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E.S.D.P. : The objectives of the Spanish Presidenc

E.S.D.P. : The objectives of the Spanish Presidency

Spanish Defence Minister Federico Trillo sets out the Spanish Presidency's objectives for Security and Defence. Source: Spanish Ministry of Defense, Madrid, January 10, 2002.

The institutionalisation of EU Defence Minister Councils, the final push towards setting up the EU Rapid Reaction Force and the application of international humanitarian law in the context of peace and security missions were three of the priorities Mr Trillo presented to the Secretary General for Defence Policy of the Union. Meanwhile, NATO Secretary General Lord Robertson met with Spanish Prime Minister José Maria Aznar and the Foreign Affairs and Defence Ministers to learn about the Spanish Presidency's priorities for Security and Defence. Madrid, January 10, 2002.

The Spanish Defence Minister also underlined the Spanish Presidency's wish to "press ahead with defining the organisational structure of European defence and identifying the elements capable of providing a response in crisis situations." The Spanish Presidency is aiming to present an initial progress report to the Seville European Council, which is scheduled for 21 and 22 June.

Mr Trillo added that "it is central to Europe's existence that it implement a common security and defence policy, as there can be no talk of a united Europe unless Europe has a voice of its own, a voice that will not be credible unless it is backed up by that common policy." The informal meeting of Defence Ministers during Spain's six-month EU Presidency will take place in Zaragoza on 22 and 23 March.

Speech by Federico Trillo, Spanish Defence Minister

Good Morning, Ladies and Gentlemen, On behalf of the Spanish Presidency of the EU, I wish to welcome you to this meeting, which is one of the first events of the Spanish Presidency here in Madrid. In view of the time of year, I would also like to convey to you my best wishes for this year 2002 that has just begun.

My satisfaction in speaking to you is redoubled by the fact that it was here, in Madrid, at the December 1995 European Council, that the name "euro" was decided on for the new single currency, which at that time was still a far-off reality; and because its entry into circulation has coincided with the Spanish Presidency in this year 2002. Thanks to the resolute efforts by all concerned, we have progressed along our path towards the building of Europe, and today it is possible to move around Europe with the notes and coins of our single currency, the euro, in our pockets.

The purpose of this meeting is to outline in general terms the programme of the Spanish Presidency relative to the European Security and Defence Policy (ESDP) in the sphere of Defence, using an overall approach, and to have an opportunity to gather the first impressions. My collaborators will discuss the contents in detail in their respective turns to speak.

The Laeken Mandate Before entering into the substance of this presentation, I must express my thanks to the Belgian Presidency, which has carried out very important work, marked – as you all know – by the terrible occurrences of September 11th and their consequences.

From the standpoint of the Laeken mandate, we are obliged to, and we must, apply our energies to implementing the Helsinki decisions, and obtaining a real and effective instrument capable of acting in the service of this future Union that has started to develop.

The setting of the Spanish Presidency In order to conclude these introductory remarks, I should like to repeat the words of President Aznar, spoken within the general context of taking on the Spanish Presidency, but very expressive on their own account: "As holder of the Presidency, Spain is responsible for promoting the main issues on the European agenda, because an effective Union is essential if we wish to succeed in improving the living conditions of Europeans." Ladies and Gentlemen, the pro-European stance of my country is well known. As a result, the idea of the Spanish Presidency is expressed in the motto "More Europe". This motto is the bearer of two messages: first, the will to achieve for Europe its rightful weight and place on the international stage and, second, it is a reflection of the fact that the European project has been assumed and backed by a majority of European citizens in general. Every time that "More Europe" has been achieved, the result has been good for Europe and, consequently, for the Member States as well.

In the statement by the Spanish Presidency, this idea of More Europe in the CFSP appears among the six priorities of the programme. Ladies and Gentlemen, this gives an idea of the importance of this priority for the Spanish Presidency.

Introduction to the ESDP Objectives Now allow me to talk about the substance of the ESDP objectives of our Presidency. And also allow me to refer again to my quote from President Aznar, stressing the word "effectiveness" used in it.

In the ambit of the ESDP, More Europe is understood by us as the need to materialise in concrete realities this greater commitment to progress towards consolidation of the ESDP. It is a greater commitment that will have to be reflected in a greater effort, in order to back the political declaration at Laeken on the operational capability of the ESDP. The Spanish Presidency will undertake this work voluntarily and effectively, which is the usual practice in our ministries.

