Ministers had an exchange of views on the question of
European security and defence in light of the entry into force of the Amsterdam Treaty, of
the reflections launched since the Rome Declaration in WEU and following the St.
Malo Declaration in the EU, including the Vienna European Council conclusions, and
of NATO's Washington Summit. They looked forward to the decisions to be taken in this
regard by the European Council in Cologne.
Ministers stressed the importance of
continuing to develop European security and defence. This development will serve the
interests of all WEU nations. In this context they welcomed the informal reflection
mandated in Rome and held at meetings of directors for security policy from Foreign and
Defence Ministries which had confirmed:
- the willingness of European nations to strengthen
European operational capabilities for Petersberg tasks based on appropriate
decision-making bodies and effective military means, within NATO or national and
multinational means outside the NATO framework;
- their wish to further develop these structures and
capabilities in complementarity with the Atlantic Alliance whilst avoiding unnecessary
- the need for WEU to be operationally effective with
the involvement and participation of all WEU nations in accordance with their status and
to continue its cooperation with the EU and NATO, in preparation for any new arrangements
which may be agreed in light of ongoing developments.
Ministers decided that the informal reflection should
be pursued on this basis.
Ministers took note of the oral report of the
Presidency Defence Minister on the informal meeting of EU and European NATO Defence
Ministers in Bremen. They welcomed the determination expressed on this occasion to
contribute to the development of an effective European defence and security policy and the
capability for European crisis management in the scope of Petersberg tasks.
Ministers welcomed the report of the Presidency on
the audit of assets and capabilities available for European operations inter alia on the
basis of the Special Report prepared in NATO. They asked the Permanent Council to continue
the evaluation of the first results contained in the Report. They requested the Permanent
Council to carry out phase two of the audit, on the basis of modalities proposed by the
Presidency. This shall, in addition to multinational forces, also cover the identification
and evaluation of relevant national forces and force capabilities. The results shall be
presented to the next Ministerial meeting in Luxembourg.
The findings of this audit should help to identify
what changes need to be made to ensure that WEU's operational instruments (Military Staff,
Military Committee, Satellite Centre etc) can make a more effective contribution to the
mounting of crisis-management missions within the EU framework.
They should also assist nations in identifying areas
where national and multinational capabilities need to be strengthened in order to make the
conduct of Petersberg operations more effective.