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EAPC-Meeting: Sweden Turns Suggestions Into Action

EAPC-Meeting: Sweden Turns Suggestions Into Action

Address by Björn von Sydow, Minister for Defence of Sweden at the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council in Defence Ministers session. Brussels, December 19, 2001.


Dr. Björn von Sydow talking with Mr. Donald Rumsfeld, US Secretary of Defense (NATO Photo)

Mr Secretary-General,

The 11 September was a confirmation that the future has already arrived; a future with a broader scale of security risks and threats. However, we rose to the challenge and resolutely agreed to engage in a global struggle against international terrorism, a struggle that must be fought with political, economic, judicial and if need be, military means.

The on-going restructuring and adaptation of The Swedish Defence to handle a broader scale of threats and risks, is on the right track and has been given a new momentum in the light of this autumn.

My conclusion is that we are all exposed to the threat of terrorism and the only way to deal with it is to work together. The challenge before us is to develop practical ways of combating international terrorism and its consequences. Several actors will have important roles in this effort. The EAPC could and should be one of them.

Sweden and Finland have presented ideas on how to develop EAPC on this issue. We have been very gratified by the positive reactions to these proposals, both from NATO members and Partner countries, indicating a broad wish to constructively engage the EAPC. The EAPC Action Plan reflects several promising avenues for increased co-operation relating to the international fight against terrorism and how to protect our population against consequences of terror attacks. Sweden will make its contribution in order to turn suggestions into action.

We appreciate the ambition by NATO to involve and inform Partner countries of the measures undertaken by NATO in the wake of 11 September. The level of transparency established is in the spirit of the Partnership for Peace, in this regard, I would like to draw your attention to the Balkans and the recent six-month reviews (SMR) of SFOR and KFOR, conducted by NATO in the spirit of inclusion and transparency, Sweden welcomes the opportunity given to Partner countries to contribute to this process. We also appreciate that NATO share reports regarding NATO future presence on the Balkans. 1 think we all can agree to that the SMRs can be further improved through, for example, the establishment of a more regional approach to the Balkans. We also support the priority given by NATO to the importance of coordination, and in particular, with other representatives from the international community present in the area of operation. We are, indeed, looking forward to take active part in preparation of the coming SMRs.

Now, let me say a few words about the Planning and Review Process. Sweden has for a long period of time used PARP for development of interoperability in our Armed Forces. We believe that our units must have the capabilities needed for effective participation in operations led by the NATO, EU or the United Nations. The PARP Ministerial Guidance that we today are about to approve further develops that process. I am especially glad that the new procedures will further promote transparency of the review process.

Now, exploring the benefit of the EAPC in combating international terrorism is not the only issue in the context of the future of this forum. The NATO/EAPC Summit in Prague next year will be of paramount importance in providing guidance for OUT future. It is now time to start our conceptual work on this, taking into account other important developments, such as the enlargement of NATO, the development of the ESDP and co-operation between NATO and the EU.

PfP has developed from a visionary idea into one of the most important instruments for developing Euro-Atlantic crisis management capabilities and security co-operation. Its significance is manifested every day in our joint efforts. In fact, the PfP has become mainstream business for all countries involved in this co-operation. In view of the challenges ahead, we have an important common task in assuring that Partnership for Peace maintains its relevance for all participants.

We must dare to be bold and innovative. No doubt, both the PfP and EAPC were bold, innovative and forward-looking initiatives, which played a key role in adapting NATO and Partners to the new security environment of the 1990s. An equal degree of visionary thinking is needed today.

The EAPC/PfP formal is unique by its versatility, inclusiveness and wide participation. Based on self-differentiation it provides for interoperability and substantial contributions to all forms of multinational Peace Support Operations. Activities within the EAPC promote regional co-operation and provide an important tool for confidence building within regions as well as between regions and NATO and Partner countries. Several important initiatives to enhance and make the Partnership more operational were introduced in Washington in 1999. The basic principles, together with implementation of the decisions already taken and the recently undertaken PMSC Stocktaking in PfP, provide a starting point for our discussion on the future. We need to build on the important progress made and further develop already existing programmes, but also consider expanding the Partnership into new areas.

Sweden is looking forward to the comprehensive review of the PfP cooperation that will be initiated early next year. I do not want to anticipate our upcoming discussions, but let me tentatively mention some issues that could be of interest to discuss:

  • The possibilities for new areas of co-operation
  • Partner countries participation in PfP-related work in the NATO organisation, such as the PSE concept and increasing the possibilities for civilian personnel from Partner countries to work inside NATO structures
  • Developing PfP exercises in order to cover even more complex situations and scenarios including consequences of the events this autumn !
  • Exploring the possibility to develop Multinational Formations even further (the Swedish experiences of Nordcaps are very positive)
  • Developing a deepened co-operation regarding Civil - Military cooperation and the field of Civil Emergency Planning. This could include further expanding the level of interoperability and to identify specific areas for future co-operation.
  • Exploring and developing the tools for Lessons Learned

Building security and fostering cooperation is an endless endeavour. New challenges and new tasks are emerging. The European security landscape continues to evolve. Partnership for Peace and the Euro-Atlanlic Partnership Council have demonstrated its continued adaptability and relevance.

In light of the anticipated fundamental changes that will occur during the next year, it is a Swedish concern that we must not let the value of the Partnership and the EAPC erode. Sweden remains committed to its further development.

Thank You.


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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).