato," he said. "The whole point is that for the past 40 years Britain has acted very carefully to block any moves that could divide Nato artificially." Mr Duncan Smith said the US was worried about the development of "an EU-led force - let's call it a European army - eventually acting by default before Nato. In other word Nato not having a block on operations. "If that happens what you end up with is the arguments in America for them withdrawing from Nato getting stronger and stronger and then you then get the split and divide.
"At the end of the day this isn't going to improve the effectiveness one little bit."
Friday, October 15, 1999 Published at 12:41 GMT 13:41 UK
UK backs Euro 'super-cops'
Tony Blair also wants a common approach to asylum applications
UK Prime Minister Tony Blair is calling on European leaders to create a force of 'super-cops' to combat organised crime.
BBC Legal Affairs Correspondent Joshua Rozenberg: "Refugee organisations are worried" His proposal is being made at a European Union summit in Tampere, Finland, to discuss broadening the EU's remit on criminal justice and home affairs.
The UK Government believes the task force could complement the Europol intelligence gathering service, established last July, which is based in The Hague.
Home Secretary Jack Straw: "There has been a great increase in criminal activity" The aim would be for the task force to plan joint operations in separate countries to tackle drug trafficking, illegal immigration, paedophile rings and Internet crime.
Mr Blair believes that co-ordinated action is needed to harmonise the activities of the 120 different police forces who operate within the EU.
Foreign Secretary Robin Cook at the EU summit The proposed force has been backed by the head of the UK's National Crime Squad, Roy Penrose.
He said: "This task force would provide a much-needed network of senior professional officers within the EU to assess threats affecting more than one jurisdiction and to co-ordinate operations wherever necessary.
"We already collaborate with colleagues in other countries on a case-by-case basis but this task force would enable us to take a much more pro-active view."
The plan would involve setting up a European police training college, which the UK has offered to host at the existing police academy in Bramshill, Hampshire, or at the Scottish police college at Kincardine-on-Forth, Fife.
Robin Cook: "These are things we must tackle together" Mr Blair is also calling for a common approach to asylum seekers across the EU to prevent them "shopping around" between countries to find the most favourable treatment.
The English courts have ruled that France and Germany do not provide as much protection for asylum-seekers as the UK. Those countries allow asylum only to those whose lives are threatened by a foreign state.
The ruling stopped the UK sending refugees back to France and Germany, even though the EU's Dublin Convention says asylum-seekers must be processed in the country they first arrive in.
Ann Widdecombe: "We may have to recognise each other's asylum decisions" But the Conservatives warned against any move to require member states to recognise each other's asylum decisions.
Speaking on the BBC Radio 4's Today programme, shadow home secretary Ann Widdecombe said: "What that would mean is that anybody who got asylum in any other part of the EU would be able to come here permanently.
"When you consider the sheer numbers of people applying for asylum, not just in this country but right across the EU, if we all have to recognise each other's decisions that could actually have a very significant effect.
"We have to have total control of our own immigration rules and we must not be obliged to recognise somebody else's rules any more than we have to at the moment."
Monday, 20 November, 2000, 13:24 GMT
Troops pledged to new EU force
EU soldiers will work side-by-side in the new force
The UK is to provide one in five of the troops for Europe's new rapid reaction force. Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon has pledged to contribute 12,500 ground troops to the 60,000 strong force.
Mr Hoon made the commitment at a landmark meeting of EU defence ministers on Monday.
However, the plans have drawn criticism from the Conservative Party which argues the new force will undermine Nato and is another step towards the creation of a European superstate.
But arriving at the meeting, Mr Hoon said the force would not become a "standing European army".
This sounds and looks like a European army however much Mr Cook tries to deny it William Hague
He said the British army would remain under the total control of the British government and ministers would decide when and where troops were deployed.
Mr Hoon criticised the Tories for failing to support the force.
"It is extremely disappointing that what is a very sensible commonsense way of planing a European commitment is becoming subject to rather hysterical comment by Euro-sceptic elements of the Conservative Party, which dominate the party's reaction to almost any event."
Under the plans, the EU will have a total of 60,000 troops capable of being deployed at 60 days' notice by 2003.
The force is intended for military operations ranging from small-scale rescue missions and conflict prevention to the full-scale separation of warring parties.
Along with 12,500 troops, Mr Hoon has also pledged 18 warships and up to 72 combat aircraft to the force.
Germany and France are expected to provide roughly similar numbers with smaller EU countries contributing the remainder.
Robin Cook has attacked "lurid claims" over the European rapid reaction force
UK Foreign Secretary Robin Cook also attacked the Conservatives for using scare tactics in their opposition to the plans.
"The European Union is not going to take on collective defence, that is the job of Nato. The Atlantic alliance is not being undermined," he said.
But Tories say the rapid reaction force will create political structures that will weaken Nato and split the US from Europe.
