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"We Want To Get ESDI Right"

"We Want To Get ESDI Right"

U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs Marc Grossman on NATO, European Security and Defense, Washington, 09 March 2000 (1,720).

In March 9 testimony on the development of the European Security and Defense Identity (ESDI), U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs Marc Grossman told a Senate panel, "Our goal is simple: we want to get ESDI right. That's because we want ESDI to succeed."

If the United States and its partners in Europe can get it right, "and I think we can if we pay attention, ESDI will be good for the Alliance, good for U.S. interests, and good for the U.S.-European relationship," he told the European subcommittee of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

"More European military capacity will make the Alliance stronger, lift some of the burden we now have to act in every crisis, and make the U.S.-European relationship more of a partnership."

Grossman said ESDI should develop in the way NATO Secretary General George Robertson has prescribed -- his three "I's" concept -- improvement of capabilities, indivisibility of security structures, inclusiveness of all Allies.

"We support that vision. The job over the next year is to turn commitments into reality," he said.

In the coming months the United States wants to help create concrete NATO-EU links, make it possible for non-EU NATO Allies to participate in shaping EU security decision making, and press all Allies to carry out their commitments to improve defense capabilities, Grossman said. "The right NATO-EU links will ensure that organizational decisions about future military operations will not be taken in isolation by either NATO or the EU."

In the end, Grossman told the subcommittee, ESDI's success will depend on the ability of America's European partners to create new military capabilities, but he said progress in this area will not be possible "without more resources."

The "way forward," he said, involves: keeping the focus on improving-military capabilities through the Defense Capabilities Initiative; working "to establish NATO-EU links and to find the right way to include non-EU NATO Allies in EU structures and processes;" and continuing the support from Congress.

Following is the text of Grossman's prepared statement: (begin text) :

U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs Marc Grossman

Testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee

Subcommittee on European Affairs, Washington, D.C., March 9, 2000.

EUROPEAN SECURITY AND DEFENSE IDENTITY (ESDI)

I welcome this opportunity to testify on the U.S. foreign policy interest in the development of the European Security and Defense Identity.

The views of this committee -- and of the Senate as a whole -- play a key role in how we think about trans-Atlantic security. The Kyl Amendment guided our work both on NATO enlargement and on the Alliance's new Strategic Concept. The Roth Resolution describes the framework for the way we want ESDI to develop. In resolutions passed last fall, the Senate and the House reinforced the Administration's approach to ESDI.

Our goal is simple: we want to get ESDI right. That's because we want ESDI to succeed. If we and our Allies and partners in Europe can get it right, and I think we can if we pay attention, ESDI will be good for the Alliance, good for U.S. interests, and good for the U.S.-European relationship. More European military capacity will make the Alliance stronger, lift some of the burden we now have to act in every crisis, and make the U.S.-European relationship more of a partnership.

When Frank Kramer and I were here just before the NATO Summit, we laid out our goals for the Summit and for a NATO for the 21st century. I'd like to report to you on how we're doing one year later. I'd also like to describe our ideas for promoting an ESDI which advances American security interests and a strong NATO.

Last April, we told you that ESDI should focus on enhanced capabilities and be compatible with U.S. and European security commitments in NATO. We said that ESDI should develop in a way that avoids duplication of existing NATO capabilities, avoids the delinking of European and NATO decision making, and avoids discrimination against non-EU NATO Allies.

At the Washington Summit Allies reaffirmed the indivisibility of the trans-Atlantic link and the need to pursue common security objectives through NATO wherever possible. NATO is the institution of choice when Europe and America want to act together militarily. NATO's leaders also recognized that there could be cases where the Alliance does not want to engage as a whole but where there is a need for some kind of military intervention. So at the Washington Summit, Allies also agreed in principle to presumed access to NATO assets for EU-led operations while recognizing that the actual provision of these assets would be decided on a case by case basis.

[Grossman then referred to information presented in chart form.]

The charts are a way to took at where things stand. They compare what NATO agreed at Washington and what the EU agreed at the Helsinki Summit, which took place last December.

At the Helsinki Summit, our European partners said that, "NATO remains the foundation of the collective defense of its members and will continue to have an important role in crisis management."

The EU also said, like we did in Washington:

The EU should have the autonomous capacity to take decisions, and where NATO as a whole is not engaged, to launch, and then to conduct EU-led military operations in response to international crises.

