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European Union - Security Policy




Following decisions taken by the European Union heads of state and government at the Helsinki and Nice European Councils in December 1999 and in December 2000, new and tailor-made structures in the military and political areas were set up in Brussels to enable decision-making in crisis situations.

At the Helsinki European Council meeting, the political objective set at Cologne was reflected in the adoption of concrete objectives concerning the creation of European forces that are credible, available and effective. Under this objective (known as the "Helsinki Headline Goal"), the Member States undertook to be able to

  1. deploy rapidly (within 60 days) and
  2. sustain (for at least one year)
  3. military forces capable of the full range of Petersberg tasks as set out in the Amsterdam Treaty [humanitarian and rescue tasks, peacekeeping, and crisis management - including peace-making], including those which would require
  4. significant forces of up to corps level (up to 15 brigades, or 50 000 to 60 000 persons).

The Member States must also be able to deploy smaller rapid response elements with very high readiness. These forces must be self-sustaining, with the necessary command, control and intelligence capabilities, logistics, other combat support services and additionally, as appropriate, air and naval elements. The Member States of the European Union also established common capability goals (command and control, reconnaissance and strategic transport).

It should be noted that the military and defence dimension of the EU does not include territorial defence. The Defence commitment in Article 5 in the Western European Union Treaty was not taken over by the EU when other Western European Union functions were subsumed in the EU at the beginning of 2002. Yet a number of other aspects of broader security concern are increasingly on the agenda of the EU institutions, particularly after September 11.

In practice, preventing conflicts and managing crises requires a combination of civilian and military instruments. The EU member states for example decided at the European Council in Lisbon in June 2000, to be able by 2003 to provide up to 5000 police officers for international missions.

On 11 April 2001, the European Commission adopted a set of recommendations to improve the EU's civilian conflict prevention capabilities. In November 2001 the Commission adopted a communication on the financing of civilian crisis management operations.

Relevant policy areas in this field include: security of supply and energy stock reserves, the Single European Sky, GALILEO, protection of critical infrastructure, cybercrime, air transport and aircraft security.

The Commission participates in the Boards of the European Union Institute for Security Studies and the European Union Satellite Centre, both taken over from existing Western European Union (WEU) structures and being integrated into ESDP. Commission participation is also of relevance as regards the obligation to ensure close collaboration between its Joint Research Centre and the Satellite Centre and coherence with the European strategy for Space endorsed by the Council on 16 November 2000.

The Amsterdam Treaty introduced the new office of a High Representative (HR) for CFSP. The office is fused with that of Council Secretary General. The HR "shall assist the Council in matters coming within the scope of the CFSP, in particular through contributing to the formulation, preparation and implementation of policy decisions, and, when appropriate and acting on behalf of the Council at the request of the Presidency, through conducting political dialogue with third countries". The HR assists the Presidency in the external representation of the EU and assists the Council in the implementation of policy decisions in CFSP matters. Mr Javier Solana was appointed as first HR and took office on 18 October 1999.

A Policy Planning and Early Warning Unit has been set up within the Council Secretariat. Its mandate includes monitoring, analysis and assessment of international developments and events, including early warning on potential crises. It drafts policy options, which may contain recommendations and strategies for presentation to the Council under the responsibility of the Presidency. The Commission seconds one member of the Policy Unit staff. The High Representative is also assisted by the Council Secretariat.

The European Union Military Committee (EUMC) is composed of the Chiefs of Defence represented by their military representatives. The EUMC is responsible for providing the PSC with military advice and recommendations on all military matters within the EU. It exercises military direction of all military activities within the EU framework, including the European Union Military Staff. The Chairman of the EUMC attends meetings of the Council when decisions with defence implications are to be taken.

The European Union Military Staff (EUMS) within the Council structures provides military expertise and support to the CESDP, including the conduct of EU-led military crisis management operations. It performs early warning, situation assessment and strategic planning for Petersberg tasks including identification of European national and multinational forces and implementation of policies and decisions as directed by the EUMC. The Politico-Military Group examines the politico-military aspects of all proposals within the framework of the CFSP.

The Committee for Civilian Aspects of Crisis Management gives advice on the political aspects of non-military crisis management, conflict prevention etc. It has given priority in its work to implementing the specific target for policing. It has dealt with strengthening the rule of law, with a view to setting specific targets in that area.

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Page last modified: 20-12-2017 18:21:38 ZULU