Calming stormy seas: EU Security Doctrine in the making

Ministers acknowledge US plans for post-war Iraq and plan Security Doctrine on island-hopping boat trip in Greece.

The meeting took an overall conciliatory note with respect to
EU-US relations. The announcement of US-post war stabilisation
force plans, publicised while the meeting was in progress, did not
cement dividing lines among the EU Foreign Ministers. Instead, the
announcement that the US, Britain and Poland were to take part in
the Iraqi stabilisation force, seemed to strengthen the ministers’
committment to moving ahead with viable EU military strategies.
Other issues discussed included the Quartet’s plans for the Middle
East. The Greek Presidency reiterated the Union’s commitment to
material and political assistance of the new Palestinian Prime
Minister’s government. The ministers agreed that the Commission and
Council Secretariat should prepare a report on strengthening EU
links with the Arab world on economic and human rights issues,
among others.

 

Current EU Council President, Greek Foreign Minister George
Papandreou
announced plans for a new EU Security Doctrine,
which could help the "problem in our transatlantic relationship"
and aim to aviod further rifts over military issues such as the
Iraq-war. Papandreou expressed hope that a new strategic defense
policy could resemble the work of the U.S. National Security
Council.

British Foreign Minister Jack Straw stressed that
his country wanted to see a self confident EU Common Foreign and
Security Policy (CFSP), which could enhance transatlantic
relations.

French Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin,
downplayed the significance of the four-country proposal agreed on
April 29, saying it would be a mere "liason office, not a
headquarters" and posed not threat to NATO.

EU foreign policy head Javier Solana was charged
with formulating details of the new doctrine, to be discussed in
greater detail in the coming months.

 

The future of European Security and Defense Policy (ESDP) was
the highest agenda item on the informal boat trip of EU-15 foreign
ministers and their colleagues from the new Member States (see
). Analysts had projected talks might
encounter rough waters, as they came on the heels of a
quadripartite conference on the same issue between Germany, France,
Luxembourg and Belgium only a few days earlier. Those talks had
resulted in a committment to create a joint European military
command structure between the four countries (see
). EU member states supportive of US
military action in Iraq had criticised this meeting of the 'new
defense core,' but those opinions seemed secondary at the weekend
talks in Greece. European Security and Defense Policy has
previously been catalysed through bilateral agreements between
Britain and France, as seen in St. Malo in 1998.

 

 

 

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