Mr Wim Van Eekelen (Netherlands)
18 April 2000
* Until this document has been approved by the Defence and Security Committee, it represents only the views of the Rapporteur.
2. In general, the development of ESDP has been viewed positively. The six European members of NATO outside the EU have voiced concern that they not be excluded, but most of them hope one day to become EU members, so their current position should be short-lived. The United States, which for decades has pressured the European allies to bear a greater share of the burden of European defence, has generally responded positively, while expressing significant concerns about some aspects of the process. And while some of the members of both organisations are cautious about other allies using ESDP to weaken the transatlantic relationship, they all have embraced the idea as one whose time has come.
3. As a result, there are two similar processes going forward simultaneously. The first is the effort by NATO to further develop its European Security and Defence Identity, comprising the 17 European members of the Alliance. The second is the proposal by the European Union to develop a European Security and Defence Policy for its 15 members, 11 of which are members of NATO. This document will use the term ESDI to refer to the "European pillar" of NATO, and ESDP to refer to the budding arrangements within the European Union, previously known as the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP).
B. ESDI WITHIN NATO4. At NATO's 1996 Berlin Summit, the Alliance declared it intended to "build a European Security and Defence Identity within the Alliance," whose purpose was to "enable all European Allies to make a more coherent and effective contribution to the missions and activities of the Alliance" and "to act themselves as required." Toward these ends the Alliance announced that the Combined Joint Task Force (CJTF) concept would be the mechanism to facilitate the use by European coalitions of the willing of "separate but not separable" NATO capabilities in operations other than those envisioned in Article 5 of the Washington Treaty. The creation of CJTF was a direct response to the new roles and missions outlined in NATO's 1991 Strategic Concept.
5. NATO has shown its willingness to lend assets (including planning capabilities and the Deputy SACEUR as a commander) for European-led crisis management operations when the Alliance as a whole does not wish to become involved. During the Berlin Summit, ministers agreed to allow the Deputy SACEUR, the senior European officer in NATO, to wear a second hat as the senior WEU commander. This helped ensure that ESDI was constructed within, not outside, the structure of the transatlantic alliance. However, the reference to WEU-led operations did not specify how political guidance would be given to the WEU commander.
6. At the April 1999 Washington Summit, the Allies restated their commitment to develop ESDI within NATO, noting that "This process will require close co-operation between NATO, the WEU, and if and when appropriate, the European Union."WEU." The WEU members stated that their forces, acting under the authority of the WEU, would be made available for a variety of missions outside the common defence called for in Article 5 of both the Washington Treaty that founded NATO and the Modified Brussels Treaty that created the WEU. These "Petersberg tasks" were defined as:
8. At the same time, the European Union in the 1990s took practical steps to strengthen its foreign policy apparatus and strengthen its embryonic CFSP. The Amsterdam Treaty introduced majority voting for decisions concerning the implementation of agreed policies; a procedure for "constructive abstention"; a central policy planning unit to enable EU foreign ministers to develop common analyses; and the post of "High Representative for CFSP" (known by the French acronym as "Monsieur Pesc") to act as EU spokesman and interlocutor in foreign and security policy.
9. The December 1998 joint declaration of British Prime Minister Tony Blair and French President Jacques Chirac in St Malo, France, was particularly significant. The two leaders agreed that "the Union must have the capacity for autonomous action, backed up by credible military forces, the means to decide to use them and a readiness to do so, in order to respond to international crises". They committed themselves to this task "acting in conformity with our respective obligations in NATO... contributing to the vitality of a modernised Atlantic Alliance which is the foundation of the collective defence of its members". Although it emphasised a continued commitment to NATO, the St Malo declaration left also open the possibility of European military action outside the framework of the Alliance.
10. At the June 1999 EU Summit in Cologne, the EU took a historic step toward establishing its own military capabilities. Even though the Cologne Declaration was only an interim one, it marked a fundamental change of direction. The European Council made it clear that the integration of the WEU into the EU institutional framework was not necessary, despite the fact that it was foreseen in the Amsterdam Treaty; rather, those functions that the WEU assumed in the field of Petersberg tasks would be included in the EU. As a result, the European Council decided to set up several committees and decision-making structures in parallel to the WEU.
