EU anger at Turkish blockage of European defence

Turkey angers EU Member States by maintaining its veto on EU-NATO cooperation

Turkey has been blocking the agreement between the EU and
NATO on military planning for months. Ankara insists that access to
NATO’s planning capability be granted to EU on case-by-case basis
and not permanently as the Union requested.

The EU has proposed that candidate countries who
want to participate in the European security and defence policy be
consulted but cannot participate in decision-making. Turkey opposes
this proposal and demands a decision-making role, same as EU Member
States. The Union rejects this as unacceptable.


French Defence Minister Alain Richard said Turkey would have
to change its attitude because "maintaining this negative position
is not coherent with its interest of approaching Europe".

German Defence Minister Rudolf Scharping
stressed that Turkey would not prevent the EU from advancing on
European defence policy.


Turkey again vetoed a proposed agreement on the access of the
EU's military structures to NATO's planning capabilities at the
meeting of EU and candidate countries foreign and defence ministers
on 15 May. Turkey's position angered several EU countries who hope
that the issue will be resolved at the EU-NATO foreign ministers
meeting in Budapest on 29-30 May.


The 15 Member States of the EU recently reached an agreement
on the establishment of a rapid reaction force of 60,000 men. It is
envisaged that this force will be capable of performing
peacekeeping and crisis intervention operations and staying in the
field for up to a year.


Although the total expected number of troops would not be
available until 2003, Member States believe they can have a scaled
down rapid reaction force that can do some peacekeeping duties by
the end of 2001.


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