|A Plan for Action for the Gradual Integration of WEU into the EU |
A Plan for Action for the Gradual Integration of WEU into the EU
Paris -- March 16, 1999 (WEU) -- On Tuesday, the Standing Committee of the Assembly of WEU, meeting in Paris, adopted a "plan for action" advocating WEU's "gradual integration" into the European Union in order to arrive at a common European defence maintaining "the corresponding links with NATO.
This plan for action, which the Assembly of WEU is proposing to all the member countries of WEU, the EU and NATO, meets the "requirement" of building a European defence able to make good Europe's shortcomings in the crises in Bosnia, Albania and Kosovo. According to the Standing Committee "this situation cannot continue". It considers that "the weakness shown by European countries is largely the result of governments having come to depend wholly on the security guarantees provided by the United States, through NATO in particular". The text adopted by the Committee stresses the following: "Building a Europe capable of playing the role expected of it in the international arena is a matter of political will. (...) Our citizens no longer want to hear empty promises; they do not want a Europe with a CFSP and defence arrangements that are wholly removed from reality. There is a long way to go but we must make a start now. For the Assembly of WEU, this is no mere wish but a serious demand".
The time-frame proposed by the Assembly contains three stages:
1. In the immediate future the basis should be established for a procedure that would:
- give the European Council a real military operational capability by transferring to it WEU's decision-making and command capability;
- set a schedule for the gradual integration of WEU into the EU;
- provide the new EU bodies with the possibility of using NATO resources.
2. In the medium term:
- take integration forward as a consensus emerges to transfer the various WEU areas of competence and institutions to the EU and as the CFSP takes shape.
3. In the longer term:
achieve a common defence structure and a European defence within the European Union, with the corresponding links between the EU and NATO.