The Helsinki European Council invited
the Portuguese Presidency, together with the Secretary General/High Representative,
to carry forward work within the General Affairs Council on strengthening
the common European policy on security and defence, and to submit a first
progress report to the Lisbon European Council.
The Presidency, together with the Secretary
General/High Representative, have taken work forward on this subject as
a matter of priority. Following this first progress report, the Presidency
will present an overall report to the European Council in Feira, in line
with its remit from Helsinki.
The Council has adopted the decisions
establishing the three interim bodies identified in the Helsinki Report:
All these decisions apply as of 1 March
the interim political and security committee
the interim body of military representatives
of Member States' Chiefs of Defence,
the detachment of military experts from
Member States to the Council Secretariat to assist in the work on CESDP
and to form the nucleus of the future Military Staff. The decision on detachment
of military experts is accompanied by a decision setting out the rules
applicable to these experts.
The iPSC, which is a formation of
the Political Committee and works in close contacts with the Secretary
General/High Representative, has had its first meetings on 1, 3, 10 and
14 March 2000. It has started to deal with CFSP affairs on a day to day
basis and has begun preparing recommendations on the future functioning
of the CESDP.
The interim Military Body had its
first meeting on 7 March. Applications for the military experts to be seconded
by Member States to the Council Secretariat have been received. The head
of the military experts was appointed by the Secretary General/High Representative
on 8 March. The selection process of the other military experts is underway.
The Council has adopted the paper "Military
bodies in the European Union and the planning and conduct of EU-led operations"
as a basis for future work to be conducted by the interim military bodies
and other competent bodies.
With a view to the overall Presidency
progress report to Feira, work is progressing in Council, POCO and the
interim PSC on the basis of a Presidency paper, to define the appropriate
arrangements that, while respecting the Union's decision-making autonomy,
will allow non-EU European NATO members and the other countries who are
candidates for accession to the EU to contribute to EU military crisis
Consistent with their commitment to
transparency, the Political Directors of the EU Member States have met
with representatives from the candidate states for accession to the EU
in the framework of the political dialogue. Further meetings are envisaged
with non-EU European NATO members and the candidate states for accession
to the EU.
Also with a view to the overall Presidency
progress report to Feira, the Council, the POCO and the interim PSC have
held discussions on the basis of a Presidency paper on "EU-NATO relations".
The Secretary General/High Representative has intensified his informal
contacts with the Secretary-General of NATO in the framework set out by
Cologne and Helsinki. The Presidency looks forward to a further deepening
of these contacts before the Feira European Council, in order to facilitate
for Feira the preparation of proposals on principles for consultation with
NATO on military issues and recommendations on development of modalities
for EU/NATO relations.
EU Member States Defence Ministers met
informally in Sintra on 28 February to consider how to progress towards
the Headline Goal set at Helsinki. Ministers also welcomed the French-Netherlands
proposal for the development of a maritime headline goal. The Sintra meeting
contributed to the preparation of the deliberations of the General Affairs
Council of 20 March in which Defence Ministers participated. At the 20
March session, the Council identified the process for further elaborating
the Headline and capability Goals, with the aim of setting a more detailed
collective requirement against which indications of national contributions
reflecting the commitment of Member States could be considered, and the
need for a review mechanism. In addition, Member States would use existing
defence planning procedures, including, as appropriate, those available
in NATO and the Planning and Review Process (PARP) of the PfP. The Council
concluded that the "food for thought" paper on the "Elaboration of the
headline goal", including the timetable set out therein leading to a Capabilities
Pledging Conference to be convened by the end of 2000, constitutes a basis
for future work to be conducted by the competent bodies.
Work has been carried out in parallel
on the civilian track of crisis management. The Council has decided to
consider the establishment of a committee for civilian crisis management
and to continue to define its role and competencies along the lines described
in the paper "Establishment of a EU committee for civilian crisis management",
taking into account the comments of Member States, the Commission and the
Legal Services, as well as the first experiences of the co-ordinating mechanism,
with a view to reaching a decision on the establishment of such a committee
by or at Feira. A seminar on civilian crisis management will be held in
Lisbon on 3-4 April. The results of the seminar will also be fed into the
study on concrete targets for EU Member States collective non-military
response to international crises.
The Council welcomed the steps taken
by the Secretary General/High Representative to set up a co-ordinating
mechanism for civilian crisis management at the Council Secretariat, which
is closely interacting with the Commission, as provided for in the Helsinki
conclusions. As a first priority, a preliminary database on Member State
civil police capabilities has been established. The Presidency recalls
in this context its intention to hold a seminar in May concerning the training
of civilian police to support international peace keeping operations. The
Council welcomed the setting up by the Secretary General/High Representative
of an interim Situation Centre/Crisis Cell at the Council Secretariat,
which will provide support for EU crisis management. The Council noted
that the Commission is preparing a proposal for the setting up of a Rapid