Effectiveness will oblige us to make efficient use of the resources placed at our disposal, both from domestic sources and from abroad. From the national perspective, I have been able to note that effectiveness has been a constant feature in all the previous consultations with my colleagues, in the same way as the wish to also introduce this effectiveness abroad - in this case, in the sphere of the ESDP.

The new terrorist threat relative to the Second Pillar Although it is true that the terrorist threat is not included in the Petersberg missions, it is also true that the Treaty on the Union itself includes among the objectives of the CFSP the defence of the interests and security of the Union in all its forms. For the time being, the Spanish Presidency will promote such measures as the placing of intelligence in common, and protection against potential nuclear, chemical and biological threats. For the purposes of presentation, I have grouped the different matters included in the Presidency’s mandate into three sections: an operational section, an institutional section and, finally, another section for public opinion. Each one of them has its own peculiarities, but all of them are directed towards the consolidation of the ESDP as a whole.

Operational Objectives In this group I have included the objectives and actions that are directly beneficial to the Union’s own capabilities, from capabilities to the procedures for using them. This constitutes one of the areas of priority action, as the only way to underpin the Union’s credibility.

The first action to be taken is the European Capabilities Action Plan.

The Spanish Presidency has taken the necessary measures for implementing the European Capabilities Action Plan, by starting with a study of solutions for the deficiencies detected. We shall adopt a joint approach, by opening up the whole range of deficiencies to the countries interested in going into this in greater depth and tackling the solution to each one of them. This whole process will be governed by the principles that inspired the Action Plan, especially that of voluntary action, not exempt from the necessary peer pressure, and co-ordination with the NATO Defence Capabilities Initiative (DCI).

In this context, the motto "More Europe" musts be understood as a synonym of greater effort, in the form of greater interoperability, specialisation and effectiveness – i.e. a better contribution, or in short, more capability.

The goal for our Presidency is to submit an initial progress report, with the stamp of the Ministers of Defence. The progress report will contain, among other things, a definition of the operational requirements and an analysis of possible solutions to the deficiencies, and will be submitted for approval at the ministerial meetings in May. It will also be included in the Presidency ESDP Report at the Seville European Council.

Closely related to the Action Plan, we have the Capabilities Development Mechanism.

Closely related to the previous action, and using an overall approach, the Spanish Presidency will continue, and in so far as possible, will strive to finalise the definition of the military capabilities development mechanism specified at Nice.

In view of the proximity of the 2003 deadline, our common objective should be to complete this work of definition during the present six-month term, and to refine its implementation during the following one, in order to achieve its application in 2003 - during which the effectiveness of the General Objective should be attained.

The Spanish Presidency is aware of the great difficulty of this task. But like the other members, it is also aware of the need to meet this challenge, given that otherwise the Union will run the certain risk of incoherence between its wishes and the reality. We cannot allow that message to be sent abroad, since the credibility of the ESDP and the Union itself is at stake.

The development of the General Objective Rapid Reaction Elements is another of the areas of important action.

This initiative by the Spanish Presidency does not attempt to set up rapid reaction forces, but consists in essence of the development of concepts and procedures that will allow for the deployment of the rapid-reaction elements foreseen at Helsinki, while specifying use of the elements most readily available in the Helsinki Catalogue.

This is a complex issue, which will even require work on it to be continued under the coming presidencies, since there are several different aspects to be considered: decision-taking procedures, the designation of command and control elements, the speedy generation of command elements and forces, etc.

Some of these issues are already subject to mandate for the different Council working bodies, others are being drawn up, while still others, on the contrary, must be started from scratch. With regard to all of them, the Presidency will play a role of promotion and adjustment in order to lay the foundations that will enable the Union to deploy these elements..

On concluding this matter of capabilities, there is the important issue of the national and multinational General Headquarters.

The command and control capabilities constitute one of the cornerstones of any operation, and therefore they must be developed in harmony with the forces capabilities of the General Objective.

The Spanish Presidency will return to the Helsinki decisions for the establishment of collective objectives for command and control capabilities, and will promote the work for making use of the command and control capabilities offered, existent and future - both national and multinational. In view of the abundance of European initiatives in this field, we must encourage their effective use.

Among other work, the drawing up of the lead/framework nation concept should be mentioned, together with the GHQs’ standardised operating procedures (SOPs), or the issue of the marking of the national GHQs (multinationalised or multinationisable) and the improvement of their operationability, projectability and C2 features. It will also be important to bear in mind the matter of the Alliance’s European Command Arrangements.

I shall conclude this operational section with the Crisis-Management Procedures, the Financing of Operations and the CME-02 exercise.

Grouped under the same heading for the purposes of presentation, they constitute one of the ESDP’s most important spheres of action, given that at the same time that the military capabilities for crisis management (or what we could generically call "hardware) are developed, it is essential to also develop the procedures for liaison between the decision structures (the "software").

During the coming six months we shall concentrate on continuing the work of reviewing the crisis-management procedures, with the ultimate objective of proceeding to try them out in the CME-02 exercise (the Union’s first crisis-management exercise), which will take place during the final stretch of the Spanish Presidency.

The section on the financing of military operations is another of the important matters – not only on account of the amount of the costs of a military operation, but also because of the importance of settling the financial issue in the decision-taking process as soon as possible. Otherwise, It will constitute an additional variable which will increase the complexity of the decision-taking process.

Moreover, the Presidency will promote the work towards the development of the civil crisis-management capabilities, especially with regard to the development of the Police Action Plan, of the rule of law, of civil administration, of civil protection and of the necessary co-ordination of the civilian and military aspects of crisis management.

Institutional Objectives In this group, we have included the objectives and actions of an institutional nature that relate the ESDP to other institutions.

The first objective attempts to formalise the meetings of Defence Ministers.

With the backing of the members, the Spanish Presidency wishes to obtain a formula that will allow for the formalisation of the meetings of the Ministers of Defence. The previous debate during the Belgian Presidency highlighted the different sensitivities regarding this matter.

A formula for procedural methods for a Council of Ministers of Defence will be proposed, taking advantage of the formation of the General Affairs Council – that is, a General Affairs Council with a format for Defence Ministers. The aim is to reach an exact balance between full respect for the institutions and permission to the Ministers of Defence to carry out their work on developing the ESDP.

Irrespectively of the foregoing, the General Affairs Councils will continue to be held, enhanced by the presence of the Ministers of Defence, and the practice carried over from previous presidencies of holding informal meetings of Defence Ministers will continue.

The second objective of an institutional nature is about Armaments Co-operation.

The Spanish Presidency is aware of the difficulties in progressing towards a European armaments policy. But we are also aware that without greater integration of the different national policies in this sphere, it will not be possible to formulate a true European security and defence policy within the second pillar.

In fulfilling the Laeken mandate, the Spanish Presidency’s action will be based on a decalogue of principles that will allow for the emergence of a consensus concerning future action. The point of departure of this decalogue is the premise that the European weapons industry must be at the service of the ESDP, governed by the principles of voluntary compliance, transparency and co-ordination with other organisations. Among the specific measures planned, we could mention the Guidelines, which are not binding on the arms industry, as well as solutions consisting of the optional setting up of one or several specific European armaments agencies for management and/or procurement, or the search for new formulas for extra-budgetary financing and accountants for meeting our needs for development and the attainment of the General Objective.

The case of the A-400M transport plane is a good example to follow in this area, not only because it will fill a gap in the requirements of the General Objective, but also because it will be a programme managed by a collective organisation, the OCCAR.

All this merely highlights the importance of the role of the National Armaments Directors (NADs). The Spanish Presidency will hold an informal meeting of NADs on April 29th, in order to discuss these issues.

Finally, the activities within the framework of the Relations with NATO, with the candidates and non-EU European allies, and other possible members This is another of the important spheres of ESDP development, since the Union is yet another actor on the complex international stage and it must temper its action within the global context.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I should first of all like to touch on EU/NATO Relations.

Considered by everyone as a key factor in the development of the ESDP, the Spanish Presidency will spare no effort in the successful conclusion of the negotiations and contacts with the Alliance now under way with the Alliance. It would be a very positive achievement to be able to extend to the institutional field the good relations established between both organisations in the practical field (the Balkans).

Following the expectations of an agreement aroused at the end of the Belgian Presidency, the Spanish Presidency is in wait of decisions that will allow for a speedy untying of the knot in the permanent institutional relations between both organisations.

Another important matter is that relative to the consultation and participation of the 15 and the 6.

The Laeken mandate entrusts the full implementation of the agreements on consultation and participation of the candidates and the non-EU allies to us.

At this time of possible rapprochement, and in view of the expectations concerning a solution to the important issue of EU/NATO relations, the Union must undertake the definition of the details of this consultation and participation. The Spanish Presidency will propose that a number of practical aspects be addressed, such as the Committee of Contributors and the participation of these countries in the new ESDP fields that are opening up every six-month term.

With regard to our relations with other possible members, the latest events show us that Russia is playing an extremely important role at this time of crisis. It is one of the Presidency’s objectives to deepen and consolidate the relations between the European Union and Russia, as well as with Ukraine and Canada.

Likewise, the Presidency will continue to promote the tasks of co-operation with the UN, the OSCE and other organisations.

Public-Opinion Objectives The final group of objectives and activities covers a number of actions of different kinds which all, however, have a common denominator: the pursuit of the backing of public opinion.

I have taken up the idea of the Belgian Presidency because I think it is essential to keep the public informed. In order to obtain the people’s support, it is necessary to inform them and make them participants in our achievements and, likewise, in our failures. Only in this way will we gain their trust and support.

The first initiative refers to International Humanitarian Law.

The intention is to reaffirm the validity and application of international humanitarian law in the sphere of Union operations by means of this initiative (bearing in mind the sensitivity of European citizens); and to interest them in matters of security and defence. We intend to convene a seminar in which concrete subjects related to the ESDP will be addressed, such as the application of international humanitarian law in European Union operations, and their dissemination in civil society.

The second initiative relates to the ESDP’s Mediterranean dimension.

My country is especially sensitive about the Mediterranean and considers that the Barcelona Process, which is the only forum that brings together all the countries involved, continues to retain its full validity as a framework for co-operation and dialogue in the Mediterranean basin.

Given that the WEU’s Mediterranean dialogue has come to an end, Spain will foster a pragmatic approach to this dimension, with measures of co-operation that can serve as precursors to a future Mediterranean policy in this sphere.

I consider that the Institute for Security Studies has been called upon to play an important role, given that its capabilities confer on it great potential for organising co-operation activities with these countries, from the arranging of seminars to the setting up of joint fora and workshops with other institutes of the Mediterranean countries.

As an immediate objective, the co-operational and non-geographical nature of the ESDP and the General Objective must be made known and explained, by availing ourselves of the Meetings of Senior Officials and the Euro-Mediterranean Conference in order to do so. Above all, we must ensure that public opinion in the countries of the southern Mediterranean does not perceive the latter as a European instrument in the service of undeclared interests.

Finally, two initiatives handed on by the Belgian Presidency, the first of which is relative to the Book on European Defence.

As a result of one of the initiatives by the Belgian Presidency, the Institute for Security Studies will start work on compiling a book on European defence, which will be descriptive in nature and whose readership is intended to be the parliamentary assemblies and the general public. The Presidency will promote this work, including the offering of guidance to the Political Committee about its working methods. The Spanish Presidency is considering holding a joint seminar with the Institute for Security Studies.

And the second is the ESDP’s parliamentary dimension.

The Spanish Presidency shares the opinion on the importance of keeping the parliaments informed, but accepts the fact that for the time being only the national parliaments are competent to exercise parliamentary control over matters of defence policy. We intend to hold a meeting during this six-month term in order to address defence issues, and I want to mention the issues of armaments in particular. For my part, like my colleague Minister Flahaut, I shall visit the parliaments in order to keep them informed about ESDP developments.

Conclusions Ladies and Gentlemen, I should now like to discuss the final section of conclusions of this presentation of objectives. You will have noted that the Spanish Presidency wishes to encourage the methodical and systematic progression of the ESDP in three directions: the development of capabilities, the development of concepts and procedures, and the consolidation of structures, all of which will be associated with public opinion objectives in order to enable the message to reach our citizens. In this way the intention is to enter fully into the consolidation phase of the ESDP and to ensure that the Union will benefit from greater decision-taking and action capability. In short, Ladies and Gentlemen, More Europe.

The success or failure of our undertaking will be the success or failure of everyone concerned. Over and above national views, we must work to the benefit of the Union, in order to achieve More Europe. I started my talk with a reference to the euro, and I should not wish to conclude this account without returning to it.

If incidents like those of September 11th induce us to continue our efforts because we need to, events such as the introduction of the euro encourage us to continue them on account of conviction. Both factors - need and conviction – must spur us on and stimulate us to realise our hopes, thereby enabling us to draw a little closer to the quote by the philosopher and author, Jules Romains, who said, "Europe, my country".

Thank you very much for your attention. In the hope that the meeting will be productive for you all, I wish you a happy stay here in Madrid.


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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).