Party leader William Hague said: "If it is a military force assembled exclusively by European countries, to be directed by the European Union, wearing arm badges that say they are for the European Union then what is it?
72 combat aircraft
"If it looks like an elephant and sounds like an elephant it is an elephant. And this sounds and looks like a European army however much Mr Cook tries to deny it."
"We think it is a threat to the future of Nato."
A cross-party group of former ministers have also joined in the criticism, urging "utmost caution" and calling the force "an openly political project".
'Nato alliance weakened'
The warnings come from Labour former defence secretary Lord Healey, Labour former foreign secretary Lord Owen, Tory former defence secretary Sir Malcolm Rifkind and Tory former foreign secretary Lord Carrington.
"Nato has guaranteed our security and kept the peace in Europe for more than 50 years," they write in a letter to The Daily Telegraph newspaper.
Lord Robertson says America will not oppose an EU Rapid Reaction Force
"Creating competing military structures will without question challenge and weaken this alliance."
And senior military figures have also voiced their concern.
General Sir Anthony Farrar-Hockley, the former commander-in-chief of allied forces in Northern Europe, said differences between armies would cause problems.
"Only two nations of any substance in Europe have all-professional, all-regular forces, that is France and Britain.
"You will have the problem of using wholly or largely conscript forces," he said.
But Nato secretary-general Lord Robertson has argued that a European force would produce "added capability" for Nato.
No country would give up its sovereignty to a rapid reaction force and it was "sensible" for the EU to carry more of a military burden within the alliance, he told BBC Radio 4's Today programme.
The EU's foreign policy chief Javier Solana also talked up the rapid reaction force which he said would add "a vital additional element to the union's ability to tackle any crisis".
No 'new commitment'
The Chief of Defence Staff General Sir Charles Guthrie said the force would strengthen Nato rather than make it weaker.
He said he did not believe that the decision would mean a "huge new commitment" for British military personnel.
Speaking for the Liberal Democrats Menzies Campbell said: "It makes nothing but good sense for the EU to acquire the ability to deal with crises such as Bosnia and Kosovo without having to rely on the Americans."
Last Updated: Friday, 28 November, 2003, 20:44 GMT
European defence 'deal' reached
The US fears the plans will undermine Nato's influence
Britain, France and Germany have reached an informal agreement on a joint defence arrangement for Europe. The three nations are about to present the proposals to their European Union partners, French and British diplomatic sources said.
The submission reportedly includes plans to structure defence co-operation and to create a European military headquarters.
Correspondents say the United States is likely to baulk at the accord.
Washington will probably be unhappy with any moves which it feels undermine Nato's influence over European security.
Defence 'is key'
But, speaking in Naples during a break in a meeting of the EU's 15 current and 10 future members, French Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin said it was crucial Europe forged ahead with plans for a common defence.
"This is a key issue. We can't have a Europe without defence," he told French state radio France-Info.
British officials confirmed that an agreement had been reached but emphasised that it was not a "formal solution".
Proposal for majority voting on foreign policy
National voting weights in the Council of Ministers
The number of commissioners
Mention of Christian heritage
Analysis: The EU wobbles
It would not appear on the official agenda but would be put to other delegates at dinner on Friday, they said.
The EU launched its first-ever peacekeeping operation, in Macedonia, in March.
It has also deployed troops under French command in the Democratic Republic of Congo and is working on plans to succeed Nato peacekeepers in Bosnia.
The US is said to be particularly upset at calls for a European defence headquarters.
But a British official has said that "any EU operations planning capability has to be compatible with Nato".
Britain has said its right to control its own defence policy is one of the "red lines" it will not allow the new EU constitution to cross.
It has reportedly also maintained that it envisages the European defence body will tackle missions Nato does not want to get involved in.
Possible UK veto
The EU countries are discussing a European constitution which is designed to bring it closer to citizens, and to streamline decision-making in the future enlarged union of 25 nations.
There is still disagreement over votes in the commission EU president Italy hopes to reach final agreement on the text this weekend, but analysts say this is highly optimistic.
On Friday, UK Foreign Secretary Jack Straw said the UK would reject the draft if it meant states would lose their veto over foreign policy.
Spanish Foreign Minister Ana Palacio, meanwhile, has said provisions in the text which dilute the voting power Spain and Poland won at the Nice summit three years ago are "unacceptable".
Dutch Minister for Europe Atzo Nicolai said small countries like his tried without success earlier this week to force heavyweights France and Germany to play by EU rules.
Under the draft constitution the number of voting commissioners will be held at 15 - meaning 10 countries would not have fully-fledged commissioners when the union expands.
The major disagreements are expected to be left for heads of state to resolve at a summit in Brussels on 12 and 13 December.
The ratification process is due to start in mid-2004. The constitution is expected to come into force in 2006 at the earliest.