11. At its December 1999 summit in Helsinki, the European Council set a concrete military "headline goal" for its 15 members:
"by the year 2003, co-operating together voluntarily, Member States will be able to deploy within 60 days and then sustain forces capable of the full range of Petersberg tasks as set out in the Amsterdam Treaty, including the most demanding, in operations up to corps level (up to 15 brigades or 50,000-60,000 persons). These forces should be militarily self-sustaining with the necessary command, control and intelligence capabilities, logistics, other combat support services and additionally, as appropriate, air and naval elements. They must be able to sustain such a deployment for at least one year. This will require an additional pool of deployable units (and supporting elements) at lower readiness to provide replacements for the initial forces."
12. On March 1, 2000, the EU established, on an interim basis:
13. The Council will examine the establishment of a committee for civilian crisis management, in view of reaching a decision at the Feira Summit later this spring, and it approved the creation of a co-ordinating mechanism for civilian crisis management to work with the European Commission. A preliminary database on member states' civil police capabilities has been established.
14. This report will examine how the European Union countries might proceed toward achieving this headline goal, including an examination of the capabilities needed, possible command structures, the role of the WEU, and co-operation with NATO. As ESDP is a rapidly changing process, this interim spring report will set out some of the issues that must be addressed by the EU and NATO. The final report in the autumn will look more closely at what has been accomplished by the EU and its members in 2000.
A. NATO PARLIAMENTARY ASSEMBLY ESDI RESOLUTION15. At its November 1999 session in Amsterdam, the NATO Parliamentary Assembly approved a resolution that sets out Assembly policy on ESDI. That text was clear in its emphasis that a successful ESDI depends upon the European allies developing the capabilities needed to fulfil NATO's 1999 Strategic Concept. Welcoming the steps that the EU had taken toward developing its European Security and Defence Policy, the Assembly called for close co-operation between the EU and NATO. In particular, the Assembly called for:
17. Unfortunately, the construction of the "three D's" focused on negatives --- eventualities that should not occur --- rather than the positive developments that must be achieved. As a result, NATO Secretary General George Robertson, speaking at the Assembly's November 1999 plenary session in Amsterdam, cast the issue in terms of the "three I's": indivisibility of the transatlantic link, improvement of capabilities, and inclusiveness of all Allies.
18. The secretary general's formulation is at the heart of what ESDP is all about. First, it should not be seen as a challenge to NATO or an effort to undermine the transatlantic link. The United States and Canada are faithful allies and essential contributors to European security. Their commitment to the common defence of the Alliance, as enshrined in Article 5 of the Washington Treaty, is unquestioned, and their participation in crisis management operations is welcome whenever it is forthcoming.
19. ESDP, however, is about improving European capabilities so that European countries can undertake a greater share of the responsibility for European security. Politically, this is not an easy task. It will require governments and parliaments to appropriate enough money for defence in their annual budgets, at the expense of more popular options like tax cuts or social programmes. It will require defence ministries to redirect their defence resources, sometimes at the expense of communities that have grown to rely on bases or defence industries. And it will require new, innovative ways of thinking that challenge old, established ways of doing business.
20. Finally, ESDP must allow all European allies to join in common actions. Certainly, it is a project that has been given new life and momentum thanks to the European Union, and the EU should remain at the forefront of this effort. But ESDP cannot exclude the six European allies that are not EU members. The Czech Republic, Hungary, Iceland, Norway, Poland and Turkey all have undertaken the solemn commitment contained in Article 5 to come to the aid of another ally whose security is threatened. They deserve no less than a seat at the table when European security issues are being discussed. The Western European Union developed a sound mechanism for ensuring that all members of the EU and NATO would have a seat through its system of associate members (non-EU NATO members), observers (non-NATO EU members plus Denmark), and associate partners (future EU members). These meetings should be continued in whatever forum the EU may develop to run its ESDP.
21. The "three I's" construction also helps avoid the difficult question of what constitutes "unnecessary" duplication. While this sentiment is laudable, it also neglects the real need that the European Union has to develop its own institutions to implement its ESDP. There cannot be a European Security and Defence Policy without a professional staff to evaluate threats and crises and plan for contingencies. The member countries of the EU cannot be expected to decide how to manage a crisis without having an assessment of that crisis and a range of options from which to choose. The creation of a policy unit in the office of the high representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy, Javier Solana, is a good first step. However, this unit should not be allowed to evolve into an unwieldy bureaucracy, and it should draw liberally on the knowledge and abilities already existing on the staff of the Western European Union.
