Ministers for Foreign Affairs and Defence
of the WEU nations met in Porto on 15-16 May. The WEU Council of Ministers
was preceded by a meeting of the Defence Ministers of the 13 members of
the Western European Armaments Group with the participation of their colleagues
from Austria, Finland and Sweden and also, for the first time, from the
Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland.
Ministers welcomed the progress made
by the European Union in carrying forward the decisions of the Cologne
and Helsinki European Councils to strengthen European security and defence.
They welcomed NATO's work on the further implementation of the NATO Washington
Summit decisions concerning ESDI in order to reinforce the European pillar
of the Alliance. They expressed the conviction that these developments
will contribute to reinforcing the Euro-Atlantic partnership.
They looked forward to the further
steps to be taken at the Feira European Council which will strengthen the
common European security and defence policy, inter alia, by:
further work on the process of elaborating
the headline goal. They recalled with satisfaction that the European NATO
members who are not EU Member States and other countries who are candidates
for accession to the European Union will be invited to contribute to this
improvement of European military capabilities;
proposals on appropriate arrangements
that, while respecting the EU's decision-making autonomy, will allow these
same countries to contribute to EU military crisis management;
proposals on principles for EU-NATO
consultation on military issues and recommendations on the development
of modalities for EU-NATO relations, to permit cooperation on the appropriate
military response to a crisis, as set out in Washington and at Cologne;
the further development of the non-military
crisis management track.
In this context, Ministers
also recalled the informal reflection on security and defence in Europe
which WEU had undertaken over the past eighteen months which had demonstrated
a common willingness to develop satisfactory arrangements that serve the
interests of all WEU nations.
Ministers agreed that WEU stood ready
to support, as required, the development of the functions identified by
the EU as being necessary to fulfil its new responsibilities in the field
of the Petersberg tasks. They recognised that the fulfilment by the EU
of these new responsibilities would have profound repercussions for WEU
as an Organization. They acknowledged that, in the coming months, relevant
decisions need to be taken on WEU's future role, and tasked the Permanent
Council to examine the wide range of measures that would need to be taken
at the appropriate time within WEU, in accordance with developments in
In this context :
They noted that, by their next meeting,
a report/transition plan by the Military Committee will draw the consequences
for the WEU Military Staff's activities from these developments;
They underlined that WEU remains ready
to make available to the European Union if it so wishes the WEU Satellite
Centre and Institute for Security Studies. Consideration would need to
be given in due time to the future of these bodies;
They acknowledged the competence and
dedication of WEU's international staff and their most valuable contribution
to the work of the Organization. Ministers expressed their commitment to
do their utmost to contribute to finding appropriate solutions which take
into account the professional expertise and the legitimate expectations
of the WEU staff and tasked the Secretary-General to make proposals to
the Permanent Council to this effect.
Ministers welcomed the steps taken during
the Portuguese Presidency of WEU to prepare the legacy of the valuable
experience which WEU is able to offer in the field of crisis management.
They also welcomed the arrangements put in place, in implementation of
the decisions at the Luxembourg Ministerial meeting, to allow the bodies
of the EU Council direct access, as required, to the expertise of the Organisation's
operational structures and to WEU's work and analyses.
Ministers particularly welcomed the
key achievements during the Portuguese Presidency:
the first-ever WEU/NATO Joint Crisis
Management Exercise CMX/CRISEX 2000 held from 17 to 23 February with the
participation of 30 nations and with observation by EU staffs as well as
other Organizations and nations. The Exercise provided an important test
of ESDI-related concepts and arrangements developed since NATO's 1996 Berlin
Ministerial for handling WEU-led operations making use of NATO assets and
capabilities, such as the WEU/NATO consultation arrangements and framework
document. Ministers also welcomed the report presented by the Presidency
and approved by WEU nations on this Exercise, which contributes to draw
useful lessons regarding the practicalities of WEU/NATO interaction for
a WEU-led operation using NATO assets and capabilities;
the transmission to the European Union,
for whatever use the EU may consider appropriate, of a package of WEU politico-military
concepts. This package reflects a part of the legacy of a decade of experience,
which WEU is able to transmit to the EU in the field of crisis management;
the continuation of the informal reflection
on security and defence in Europe through the seminar held on 27 January
involving Directors for Security Policy from Foreign and Defence Ministries,
and the transmission of the Presidency's written report to the EU;
the WEU-EU workshop held on 11 April
addressing the politico-military issues associated with the various phases
of a possible European-led humanitarian mission, which allowed the presentation
and explanation of many relevant aspects of the experience acquired by
the organisation by the Presidency of
the Mediterranean Seminar on Conflict Prevention held on 14 and 15 February
and the subsequent preparation and separate transmission to the EU of the
elements for a reflection on the WEU contribution to the Barcelona Process.
