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The Deployment of European Forces in the Balkans

The Deployment of European Forces in the Balkans

Recommendation on the deployment of European forces in the Balkans. Report (Document A/1882) submitted on behalf of the Defence Committee2
by Mr Wilkinson, Chairman and Rapporteur (United Kingdom, Federated Group). Source: Paris, December 1, 2004.

    The Assembly,

  1. Considering that the achievement of peace, security and stability in the Balkans is an essentially European responsibility to be comprehensively fulfilled;

  2. Bearing in mind the decision of the EU Summit in Thessaloniki in June 2003 that the EU is committed to supporting the reform process and international cooperation in the region and that it is open for the accession of all South-Eastern European countries provided they meet the Copenhagen criteria;

  3. Aware that the deployment of military forces in the Balkans must remain, for the foreseeable future, a crucial element in an overarching Alliance strategy to secure long-term European integration and prosperity for the Balkans;

  4. Believing that NATO and EU forces must coordinate responsibilities and roles within the Balkans whilst, over time, increasing the EU component and decreasing that of NATO in line with the conferral of a growing authority upon the EU in the Balkan peninsula;

  5. Reiterating its commitment to the full eventual participation in the Euro-Atlantic partnership of all the countries of the Balkans and convinced that the European military model of armed forces under civilian and democratic control has an important part to play in this process;

  6. Conscious that a shared goal of EU membership politically underpins, through economic development, as well as governmental and judicial reform, the inter-communal and inter-state confidence-building presence in the Balkans of European troops;

  7. Insisting that the deployment in the Balkans of substantial numbers of forces from many European nations, including states outside the European Union and NATO, has to remain a major priority notwithstanding other pressing commitments in Africa, South-West Asia and the Middle East;

  8. Alert to the ever possible eventuality of violence especially in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Serbia-Montenegro with the concomitant necessity of available, rapidly deployable forces both within and outside this theatre;

  9. Deeming that for the time being only the presence of KFOR, reinforced in qualitative and quantitative terms, can guarantee peace in Kosovo, and that it should not be reduced in size or capability until a political agreement on the status of Kosovo containing international security guarantees has been concluded at the highest level;

  10. Appreciating the politico-military lessons which have already been learned in operations mounted by the armed forces of many European nations since the break-up of the Yugoslav Federation, most particularly in the civil war in Bosnia and Herzegovina and its aftermath, in Kosovo and above all from the deployment of an EU force to the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia in 2003 for Operation Concordia;

  11. Welcoming the decision of the European Council in December 2003 to conduct Operation Althea in Bosnia and Herzegovina as a first step towards the creation of a European security area in the Balkans;

  12. Convinced that the efficacy of European force deployments to the Balkans in sustaining peace will prove a crucial determinant in the credibility of the European Union's security and defence policy,

  13. Taking the view that Operation Althea is an important and decisive step for the development of the EU's military crisis management capabilities both in terms of the personnel and materiel deployed and as regards the force's command and control structures;

  14. Determined that European forces deployed in the Balkans should always be subject to a clear chain of command with the necessary numbers, equipment, logistic support and reserves as well as appropriate rules of engagement;

  15. Deeming that proper application of the Berlin plus agreements by both organisations is indispensable for developing and strengthening a strategic European security and defence partnership between the EU and the Atlantic Alliance and for helping to redress the balance in transatlantic relations;

  16. Taking pride in the sustained involvement of WEU in the Balkans from the police mission in Albania to a constant series of reports on and missions to the area on the part of the Assembly;

  17. Considering that the support of citizens in the individual member states and in Europe as a whole and of their Members of Parliament is essential for launching military and civil crisis management operations led by the EU and/or NATO and for ensuring their success, and that this requires the national parliaments and the competent European interparliamentary assemblies to exercise their role of scrutiny of the conduct of governments and the Euro-Atlantic institutions,

    RECOMMENDS that the Council

  1. Urge the member Governments of WEU nations to maintain substantial, well equipped, highly trained and rapidly deployable forces both within the Balkans and immediately available for Balkan operations;

  2. Encourage the EU to assume prime responsibility for the preservation of peaceful stability in Bosnia and Herzegovina under Operation Althea whilst pursuing effective liaison with the residual NATO presence in that country;

  3. Ensure that the WEU nations in KFOR maintain strong forces in Kosovo until a definitive political settlement for Kosovo has been implemented with the consent of all parties, communities and interested states;

  4. Encourage the WEU nations to pursue an active policy of involvement in police training in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia with an additional presence of European gendarmerie where organised crime and low-level violence are prevalent;

  5. Ensure that the WEU nations work to secure the fullest participation of European military personnel in the NATO Partnership for Peace programme to inculcate common standards and operational procedures in the armed forces of Balkan states;

  6. Encourage the WEU nations to develop flexible force arrangements to meet local requirements, ranging from Joint European Task Forces to Battle Groups and local liaison and observation teams so as to work more closely in the communities;

  7. Continue to promote cooperation and coordination among the WEU nations with a view to guaranteeing the availability of mobile headquarters, framework nations, and adequate reserves ready for deployment at the shortest notice both into and across the theatre so as to thwart any outbreak of violence by swift intervention;

  8. Utilise the Berlin Plus arrangements to fill those gaps in military capability and equipment which, prior to the fulfilment of the Headline Goal 2010, remain areas of military deficiency in European forces;

  9. Ensure that the necessary sea and air power are held available for the potentially drastic actions required for the pacification of any serious violence that could degenerate into open military conflict;

  10. Encourage the WEU nations to instil at all levels of command an awareness of the need for interaction of the political, economic and social dynamics of Balkan peacekeeping for Europe to achieve a lasting "pax Balkanica";

  11. Keep the Assembly informed of European and Euro-Atlantic developments in military crisis management capabilities, in which all the WEU nations should be encouraged to play a full part.

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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).