Center for Strategic Decision Research


Contribution of the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) and European Security and Defense Policy (ESDP) to the New Security Framework

Lieutenant General Rainer Schuwirth
Director General of the European Union Military Staff


Let me say first that CFSP and ESDP are not an exclusive end in themselves. We all know that the EU will be enlarged-the 10 acceding states already participate in all activities-and that the effect or process will certainly assist in promoting further stability. In addition, many of the acceding states will be new NATO members as well, so there will be complementary effects. Slovak State Secretary Ivan Kor c ok pointed out rightly that the European Union's military capability, the Headline Goal, will profit from the efforts that the acceding countries made through Partnership for Peace or the Membership Action Plan, but we should also remember that security and stability as a whole will profit by the efforts these countries make through EU membership, in economic as well as social and political areas. 

Currently, several very intense dialogues are taking place on a bilateral basis, with the United States, with Russia, with Ukraine, and with others, and we are particularly happy about this. And though during the last two International Workshops I whole-heartedly complained about the absence of firm EU/NATO relations, since the spring of 2003 this problem has been solved. Now we not only have permanent EU/NATO arrangements, but we use them. 

As good as that kind of cooperation is now, which addresses the prevailing security environment, it certainly needs to be deepened. To do so, the network needs to be further broadened and, in particular, the security and stability objectives we all share need to be translated into coherent and efficient action that produces the right results. One could briefly describe this process as "We need to solve problems without creating new problems." 


This brings me to my second point, the need to make cooperative efforts a reality. I will use three ongoing operations as examples of this kind of transformation. 

Since January 1, 2003, the European Union has run the police mission (EUPM) in Bosnia. This is an operation that was taken over from the United Nations and is now being conducted in close cooperation not only with the local authorities in Bosnia, because the objective is to assist the country in building up its police security capabilities, but also in close cooperation with the NATO-led Stabilization Force (SFOR) in the country. 

The second practical example is the EU mission that has been ongoing since the end of March 2003 in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM). Here we not only cooperate with NATO but we also use the Berlin Plus Agreements. Some of the NATO assets and capabilities being used include using SHAPE as the operational headquarters and having the Deputy SACEUR as the top military commander. So far this cooperative effort has worked extremely well. 

The third practical example is the recently launched EU-led military operation in the Republic of Congo. This operation came about following a request by the United Nations for a limited engagement time, and it has a limited mandate and a limited military task as well. As part of the operation we cooperate closely with the United Nations and the United Nations-led MONUC operation within the country. Yet it is an operation without recourse to NATO, following the "framework nation" principle. In this case, France provides the framework nation. 


Now I would like to make a few additional remarks about these practical examples. 

My first point is that the involvement in FYROM by both NATO and the European Union may be one of the very few times, if not the only time, when, by engaging the international community early on, it was possible to prevent a civil war like those we have observed in Bosnia and other places. However, this is an area in which the international community must still do better. While crisis prevention is the term often used, in many cases we do not actually prevent crises, but only react to them once they have turned into wars. 

To do better and to improve we need clear objectives and clear political, military, and civil approaches. We all know that military action alone will never result in the desired end state, so we must coordinate the application of instruments as well as agree prior to the operation on a very clearly defined end state. When there is no clarity about real objectives, there is no clarity about the end state, and we risk prolonging missions. Not having an end state in mind has kept forces in crisis areas longer than was originally thought. 

My second point concerning these three examples is that I personally would be very cautious about using the sequence of operational responsibility as a blueprint for the future. I think we would be heading in a very risky direction if the only future pattern of employment is: first, just one or a couple of countries form a coalition of the willing to start an operation; second, NATO takes over and assumes responsibility for a couple of months or years; and, third, the European Union takes over. The right and coordinated approach on responsibilities must be taken from the beginning. 

This brings me to my third point, which concerns capabilities. This is another area in which further efforts are required. On the one hand, Europe has enormous capabilities in particular areas, certainly also in the military domain; but, on the other hand, we have to overcome fragmented defense efforts that have been ongoing over a long period, a result of a lack of coordination and cooperation between EU and NATO members. 

Currently, however, several initiatives, such as NATO's Prague Capability Commitment and the European Capability Action Plan, are underway. Here member-states must achieve to understand what is necessary and develop the will to cooperate, coordinate, and harmonize in order to deliver capabilities using a more coherent approach. There are also numerous promising initiatives and very concrete projects that over time will certainly improve European capabilities, but they will not have a short-term effect. Time and further efforts are needed for coordination and harmonization. 

It has been mentioned that our financial input requires better output. But it remains to be seen to what extent capitals will be willing to continue along this path and to improve delivery of capabilities because, in the end, they are responsible. Also the project of a new European agency for defense-procurement research and development, whatever this will look like, will have a positive effect only if member-states are willing to use it for development and real delivery. 

A lot has been said regarding the fight against the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and against terrorism. I will just mention, as my final point, that the European Union, within the framework of CFSP and ESDP, is deeply engaged, primarily on the civilian side and in cooperation with a lot of other countries, in getting a better grip on the risks and threats posed by terrorism and proliferation. 


CFSP and ESDP have taken up the security challenges in a very strong way. While I could add more examples and details, I would like to go back to my initial point. I think we must follow our simple formula together, not alone but in a coordinated, cooperative, and complementary way, because in the end we have the same, or at least very similar, objectives. This is what the EU hopes to contribute to with its strategic policy paper. Ambassador von Ploetz mentioned that a first draft was recently presented to the Heads of State and Government in Thessaloniki. While this is just the beginning, we hope it will add to the overall effort.


Top of page | Home | ©2003 Center for Strategic Decision Research