SHAPE NEWS SUMMARY & ANALYSIS 19 JUNE 2002
COOPERATIVE BEST EFFORTS 2002
- According to The Guardian, hopes for a breakthrough in the launch of the EUs rapid reaction force were poised on a knife edge Tuesday as governments fought against the clock to defuse a bitter row blocking the project. "The differences between us are now very small, but it could be as wide as the Grand Canyon because it is so bound up with Greek domestic politics," the newspaper quotes one EU official saying. The newspaper adds that an agreement on the force was described as being "too close to call" last night, after talks with Greek Foreign Minister Papandreou failed to resolve the issue. It stresses that the issue has become a matter of national pride in Greece, since Prime Minister Simitis called on the opposition last month to rally behind his governments stance. The article also remarks that the problem is compounded by the fact that Greece will be running EU defense and security matters from July 1, because Denmark, which assumes the rotating presidency at that date, has opted out of that area of policy making. Greece is next in line for the presidency. Athens News Agency, June 18, quoted a Greek government spokesman saying Tuesday that nothing had happened yet to convince that a deal on the issue of the European force was ready. According to the dispatch, the spokesman said initiatives on the issue were taking place constantly and many more might be presented before Saturday, when an EU summit in Seville is due to end. "By then," he reportedly added, we will have determined whether there are margins for agreement or whether there is disagreement."
- Madrids El Mundo, June 18, reported that at the forthcoming Seville summit, the Spanish government will sponsor a proposal to involve the future European army in the fight against terrorism. According to the article, the summit is expected to approve a declaration, sponsored by Spain, which will open the doors to the participation of the future European army in antiterrorist missions and which will lay the groundwork for the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) and ESDP to contribute to the fight against external terrorism. The article stresses, however, that for the time being, ESDPs contribution will be limited to three fields of action: the coordination of the EU nations intelligence services in order to detect terrorist threats, collaboration in order to prevent attacks with weapons of mass destruction on European territory, and the protection of the European armed forces which take part in future crisis management missions. Spain was reportedly seeking to widen ESDPs contribution, but has given up for now on the involvement of the EU rapid reaction force in antiterrorist missions because of opposition from Britain and the Nordic countries.
- Zagrebs Hina reports that in Washington Tuesday, Defense minister Rados stressed that Croatia wants the U.S. evaluation of its contribution to security and stability in the region to be confirmed at the NATO summit in Prague by granting Croatia the leader status in the third round of NATO enlargement. The dispatch quotes Rados saying his hosts reacted positively to Croatias expectations.
In a contribution to La Repubblica, July 18, Defense Secretary Hoon wrote that the Prague summit will be an opportunity for the Alliance to adapt to the challenges of the 21st century.
In what the newspaper described as a call for "a more flexible NATO to stop terrorism," Hoon wrote that NATO will have to work hard to determine the best way to adapt its forces and command structures, as well as its decision making and planning processes. Starting in Prague, we want a modernized alliance, better articulated and adapted to combat the future threats, including terrorism, he stressed. Noting that the EU is also gradually acquiring a capability to lead the response to a crisis in which NATO as a whole is not involved, he called for the establishment of mechanisms enabling the EU to resort to NATOs planning. The allies must also demonstrate that they have the individual and collective will to bring about the changes, he added, concluding that the need for a capability to operate together is more justified than ever.
COOPERATIVE BEST EFFORT 2002
Exercise Cooperative Best Effort 2002 appears to be prompting some Russian media to compare the performance of NATO soldiers with that of their counterparts from the former Soviet Union.
The first day of the exercise showed that experienced NATO troops cannot always meet the standards of the former Soviet army, claimed TV RTR, June 18. About 400 troops from 15 countries honed their skills in moving across terrain and getting across obstacle courses. In torrential rain and carrying a full load of ammunition, the soldiers and officers had a hard time, said a correspondent. The broadcast, acknowledged, however, that bad weather at the Georgian military base in Vaziani made the job of those taking part in the maneuver more difficult. Moscows NTV Mir, June 18, quoted the exercise commander, Turkish Gen. Ataman, stressing that the exercise is not a competition between the various countries soldiers. The aim is to prepare for jointly carrying out international peacekeeping operations. But, the program observed, the participants themselves seem to be competing against each other. Servicemen from the former Soviet Union are comparing their fitness against NATO standards. "Our guys are getting round a lot quicker than NATOs," the broadcast quoted a Ukrainian officer saying. Agentstvo Voyennykh Novostey, June 18, stressed that the first day of the exercise proved that multinational units face serious problems in the sphere of control. The program referred to alleged language problems in the platoon comprising the Moldovan, Georgian and Greek squads under the command of a British officer.
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