EU defence ministers are discussing plans to speed up the implementation of their common security and defence policy in the aftermath of terrorist attacks in the US. The Friday meeting of EU defence ministers in Brussels has started with a discussion on the US and British military campaign against terrorist bases in Afghanistan.
EU leaders pledged to make the EU’s security and defence
policy operational as soon as possible at their extraordinary
summit three days after the 11 September attacks in the US. The
Belgian Presidency of the EU would like the Member States to define
a “common strategic concept”.
However, Turkey has reiterated its veto on the
proposed EU-NATO agreement under which EU forces will be able to
use NATO’s military assets. The EU is preparing to declare its
defence policy operational by the end of the year without an
agreement with Turkey in sight.
European defence ministers will also discuss the
exchange of military intelligence. The EU has establish an
intelligence exchange unit within its military headquarters in
Brussels, however there is no collective intelligence body in the
EU. In 2002, the EU will acquire the outgoing Western European
Union’s satellite centre for gathering intelligence in Torrejon,
European defence capability is another important
topic that will be discussed by the ministers. The EU will organise
a conference on the improvement of its defence capabilities on 19
November in Brussels, dedicated to the worrying decrease of
Europe’s expenditure on defence. The EU is acutely lacking in
military assets, such as aircraft carriers and strategic transport
capabilities, as well as in intelligence and command and control