|WEU and the Forthcoming NATO Summit |
WEU and the Forthcoming NATO Summit
Paris -- March 16, 1999 (WEU) -- On Tuesday, in Paris, the Standing Committee of the WEU Assembly supported concrete decisions being taken to strengthen the European Security and Defence Identity (ESDI) before the forthcoming NATO Summit.
In a report submitted on behalf of the Defence Committee, Mr Tom Cox (Labour, United Kingdom) took the view that the framework agreement between WEU and NATO should be finalised in time for the Washington Summit, must "preserve WEU's decision-making autonomy and its unified chain of command" and define a procedure, approved by both organisations, for NATO "to monitor the use of its assets and possibly to recall them before the end of the WEU-led operation". He maintained that "the existence of such a framework agreement does have political implications, in that it would clearly mark NATO's commitment to supporting WEU ... and would protect WEU against any last-minute demands on the part of NATO which could threaten its autonomy ...".
On the basis of the report, the Standing Committee adopted a sequence of recommendations addressed to the WEU Council of Ministers, calculated to give the European Union the "capacity for autonomous action" called for in the Saint Malo Franco-British Declaration. Among the practical measures envisaged is that NATO appoint a European General Deputy SACEUR at SHAPE - as a second deputy to the American SACEUR - in sole charge of the European military pillar of NATO.
The Committee also recommended that the framework agreement on the use of NATO assets by WEU be rapidly finalised and efforts made to convince the allies "that the use of NATO assets and capabilities ... [once] ... made available to WEU cannot be controlled by the NATO Council...".