Geopolitical Research Institute(GRI)/Εταιρεία Γεωπολιτικών Ερευνών(ΕΓΕ)

Τρίτη, 1 Μαρτίου 2011

Το αβέβαιο μέλλον της Ευρω-άμυνας ( κείμενο στα αγγλικά)

NATO 2020: Assured Security; Dynamic Engagement is the name of the report which a group of experts chaired by former American Secretary of State Madeleine Albright submitted to Mr. Rasmussen, NATO secretary general, before the Lisbon Summit took place in November 2010. It clearly underlined that NATOs New Strategic Concept should focus more on Europe and Russia. Indeed cooperation with Europe has a central place, although calling on a stronger cooperation with the EU is inappropriate since the interactions take place between the Common Security and Defense Policy (CSDP) and NATO represented by the North Atlantic Council (NAC).

However, it is well known that these two institutions have been facing difficulties for a long time.

The Lisbon Summit was supposed to clarify the destiny of the NATO-CSDP cooperation, but right before the beginning of the talks, EU members still had unresolved issues, and were far from having a common position. Regarding nuclear dissuasion, Berlin and Paris proved to have two completely diverging points of view. Guido Westerwelle, the German Foreign Affairs Minister took literally the Obama speech about a world free from nuclear weapons, while Paris simply cannot imagine of giving up one of the few assets it still has.

While Germany suggested that the anti-missile shield should  be considered as a substitute for the nuclear deterrent, thus paving the way for a complete nuclear disarmament in Europe, France stated clearly that the shield had to be just a backup and not a replacement, and that the Alliance had to remain a nuclear one.
The two countries eventually reached a compromise though it looked more like a truce.

Apart from these little skirmishes between European capitals, analysts say the problem is Turkish. Indeed, the enmity between Cyprus and Turkey keeps blocking the EU and NATO from effectively cooperating. The asymmetry is caused by the fact that Turkey is a NATO but not an EU member, while Cyprus is in the EU but it is not part of the Alliance nor did it join NATOs Partnership for Peace, which is one of the conditions for non- NATO members for having access to classified information. As a result of their mutual blockade, a lot of security-related topics cannot be discussed on an official level. This dispute was also used as an excuse by France who did not want the US to sneak its way into European business. But after Sarkozys decision to rejoin NATOs integrated military command structure, France does not represent a problem anymore.

Therefore is the gridlock to be ascribed just to Turkey? What is really preventing the EU-NATO cooperation from effectively working?

The question we should be asking is whether the EU really wants its own European defense. The 27 head of states should at least agree on the meaning of the CSDP and in particular on the meaning of the D letter before pretending to speak with a single, or even a few voices. For instance, about security and defense matters, no one exactly knows who the right person to talk to is: Mr. Van Rompuy who represents member countries or Jos Manuel Barroso who leads the European Commission? Or one of the 27 national capitals which of course have their own say in this? Or, last but not least, the newly elected EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security, Lady Ashton?

When it comes to taking decisions about foreign policy or defense and security, the so called Union dissolves in a matter of seconds.

Indeed, fragmentation of defense structures in Europe can be found at all levels.  First of all, in the treaties.

Since December 2009, the Treaty of Lisbon (art. 346) protects member States weapons production and trade from competition rules of the common European market. The article states:

The provisions of this Treaty shall not preclude the application of the following rules:
(b) any Member State may take such measures as it considers necessary for the protection of the essential interests of its security which are connected with the production of or trade in arms, munitions and war material; such measures shall not adversely affect the conditions of competition in the common market regarding products which are not intended for specifically military purposes.

It basically implies that the EU can say or do nothing about countries choices on defense and security policies.

Even if in 1958 an exhaustive list defining all the exceptional cases that had to limit the use of art. 346 was adopted, this list was never published and the member States kept extensively applying the article to protect defense markets from complying with the EU common market laws. 

As a result of this individualistic approach, the Commission says, EU states have created a fragmented market, a duplication of military programs and obviously a difficulty in coming up with funds.

As the New York Times pointed out, since each state has a sovereign right to equip its military in order to protect "the essential interests of its security, European countries prefer retaining 21 different naval shipyards, or having 89 different weapons programs, while the U.S. with a defense budget that is more than twice the size of the EUs, has only 27.

Of course the EU is not a military alliance and it is not meant to be one. But the Union already proved once to be unable to halt the progression of the conflict in the Balkan region and to maintain peace in its own backyard. That is why it is time for the Union to find its own defense autonomy and stop being considered the economic extension of NATO or for the CSDP to be just one of the pillars of the Alliance. Kosovo must be the exception, not the rule.

This does not mean that the two institutions should not cooperate, on the contrary their cooperation should be improved, but on three conditions:
NATO has to remain essentially a regional military alliance and has to stop considering the CSDP as its subordinate, and try to find the way for an equal partnership instead;

The European Union has to decide to what extent defense and security matters can be unified, and to what extent 27 members can actually think as ONE;
The two have to overcome the mutual distrust and the open competition in gaining the members funds.

I must admit, this is easier said than done.

Source : Journal of Turkish Weekly

                  by  Giulia Torresin

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