Last Updated: Friday, 14 March, 2003, 13:40 GMT
Nato and EU sign accord
EU troops will replace Nato peacekeepers in Macedonia
The European Union has signed an agreement with Nato to allow the exchange of confidential information between the two organisations. The accord was signed by the Greek foreign minister George Papandreou - whose country holds the rotating EU presidency - and Nato secretary general George Robertson at a meeting of EU defence ministers in Athens.
The agreement, which comes after months of negotiation, means the Europeans will be able to use Nato's logistical and planning facilities.
It will also pave the way for the replacement of Nato peacekeepers by EU troops in Macedonia - in what will be the EU's first ever military operation.
Common foreign policy
The meeting is another step towards the EU goal of creating a common foreign and security policy.
Around 300 European peacekeeping troops are expected to be deployed in Macedonia later this month, which will be a critical moment in realising this goal.
The Iraq issue has divided Europe
According to the BBC's Richard Galpin in Athens, if enough progress is made in establishing the EU's military wing, it is possible it will also take over the much bigger Nato peacekeeping operation in Bosnia next year.
But the concept of a common foreign and security policy has been thrown into disarray by the Iraq crisis.
European member states are deeply divided on how to disarm Saddam Hussein's regime.
Following the signing of the agreement in Athens, the ministers are continuing talks outside the capital at Vouliagmeni, where they are expected to agree on the detail of the Macedonia deployment over the next two days.
The mission is due to be formally approved by EU foreign ministers next week.
Last Updated: Wednesday, 15 October, 2003, 13:35 GMT 14:35 UK
Nato launches rapid force
Nato is trying to shake off the Cold War era
Nato has formally launched its rapid response force, which is designed to take the alliance into a new era in its history. The 9,000-strong rapid force will be capable of deployment to troublespots anywhere in the world within five days.
Nato military chief General James Jones handed the colours of the new force to its first commander, British General Jack Deverell, at a ceremony at Nato HQ in the Netherlands.
"The creation of the initial Nato response force... is an important sign that the alliance is rapidly changing to meet the new threats of this new century," said General Jones.
Spain - 2,200 people, ships, aircraft, helicopters
France - 1,700
Germany - 1,100
United States - 300, ship and aircraft
Overall commander: British
Ground force commander: Turkish
Force for change
"The (force) will give the alliance the military capability to do what it could not do before - insert military forces into a deteriorating situation earlier in a crisis, with more speed, at greater ranges, with more sustainability than ever before."
The force is Nato's first to combine air, land and sea forces - and special operations troops - under a single commander.
The force represented "an unambiguous commitment of the alliance's intent to stay militarily relevant in a global context", the general said.
Nato, anxious to move on from its traditional Cold War structures, believes the new flexible and fast force will play a key role in the war against terrorism.
Czechs contribute chemical force
"The Nato Response Force is an important, innovative new military capability for Nato, and further evidence of Nato's on-going transformation to meet the new threats from global terrorism," said US ambassador to Nato Nicholas Burns.
The force will have 21,000 troops at its disposal by 2006.
Service personnel from different Nato countries will spend six months with the force in an international rota system.
Nato has already branched out of its traditional role by taking command of the Afghanistan peacekeeping force two months ago.
The response force will hold its first exercises next month in Turkey.
Last Updated: Friday, 27 February, 2004, 15:51 GMT
Nato sets date for big expansion
By Oana Lungescu
BBC correspondent in Brussels
Nato's eastward expansion continues to irritate Russia
Nato has confirmed it will formally admit seven more countries, all from the former communist bloc, on 2 April. The nations' flags will be raised next to those of the 19 existing members at a foreign ministers' meeting in Brussels, a spokesman told the BBC.
They are Bulgaria, Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia.
This is the biggest expansion in the history of Nato, which was created in 1949 to defend Western Europe against the Soviet Union.
Nato will admit the seven new members one month before the European Union includes 10 more countries.
Over a decade since the collapse of the Berlin Wall, most of the former communist nations will become members of the two big Western clubs this spring - except Romania and Bulgaria, which won't join the EU for another three years.
The official ceremony will take place at Nato headquarters in just over a month's time, attended by all 26 foreign ministers.
The ministers will then prepare the ground for a Nato summit at Istanbul in June, where alliance leaders will try to boost Nato's role in Afghanistan and prepare to hand over to the EU a long-standing mission in Bosnia.
It is a sign of how much both organisations have changed since the end of the Cold War and the beginning of the war on terror.
Nato's eastwards expansion has been spearheaded by the United States, which received strong support from the former communist nations in the wake of the 11 September attacks.
The new Nato members provided air bases and troops for operations in Afghanistan and Iraq and are currently being considered for new US forward bases.
But Nato expansion continues to irritate Russia, especially since it includes the three Baltic countries, formerly part of the Soviet Union.
This week Moscow accused Nato of spying on its military facilities by deploying Awacs reconnaissance jets over future members Latvia and Lithuania.
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