New Defence Agenda set up to discuss NATO-EU co-operation

The New Defence Agenda was set up by Forum Europe in Brussels on 17 May to serve as a platform for discussing NATO and EU defence and security policies.

The new discussion platform will seek to answer the questions
of how the EU and NATO policies can complement one another. It will
bring together political leaders, officials, industry executives
and policy analysts to discuss European defence and security issues
on a regular basis.

Five Working Groups will meet four times a year
to discuss the following issues:

  • European force projection and capabilities;
  • Europe’s security aims and its global defence role;
  • Conflict prevention and anti-terrorism policies;
  • The transatlantic relationship (military, political and
    industrial);
  • Defence-led research and development and industrial innovation
    in Europe.

 

Positions

The NATO Secretary General, Lord Robertson, made
three proposals on how to reinforce the transatlantic cooperation
within the Alliance:

  • Improve those capabilities which are most critical for the
    success of a transatlantic military coalition;
  • Deepen armaments cooperation, both across Europe and across the
    Atlantic;
  • Move ahead with the EU's Security and Defence Policy.

Lord Robertson warned that a serious gap in
capabilities should be urgently addressed. Europe is lagging behind
the US in key areas, such as strategic airlift, precision-guided
weapons, surveillance, air-to-air refuelling, tactical missile
defence, command and control, and many other areas. "This list of
shortcoming could be extended almost ad infinitum. If this trend
continues, it will push us towards a 'division of labour' which we
should avoid at all cost: a division whereby the US provides the
logistics, the smart bombs and the intelligence, and the lower-tech
Allies provide the soldiers or wring their hands on the sidelines,"
stated Lord Robertson. He warned that "such a division of labour
would be politically unsustainable, and that the burdens, the
costs, the risk, but also the responsibilities are shared
equally".

Sergi V. Kortunov, Vice President of the Foreign Policy
Association from Moscow,
stated that the global security
system should be based on three pillars: the US, united Europe and
Russia. "Europe and Russia are part of the same culture and
civilisation, but geo-politically Russia is also an Asian country,
and Eurasia is key to the global security system. Therefore, Europe
and Russia will play a key role in the years to come," he
added.

Friedbert Pflüger, Chair of Bundestag Committee for
European Affairs,
said that it was "absolutely inevitable"
that the united Europe, with its 500 million inhabitants and a
common currency, will play a global security role. However, he
expressed concern that Russia and the US might come closer
together, marginalising Europe. "We would like Europe to be in that
game. We need a strong, revitalised Alliance, or else Europe will
become militarily marginalised," warned Mr Pflüger. He underlined
that the EU had to develop militarily: "We must be careful that we
do not create a paper tiger". He called for a single policy, with
only one EU representative instead of the current two: the Council
High Representative and the External Relations Commissioner.

 

Background

The New Defence Agenda was set up by a Brussels-based
international conference organiser, Forum Europe, under the
patronage of the EU's High Representative for Common Foreign and
Security Policy, Javier Solana, Commissioner for External
Relations, Chris Patten, and Secretary General of NATO, Lord
Robertson. It was launched at a high-level conference on defence
and security in Brussels, in the presence of Secretary General of
NATO.

 

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