The Helsinki statement also took a key step in improving European capabilities by committing to develop a pool of rapid reaction forces of 50-60,000 troops, deployable within 60 days, sustainable for at least one year. This would increase the deployable forces available for NATO operations as well as for EU operations.

And the EU recognized that efforts to enhance its military capabilities should be "mutually reinforcing" with NATO's Defense Capabilities Initiative.

There is still work to be done, which I believe can be done successfully.

For example, NATO and the EU must be able to work together.

On March 1, the EU established in Brussels interim committee structures to address security and defense matters. These structures will provide the basis on which to develop institutional links to NATO and to engage the non-EU NATO Allies in EU deliberations.

We want to use the coming months to help create concrete NATO-EU links, make it possible for non-EU NATO Allies to participate in shaping EU security decision making, and press all Allies to carry out their commitments to improve defense capabilities.

We want the EU to meet the objective it set for itself in Helsinki to develop agreed principles for NATO-EU links by its Summit in Portugal in June. NATO needs to work on its own position so that links can be established quickly after June. The best institutional links will be transparent and cooperative. We believe that the new EU structures should interact fully with NATO.

The closest possible links are necessary if NATO is to support an EU-led action where the Alliance is not engaged. The right NATO-EU links will ensure that organizational decisions about future military operations will not be taken in isolation by either NATO or the EU.

We also believe that Allies, who, like us, are not members of the EU, deserve special status in the EU's security and defense deliberations.

ESDI's success depends in the end on the ability of our European partners to create new military capabilities. The EU's commitment to meeting its "headline goal" is key. But, as Secretary Cohen has reiterated in recent months, our European Allies and partners will not be able to make progress on improving capabilities without more resources.

Assistant Secretary Kramer will have more to say on this subject.

Some worry that ESDI will weaken the Alliance. If we get it right, NATO will be stronger and U.S. interests served.

The critical issue is that we and the EU share a common vision of the indivisibility of our security interests. We've successfully met the security challenges of the past fifty years through this shared commitment. As long as we continue to "be in this together" and create the right institutional framework, ESDI and ESDP can strengthen the Alliance. I know NATO Secretary General Lord Robertson and EU HiRep Solana share that commitment.

But, there is a trap I warn against today. Some demand that EU candidates in Eastern Europe "choose" between Europe and the trans-Atlantic relationship. As Secretary Albright said on January 26, "What a false choice that is. What a fatal choice it would be."

NATO remains the foundation of our common security and defense. Our European partners have pledged to improve their defense capabilities. ESDI should develop in the way Lord Robertson has prescribed, highlighting his 3 I's: improvement of capabilities, indivisibility of security structures, inclusiveness of all Allies.

We support that vision. The job over the next year is to turn commitments into reality.

Here's how we see the way forward:

First, we must keep the focus on improving-military capabilities through the Defense Capabilities Initiative. Building real, new capabilities is hard, expensive and takes time. But without them, there is no ESDI, no ESDP, no headline goal. The Alliance will be unbalanced and weaker.

Second, we will work with our NATO and EU partners to establish NATO-EU links and to find the right way to include non-EU NATO Allies in EU structures and processes. We are consulting with all Allies in NATO, the EU, in capitals, and Washington; with NATO Secretary General Robertson and EU HiRep Solana; and with the Portuguese EU Presidency. Detailed arrangements for the presumed access to NATO assets for EU-led operations will follow from these links.

Third, your continued support and the time you take to meet Allies and to travel to NATO and EU countries will help us build the practical security links between NATO and the EU that will help make ESDI operative.

ESDI can increase the European contribution to our common defense, ease the burden on the U.S., and strengthen the trans-Atlantic partnership so vital to our nation's security.

Thank you. After Assistant Secretary Kramer's testimony, I'd be glad to answer any questions.

(end text)

(Distributed by the Office of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State. Web site: www.usinfo.state.gov)

 

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Directeur de la publication : Joël-François Dumont
Comité de rédaction : Jacques de Lestapis, Hugues Dumont, François de Vries (Bruxelles), Hans-Ulrich Helfer (Suisse), Michael Hellerforth (Allemagne).
Comité militaire : VAE Guy Labouérie (†), GAA François Mermet (2S), CF Patrice Théry (Asie).

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