Financing row holds up ESDP

The inability of EU Member States to agree on how to finance the development of the European Security and Defence Policy (ESDP) threatens to delay its launch. The Financial Times reports that the Belgian Presidency’s desire to announce that it will be ‘operational’ at next months Laeken summit may not be possible for this reason.

The Financial Times details three options that Council
foreign policy chief Javier Solana has presented to Member States:

  • All costs are common: Member States operational costs accroding
    to gross national product. Backed by Luxembourg, Greece and
  • Costs lie where they fall: The system currently used by NATO
    that would keep down administrative costs at the EU level since
    Member States themselves would be responsible for their own
    operational costs. Backed by Austria, British, Germany, Ireland and
  • Intermediate: increase common costs but charge operational
    expenditure to Member States doing the operations. Backed by
    Netherlands, Italy and France.


European leaders agreed on a common defence strategy at the
Cologne Summit on 3 June 1999. The 15 Member States of the EU
formally decided to create a rapid reaction force (RRF) of 60,000
men at the Nice European Council in December 2000. This is due to
be fully operational by the end of 2003.

Some progress has been made in creating a
military structure within the Council of Ministers in 2001.
However, significant problems related to the military capabilities
of EU Member States remain, particularly in the areas of
intelligence, logistics and communications. Attempts to resolve
these have led to much attention being focused on the complexities
of EU-NATO relations. It now appears that the issue of finance is a
more immediate threat to getting even a minimal ESDP up and


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