This document reflects the work done in the context of the WEU Mediterranean
dialogue and aims at contributing to overall thinking in the EU on Mediterranean
the preparation and the separate transmission
to the EU of the Document on WEU's experience on African Peacekeeping,
which includes a chronology of activities, an assessment, and the appropriate
lessons learned concerning the potential role of a European multinational
organisation in this field.
Concerning WEU operations, Ministers
expressed their satisfaction with:
the work of the extended Multinational
Advisory Police Element (MAPEXT) and considered it an effective contribution
to the establishment of a viable police force in Albania according to European
norms. They welcomed the intention by the EU to extend further the mission
under its present mandate until 31 December 2000 and requested the Permanent
Council to take the necessary decisions as appropriate;
the extension of the Western European
Union Demining Assistance Mission to the Republic of Croatia (WEUDAM) mandate
for one year, until 9 May 2001, and expressed their appreciation for Sweden's
leading role in this mission, conducted by WEU at the request of the EU.
In this connection, Ministers welcomed the EU's intention to support the
WEUDAM/CROMAC request for a Geographic Information System on Croatia to
be executed by the WEU Satellite Centre.
Ministers noted the WEU Exercise Programme
and, in this context, welcomed the preparation of a Joint WEU/NATO Exercise
Study, to take place in the Netherlands in June 2001, which aims at enhancing
interoperability and developing joint WEU-NATO procedures for establishing
and operating an OHQ in the context of a WEU-led CJTF-related operation
using NATO assets and capabilities.
Ministers noted with interest the report
by the Presidency on the Military Committee meeting held in Lisbon on 13
and 14 April. They welcomed the approval of the WEU Host Nation Support
Concept and the Standing Operating Procedures (SOPs) for WEU fact finding
missions and civil-military co-operation.
Ministers welcomed the approval of the
WEU framework for drafting a document on the status of forces to be used
in the event of WEU operations, which does not impose a model for such
arrangements but provides a useful framework to assist and guide case-by-case
decisions. They noted its transmission to the EU.
Concerning the possible WEU participation
in a developing multinational European programme in the satellite field,
Ministers noted the progress report on the mid-term concept for improving
access to satellite imagery. In this context, Ministers welcomed WEU's
intensified relations with the European Union in space-related work during
the Portuguese Presidency. They noted the approval of the Rules of Application
of the MOU on supply of Helios products to WEU.
Ministers welcomed the organisation
by the Italian and British authorities of the visits of the WEU Permanent
Council to the HQs of EUROFOR and the ARRC respectively. They provided
timely opportunities to assess the co-operation and ability of forces of
European countries to function at a joint level.
Ministers welcomed the forthcoming EOLO
2000 Exercise that will test a Peace Support Operation under the control
of a combined joint HQ, deploying significant air, sea and land forces
(over 12,000 troops), from the four EUROFOR/EUROMARFOR countries, plus
Greece and Turkey for the naval part, aiming at improving operational readiness
including interoperability of systems and procedures.
They noted the ongoing efforts of
EUROFOR participating States to strengthen EUROFOR capabilities and welcomed
the fact that the force is operational.
Ministers welcomed the measures adopted
at the end of 1999 by the five Eurocorps member nations within the framework
of implementation of the Cologne decision to adapt the Eurocorps, and in
particular its Headquarters, to the new strategic environment and to develop
it into a European rapid reaction corps available for actions by the European
Union and the Atlantic Alliance. Ministers welcomed the possibility offered
to their European partners by the five Eurocorps nations to take part in
Eurocorps activities and possible operations, and also to place liaison
officers in the Eurocorps Headquarters at Strasbourg.
They welcomed the commitment of
the Headquarters of this large European multinational unit as the nucleus
for the KFOR III Headquarters. This commitment demonstrates that implementation
of the decisions taken by the European Union at Cologne and Helsinki, with
regard to the strengthening of European defence capabilities, is contributing
to the credibility of the European security and defence policy and the
vitality of the Atlantic Alliance.