22. That being said, it is important that the development of ESDP not create excessive duplication in capabilities between NATO and the EU. It is essential that the two institutions institute regular contacts between them at all levels so that Mr Solana's staff at the EU can develop the institutions needed for ESDP with full knowledge of the capabilities that are available at NATO. The artificial "Brussels Wall" that has been erected at the EU to block contacts with NATO must be torn down to enable full transparency and co-operation between the two institutions that will play the leading roles in European security.
24. Actual personnel numbers could be much greater, depending on the length of rotations and the ultimate duration of the mission. For example, if troops were expected to serve for six months before rotating out, a one-year deployment would require 100,000 to 120,000 troops to be available, with half ready to deploy and the other half available to prepare for deployment. However, such an organisational structure would require withdrawal of forces after 12 months. While this is what the headline goal calls for, a firm withdrawal date would restrict political flexibility in managing a crisis, because an adversary would be able to wait out the EU. In order to sustain a mission indefinitely, EU members would need, at a minimum, three times the number of forces deployed --- one group of forces training for deployment, another deployed, and another recovering after deployment. In other words, fulfilling the headline goal may require as many as 150,000 to 180,000 ground troops that can be deployed, plus adequate numbers of sailors and airmen to sustain maritime and air deployments. Other experts have even suggested a 4:1 ratio.
25. When speaking about the state of European forces, an official at one ally's delegation to NATO stated, "They can deploy, but they cannot sustain." With 2 million men and women in uniform, Europe has no shortage of military personnel. Analysts say the problem is not so much in deploying troops, it is in supplying the logistical support needed to keep an operation going in the field. An important question to answer is exactly what capabilities are needed to fulfil the headline goal --- to identify specific assets needed, examine what the European allies already possess, and how they might go about obtaining what they lack.
26. At the same time, the EU is at its most effective when it integrates political, economic and civilian assistance. ESDP would allow it to add military capabilities to this package, but the emphasis in crisis management should be on integrating all of these areas.
27. For the time being, the EU has proved its ability to carry out low-end tasks as far as Petersberg tasks are concerned. Operation Alba which was undertaken in 1997 to restore order in Albania and help with the delivery of humanitarian assistance is an example, albeit one conducted as a coalition of the willing under Italian leadership. In a mid-level intervention, the Bosnia and Kosovo interventions show that the Europeans are able to project forces without major problems. However, in areas like transportation, communications, strategic lift, and intelligence, the European allies will have to decide whether they will acquire their own capabilities or seek to inherit the co-operative arrangements with NATO that have been negotiated by the WEU.
28. The first joint WEU/NATO crisis management exercise (CMX/CRISEX 2000) held in February 2000 was designed to test all the detailed joint work undertaken since Berlin. The fictitious scenario on which the CRISEX exercise was based entailed a crisis situation in an island laid waste by ethnic clashes, with the result that tens of thousands of persons are displaced; a UN resolution calling for aid; the NATO decision to support WEU with its own means; and the NATO and WEU decision to entrust the command of the operation to DSACEUR (Deputy SACEUR).
29. This interim spring report will focus on identifying the key questions relating to achievement of the headline goal. The visits to the United Kingdom and France, two of the leading countries in developing ESDP, will provide some of the answers, as will further research and discussions with officials at NATO, the WEU, and the EU. ESDP remains an extremely fluid concept, one that will be fleshed out further as the year goes on.
31. Germany: In 1997, Germany took the unprecedented step of deploying a sizeable contingent of combat troops to the former Yugoslavia as part of SFOR. Roughly 2,500 German forces are serving there, and Germany has committed around 6,000 persons to KFOR. While Germany plans a 56,000-strong Crisis Reaction Force, it currently only counts about 10,000 personnel in its reaction forces. One airborne unit in southern Germany is fully capable of deploying out-of-area, and some other units are maintained at high readiness. Other units assigned to the reaction forces contain up to 30% conscripts, who cannot be deployed outside the country, so their readiness is lower. German defence planners are working to improve the mobility of their forces, focusing on transport aircraft and helicopters. Plans ultimately call for six combat aircraft squadrons, six manoeuvre brigades, and a naval contingent, but only three brigades today are pledged to NATO's main reaction force, the ACE Rapid Reaction Corps (ARRC).
