Center for Strategic Decision Research


Transatlantic Partnership and Multinational Cooperation

His Excellency Jan Trøjborg
Minister of Defense of Denmark

It is a distinct pleasure for me to welcome all of you to the XVIIIth International Workshop. The themes for the Workshop--European security, crisis management, transatlantic trade and industrial cooperation, European defense, and the strengthening of the transatlantic relationship-touch on the very essence of our current security and defense policy. They underline the fact that security in Europe and across the Atlantic is firmly embedded in a multinational framework.


The transatlantic Alliance has thus far been the primary vehicle for integrating Europe's new democracies. The prospect of membership in NATO has been the driving force for continuing democratic development, settling border disputes, protecting minority rights, and implementing economic and defense reforms. NATO does not avoid important problems. The enlargement of NATO and the enlargement of the EU are key to our continued effort to expand security and stability in the Euro-Atlantic area. We have both a moral and a political obligation to keep alive the vision of "a Europe whole and free." The next round of enlargement must be decided at the NATO Summit in Prague 2002. There must be no red lines, and no one must be excluded regardless of geographical location.

While EU enlargement and NATO enlargement are converging, EU membership is no substitute for NATO membership. The transatlantic relationship has been the bedrock of both European and North American foreign, security, and defense policy for much of the past century. It will remain equally strong and important in the new century. It will, however, be a different and more mature relationship-not built on European weakness, but on a more balanced partnership. I see the EU as an attractive global partner for the U.S.


The development of the ESDP is an essential element in maintaining the vitality of the transatlantic relationship. Close, coherent, and transparent relations; joint interests; and military effectiveness and capabilities will be determining factors in the evolving relationship between the EU and NATO. To be credible the ESDP must tangibly enhance European capabilities, which are equally Alliance capabilities. We have only one set of armed forces. On both sides of the Atlantic, multinationalism and cooperation within a multinational framework will be key to moving forward. Working in this way is not always the easiest method of doing business, but it is the only way if we are to meet future needs. Significant improvements in European capabilities are possible if we remove some of the obstacles to multinational cooperation.


In many ways, crisis response operations are much more complicated than most Cold War scenarios. That is because they call for flexible military forces able to handle many different tasks. At present we need militaries that are geared to operate with other nations. We must take this into account as we develop training procedures, doctrine, equipment, and technology. Cooperation will demand compromises and it will demand interoperability.

In addition to cooperating, we also must increase our procurement budgets. Some capabilities can be obtained only if several countries team together. We need to explore more fully joint and multinational solutions, and ensure that resources are spent on today's and tomorrow's needs rather than yesterday's. If the political will permits, the Alliance Ground Surveillance, or AGS, will become a good example of how capabilities can be provided through multinational cooperation. NATO's military authorities have for years listed AGS as their most urgently needed capability, and I sincerely hope a compromise can be found very soon.


Transatlantic defense cooperation will be key to force cooperation in future operations. We must avoid a high-tech/low-tech division of labor within the Alliance, with the U.S. providing high-tech forces and the European Allies providing low-tech soldiers. The U.S. will need to share technology with European Allies as trusted friends. A free transfer of technology-in both directions-will prevent our defense industries from going off in different technological directions, a situation that would impede much-needed operational and technical interoperability. We need global competition based on transatlantic cooperation. In a global community, no country remains unaffected by developments, good or bad. NATO, the EU, and the UN are all manifestations of the need for a cooperative approach to security, prosperity, and democracy.


The new security environment has opened up fundamentally new opportunities and challenges for the international community. The challenges include how to handle the increasing threat from weapons of mass destruction, and how this threat affects our traditional concepts. Tight demands on government spending will require new and more flexible approaches and multinational cooperation. What we are seeking to achieve through the Defense Capabilities Initiative (DCI) is at the center of all this, and applies equally to the European Security and Defense Policy (ESDP) and NATO. But multinationalism is not new. It has been at the core of NATO's strength throughout the years, just as common procedures, training, doctrines, and standards have been at the core of our capabilities. We must preserve multinationalism as we move ahead, and be careful not to give in to the temptation to renationalize NATO structures.


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