Ministers reiterated the importance
they attached to the dialogue and co-operation which WEU has developed
with the Russian Federation over recent years. Recalling Ukraine's significance
as an important European partner, they also highlighted WEU's dialogue
and co-operation with Ukraine which has notably been pursued through the
Action Plan agreed last June.
Ministers welcomed the ratification
by Ukraine of the Open Skies Treaty. They called on Russia and Belarus
to ratify the Open Skies Treaty without delay. They encouraged the continuation
of the initiatives taken in this respect by the WEU nations.
Ministers welcomed the ratification
by the Russian Federation of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty and START
Ministers expressed their concern regarding
human rights violations in the Chechen Republic of the Russian Federation
and underlined the urgency of a satisfactory response to these concerns.
Ministers welcomed the progress made
by Croatia on the road to democracy and in meeting its international obligations,
particularly under the Dayton and Paris Agreements.
Ministers reiterated the necessity for
real progress towards democracy and respect for human rights and fundamental
freedoms in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.
Ministers took note with appreciation
of the ongoing dialogue between Cyprus* and WEU that evolves in line with
the development of Cyprus's* links with the European Union, with which
negotiations for accession are continuing.
Ministers thanked the French Chair of
the Transatlantic Forum for the successful development of its programme.
Ministers noted the initial steps undertaken
by the OSCE in order to implement the decisions taken at its Istanbul Summit
last November, including its Platform for Co-operative Security. They welcomed
in particular developments towards the realization of the REACT concept,
"Rapid Experts Assistance and Co-operation Teams", and the increase of
students and graduates of the OSCE Kosovo Police Service School. They agreed
that, based upon the outcome of a recently held OSCE seminar on small arms
and light weapons in Vienna, the OSCE was well placed to continue efforts
for the elaboration and adoption this autumn, of a comprehensive document
on small arms and light weapons to combat the illicit trafficking and the
destabilising accumulation and spread of these weapons.
Ministers welcomed the election of Mr.
Klaus Bühler as President of the WEU Assembly and paid tribute to
the work of the outgoing President Lluis Maria de Puig. Ministers acknowledged
the substantial contribution of the WEU Assembly to the debate on European
security and defence. In this context, they noted its recent Lisbon Initiative.
Ministers welcomed the statement presented
by France on the programme for its forthcoming Presidency of WEU.
WEAG Defence Ministers held a special
meeting on 15 May primarily to further discuss the issue of the future
of WEAG and WEAO in the evolving European security architecture, as they
had decided to do at their meeting in Luxembourg in November last year.
As a result of the WEAG Ministers' agreement
in Luxembourg to extend participation in WEAG activities to the Czech Republic,
Hungary and Poland, their meeting on 15 May was attended by Ministers from
19 nations. In this context Ministers warmly welcomed their colleagues
from the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland, who were attending a WEAG
Ministerial for the first time.
Ministers noted the statements by Austria
and Finland presenting their applications for full membership of WEAG and
tasked NADs to implement the related procedures which they had agreed at
their meeting in Luxembourg.
Ministers had a fruitful exchange of
views on the issue of the future of WEAG and WEAO, aiming to provide guidance
for the conduct of further studies. They endorsed the NADs' proposals on
the way ahead and:
confirmed that WEAG and WEAO have a
role to play in the evolution of European armaments policy;
decided to maintain WEAG as well as
WEAO in their present form, for the time being, continuing to make use
of the provisions of the Modified Brussels Treaty and the associated Paris
tasked NADs to commence work on examining
the practical issues necessary to assure the immediate future of WEAG and
WEAO, consulting with other bodies as necessary, and to provide them with
an initial report at their next meeting together with a phased work plan
for further in-depth studies on the long term future of WEAG and WEAO including
their constructive role in and contribution to European armaments policy,
aimed at maximising armaments cooperation and minimising costs. The issues
to be studied should include, inter alia, aims, functions and organisation
taking into account the political and institutional framework for future
European armaments cooperation. The work plan should be a flexible one
and should describe a step-by-step approach. Following the initial report
in Autumn 2000, the phased work plan would be structured towards making
a final report in Autumn 2001.
Ministers also signed amendments to
the various MoUs governing R&T cooperation under WEAG and WEAO in order
to make them more workable and flexible, and to facilitate participation
in R&T projects.
Finally, Ministers took note of the
work accomplished on the establishment of the planned European Armaments
Agency, which is developing in accordance with the Masterplan.
The WEU Council (members of WEAG) adopted
the conclusions of the WEAG Defence Ministers.