32. United Kingdom: In 1998 the British SFOR contingent numbered some 5,000 ground troops, second in size only to the US contribution. A nuclear state with significant power projection capabilities, the United Kingdom has more than 25,000 forces stationed abroad. The recent Strategic Defence Review directed changes designed to make British military forces more deployable, sustainable and flexible. As part of the SDR, the United Kingdom is developing Joint Rapid Reaction Forces, which will comprise all high-readiness forces across all services, including 77,000 army troops. The United Kingdom provides most of the logistical and administrative support to the ARRC, as well as the largest share of its combat forces. In addition, British forces make up a sizeable part of the maritime and air components of NATO reaction forces, including 16 surface combatants and more than 100 combat aircraft.
33. France: France carries an important share of the burden of defending Western interests, and maintains substantial defence spending levels. France makes noteworthy contributions to international peacekeeping, and has committed 2,500 troops to SFOR missions --- the third largest contingent after the US and the UK as well as more than 5,000 to KFOR. French Reaction Forces are among the largest of any Western nation. These include the Force d'Action Rapide, which comprises one airmobile, one parachute and two light armoured divisions, and the Force d'Action Navale, which includes a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, 9 surface combatants and several nuclear attack submarines and replenishment auxiliaries.
34. Italy: Italy's NATO missions include its commitment of 2,000 military personnel to SFOR. Its KFOR contingent is 4,500 personnel, one of the largest, with a full complement of tanks, armoured vehicles, and helicopters.
35. Your Rapporteur will continue his research into the capabilities that the other allies possess and report his findings in the final report this autumn.NATO's International Military Staff to be sufficient overall, European armed forces face shortcomings in satellite capabilities, strategic mobility and command and communications systems. The WEU found, in light of the Kosovo conflict, that European forces lack the capacity to carry out complex operations independently on a sustained basis, pointing to shortfalls in lift and refuelling capacity, in addition to lacking appropriate weapons systems. However, there may be less costly ways to gain access to some of these capabilities, such as using unmanned aerial vehicles or civilian satellite capabilities for intelligence in peace support operations.
37. At the recent EU defence ministers gathering in Portugal, it was announced that a Force Generation Conference will be held in November 2000, during the French presidency of the EU. That conference would identify all the capabilities needed to handle EU-led operations and which EU members are willing to provide which capabilities. The interim military body has been mandated to provide a detailed definition of the force. However, there is already a divergence of opinion on the role of NATO, with the United Kingdom believing that the NATO planning system should remain pre-eminent while France has called for a sizeable EU planning staff.
38. Several documents submitted to the Lisbon European Council will provide some guidance to the Force Generation Conference, namely "Strengthening the Common European Security and Defence Policy" and "Elaboration of the Headline Goal: 'Food for Thought'" as well as the WEU audit recommendations. This last document pinpoints the areas where efforts should be concentrated on, notably:
39. Your Rapporteur intends to continue his research for the autumn report on the specific capabilities that need to be procured by the EU members if they are to reach the headline goal.EU member states this year. As is discussed at greater length in the report by Mr Paul Helminger for the Economic Committee, European defence budgets have been declining or static for the past decade. Developing the capabilities needed to meet the headline goal will require, at least, that European countries spend their defence budgets more effectively, and greater efforts toward interoperability and standardisation in European defence equipment in the future should produce some efficiencies. However, in the near term, ESDP most likely will require increases in defence spending. Whether the governments that so eagerly are pursuing ESDP will be willing to pay for it remains to be seen.
41. A larger challenge is that of a political framework for ESDP. If the headline goal force is developed, who will decide when it is deployed, who will give political guidance to that deployment, and who will exercise legislative oversight? NATO's air operation in Kosovo was plagued by difficulties in co-ordinating civilian oversight of a military mission. It is unclear how the EU, starting from scratch in its security policy, will avoid the difficulties that NATO experienced in this area.
42. With most capabilities to be procured at the national level, the ESDP will encounter many of the same problems that confront NATO, even after 50 years of defence co-operation. Three problems are at the fore: