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Joint Declaration on European Security and Defence Policy


Joint Declaration on European Security and Defence Policy

Meeting of the Heads of States and Government of Germany, France, Luxembourg and Belgium on European Defence: Joint declaration. Brussels, April 29, 2003. Sources: Quai d'Orsay, Paris and Auswärtiges Amt, Berlin.

Photo Bundesbildestelle, Berlin

With enlargement and the elaboration of a constitutional Treaty, the European Union will become stronger but also more diverse. It is our common conviction that Europe must be able to speak with one voice and fully play its role on the international scene. We therefore believe it necessary to give new impetus to the construction of a Europe of Security and Defence. The European Union must indeed have a credible security and defence policy. Diplomatic action is only credible - and thus efficient - if it can also be based on real civilian and military capabilities.

For more than half a century, Europe has been facing the security challenges alongside the United States, and shares with the US values and ideals that are the fruit of its history. The transatlantic partnership remains an essential strategic priority for Europe. This partnership is a necessary condition for security and world peace. Expanding on the Declaration of the Washington Summit, we wish to pursue the adaptation of the Atlantic Alliance, which remains the foundation of the collective security of its members, to the challenges of the twenty-first century. We are determined to implement the decisions of the Prague Summit for we consider our commitments within the Atlantic Alliance and the European Union as being complementary. The strategic partnership between the European Union and NATO, which is based on the declarations of the Berlin and Washington Summits, has already enabled the European Union to use NATO assets to conduct its first operation in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. We wish that the existing arrangements between the two organizations will tomorrow make it possible for the European Union to relieve NATO in Bosnia-Herzegovina.

It is in this spirit that, expanding on the Saint-Malo Meeting and on the European Council of Köln, the European Security and Defence Policy has been steadily developed since the European Council of Helsinki in December 1999.

We believe the time has come to take new steps in the construction of a Europe of Security and Defence, based on strengthened European military capabilities, which will also give a new vitality to the Atlantic Alliance and open the way to a renewed transatlantic relation.

In order to give new impetus to the European Security and Defence Policy, we propose that the Convention on the Future of Europe and the Intergovernmental Conference approve the following principles and integrate them into the constitutional Treaty:

The possibility of setting up enhanced cooperation in the field of defence.

A general clause of solidarity and common security binding all member States of the European Union and making it possible to face up to all kinds of risks concerning the European Union.

The possibility for member States that express that wish to accept supplementary obligations, within the framework of an enhanced cooperation project and with no obligations for third parties.

Reformulating the Petersberg missions so that the European Union can use civilian and military means in order to prevent conflicts and manage crises, including the most demanding missions.

The creation of a European Agency for development and acquisition of military capabilities. The goals of the Agency will be to increase the European military capabilities and strengthen the interoperability as well as the cooperation between the armed forces of the member States.

The Agency will help to create a favourable environment for a competitive European defence industry.

The creation of a European Security and Defence College in order to favour the development and the spreading of a European security culture.

Moreover, we propose that the Convention should accept the concept of a European Security and Defence Union (ESDU). As a contribution to the reflection, which we wish to pursue with interested States, we believe the vocation of the ESDU should be to bring together those member States that are ready to go faster and further in strengthening their defence cooperation. States taking part in the ESDU will especially:

Commit themselves to bringing mutual help and assistance in the face of risks of all nature.

Systematically aim at harmonizing their positions on security and defence issues.

  • Coordinate their defence efforts.
  • Develop their military capabilities.
  • Increase their security and military efforts, more specifically their investment in military equipment.
  • Participating in ESDU will imply:
  • Participating in major European equipment projects such as the A400M.
  • Strengthening the efficiency of the European military capabilities, by specialization and pooling of means and capabilities as much as possible.
  • Strengthening the pooling of means for officer training, exercises, engagement and logistics.
  • Being willing to take part in peacekeeping operations under the auspices of the United Nations.

ESDU would be open to all the current and future member States that are ready to join. We wish this concrete cooperation to be integrated into the constitutional Treaty of the European Union so that, in the end, all current and future member States could be a part of it.

With regard to the military field, we have decided, as far as we are concerned, to implement here and now and in the spirit of the Saint-Malo and Köln declarations, a number of concrete initiatives designed to bring our national defence instruments closer together. The aim of these projects is to prevent unnecessary duplications between national armed forces and thus strengthen the efficiency of Europeans' defence capabilities. They are open to all interested current and future member States.

The following initiatives fall within the prospect of our common participation in operations conducted within the framework of the European Union or NATO:

-- the development of a European rapid reaction capability. The progress made in this field will help to achieve the goals of the European Union, to strengthen the European contribution to developing a NATO Reaction Force and to guarantee their interoperability. In order to improve the European rapid reaction capability, we will create a nucleus capability around the Franco-German brigade into which Belgian commando elements and Luxembourg reconnaissance elements will be integrated. This European rapid reaction capability can be reinforced by troops from other interested States and will be available for European operations, NATO operations as well as operations conducted by the European Union under the auspices of the United Nations.

-- the creation, by June 2004 at the latest, of a European command for strategic air transport, available for European and NATO operations. The A400M programme is crucial for the development of such a European capability for strategic air transport. In the longer term, we envisage creating, with those States taking part in this programme, a common strategic air transport unit and placing that unit under the European command for strategic air transport. Moreover, we will consider with interested States the creation of a common command for strategic transport (sea, air and ground).

The creation of a joint European NBC protection capability in charge of the protection of both civilians and troops, which are deployed during European operations.

The creation, liaising with the Commission and ECHO, of a European system for emergency humanitarian aid during disasters (EU-FAST - European Union First Aid and Support team) making it possible for the European Union to combine civilian and military assets in order to send initial emergency humanitarian aid within 24 hours. This system will be based on the pooling of existing assets and capabilities. It will be a collective mechanism and the countries that express that wish will in turn be responsible for it.

The creation of European training centres: a common tactical training unit for A400M crews; a training centre for helicopter crews; harmonizing sea training curricula for Navy commanding officers with a view to the creation of a European training fleet; harmonizing training for Air Force pilots by enhancing ongoing initiatives, notably in the field of tactics.

The strengthening of European capabilities with regard to operational planning and conducting operations. During the European Council of Köln in June 1999, the member States of the European Union decided to carry out crisis-management operations either by using NATO assets or capabilities autonomously.

As for operations using NATO assets and capabilities, a permanent arrangement has been made between the European Union and NATO. The European operation in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia is currently being carried out in application of that arrangement, which is one of the pillars of the strategic partnership between the European Union and NATO.

As for EU-led operations not using NATO assets and capabilities, and expanding on the different proposals made within the Convention, we believe we must improve EU capabilities with regard to operational planning and conducting operations while avoiding unnecessary duplications and competition between national capabilities.

To this end, we propose to our partners the creation of a nucleus collective capability for planning and conducting operations for the European Union. When in use, it will be reinforced by national staff. Open to every member State of the European Union expressing that wish, it would have to establish liaison arrangements with its national counterparts. In order to maintain a close link with NATO, it would also have to establish liaison arrangements with SHAPE, including its possible use to support DSACEUR in his role as the primary candidate to command EU-led operations having recourse to NATO assets and capabilities.

In this spirit and until such a capability has been created by the European Union, interested States will establish a nucleus of a collective capacity which, instead of national capabilities, they would make available to the EU for operational planning and command of EU-led operations without recourse to NATO assets and capabilities. Such a pooling of resources would avoid national duplications and significantly improve interoperability. The decision on the creation of such a capability could be taken by the end of the year with all the interested States, with a view to its installation in Tervuren during the summer of 2004.

With a view to improving command and control capabilities available to the European Union as well as to NATO, our four Defence Ministers will take the necessary steps to establish, not later than 2004, a multinational deployable force headquarters for joint operations, building on existing deployable headquarters.

With all the interested countries, we wish to define the outlines of the European Security and Defence Union that will help strengthen the European pillar of the Atlantic Alliance. Furthermore, we wish to implement the concrete projects aiming at bringing closer our national defence tools.

In this spirit, we would like these proposals to be discussed during the next Gymnich [informal ministers' meeting], with a view to a more detailed presentation during the next European Council of Thessalonica.

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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).