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74th Franco-German Consultations

74th Franco-German Consultations

Source: Statement by the Franco-German Defense and Security Council, Paris, November 30, 1999.

Recalling the commitments we made jointly in Toulouse, at the meeting of the Franco-German Defence and Security Council, to put the two countries' full weight behind the effort to secure for the European Union the autonomous assets it needs to be able to decide and act in the face of crises;

Reaffirming too the determination expressed by the Fifteen in Cologne to strengthen European military capabilities for that purpose, notably in the field of intelligence, strategic transport, command and control;

France and Germany therefore expect the Helsinki Council to make substantial headway in drawing up a European defence and security policy and declare themselves resolutely in favour of achieving decisive progress on this occasion in the development of the European Union's military capabilities and taking decisions on the establishment of decision-making bodies and military instruments within the European Union. These are necessary to give the EU the autonomous capacity to take decisions and, where the Alliance as such is not engaged, to launch and then conduct military operations. In this respect, France and Germany are recommending to the Helsinki European Council that it endorse the proposal based on the document on military bodies, planning and conduct of EU-led operations.

Aware of the importance of a strong and competitive defence industry and technology, our two countries warmly welcome the major advance constituted by the coming together of our defence industries in the new EADS. The Aérospatiale-Matra/Dasa merger will facilitate our cooperation on the basis of common programmes.

Implementation of new programmes will require us to seek bilateral convergence, particularly by boosting our efforts to harmonize future needs. In this context, we have decided to compare our respective plans for strengthening our intelligence, strategic lift, command and communications capabilities and to continue developing our military capacities in these spheres:

Specifically with regard to intelligence capabilities, which are central to the European Union's autonomous assessment and decision-making capacity, we are determined to combine existing and future assets, including space-based components, in order to establish common European capabilities.

As regards strategic lift, we propose eventually to create, step-by-step and in the appropriate multilateral framework, a European air transport command for the joint management of available European military air lift assets and coordination of the use of any civilian assets which may be employed. This coordination would produce synergies and permit maximum cost-effectiveness. At the same time, it will increase the incentive for joint acquisition, use of assets and training of personnel. The Franco-German Defence and Security Council has tasked the Defence Ministers with implementing the initiative on setting up a European air transport command.

We thereby affirm our determination to reach a common decision on the development and purchasing, in any case necessary, of a common European transport aircraft, in the light of the technical report already submitted.

As regards command and control capabilities, we recall the announcement made in Toulouse and the member States' decision in Cologne on the transformation of the Eurocorps, and in the first place its Headquarters, into a rapid reaction corps. With our three partners, we welcome the progress made since then, which enables the participating States to propose that the Headquarters of this major unit become the command structure for KFOR, taking over from Landcent in the course of 2000.

We salute the forthcoming arrival in the Eurocorps of liaison officers from other European Union countries, as a prelude to broader participation in the Corps' activities.

Similarly, we recognize the importance of permanently attaching officers from other EU nations to national joint forces HQs.

We welcome the signature this very day of a protocol on sharing the communication resources of the first new generation Syracuse 3 telecommunications satellite. This is the first stage of a cooperation project on an extremely comprehensive space telecommunications system.

We are convinced that these measures will make an essential and effective contribution to the development of the European Security and Defence Policy through practical measures, in the European Union framework and in accordance with the Cologne decisions, thus contributing to strengthening the Alliance's European pillar. In the spirit of the conclusions of the Washington Summit, we are also thereby contributing to strengthening its crisis management capabilities and to the vitality of a modernized Alliance.

The Council welcomes the Defence Ministers' intention to establish joint French and German language courses for the two countries' field officers. An initial pilot course is scheduled for 2000./.


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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).