Select Committee on Defence Seventh Report


ENLARGEMENT

41. Article 10 of the Washington Treaty sets out that new states may accede to NATO—

The Parties may, by unanimous agreement, invite any other European State in a position to further the principles of this Treaty and to contribute to the security of the North Atlantic area to accede to this Treaty.

The most recent new members were the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland, who formally acceded to NATO at the Washington Summit in April 1999, following invitations being issued at the Madrid Summit in 1997.

Membership Action Plan

42. Building on the lessons of that enlargement, the Washington Summit also launched NATO's Membership Action Plan (MAP) as a means of offering a more systematic process for aspirant countries in preparing for membership. The MAP aims to provide advice, assistance and practical support to applicant countries. Nine countries completed the third round of the MAP in the spring: Albania, Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Romania, Slovakia, and Slovenia. Croatia was invited to join the fourth round of MAP, and therefore to be considered as an applicant, at the Reykjavik Summit in May.[47]

43. Participation in the MAP does not guarantee membership and it is not a checklist of requirements which applicants need to fulfil, unlike the European Union acquis system for EU applicants. Countries submit annual national programmes setting out progress under a number of headings: political and economic, defence and military, resource, security, and legal issues. They are able to chose the elements in the MAP which are most appropriate to their particular circumstances and national priorities for reform and to set their own objectives, which are updated annually. Progress reports are submitted to NATO foreign and defence ministers each year.

44. MAP goals for aspirant countries include the following—

Political and economic

peaceful resolution of any international, ethnic or territorial disputes

demonstrating commitment to the rule of law and human rights

establishing democratic control of the armed forces

promoting economic liberty, social justice and environmental responsibility.

Defence and military

ability to contribute to collective defence and NATO missions

participation in the Partnership for Peace.

Resources

to commit sufficient resources to defence to meet future NATO commitments.

Security

to have procedures in place to ensure the security of sensitive information.

Legal

to ensure that legal arrangements and agreements governing co-operation with NATO are compatible with domestic legislation.

Implications of Enlargement for NATO

45. Some have expressed the view that the three most recent members of NATO have been good political members but that their military contribution to date has been disappointing. Dr Jonathan Eyal commented in April that—

The experience of integrating the three former Warsaw Pact states ... has not been a particularly happy one. Poland has behaved responsibly and shown a determination to contribute as much as possible to NATO, although even Poland had to scale down its interoperability promises. But the Czechs and Hungarians have done very little to revamp their decrepit military or procure new, NATO-compatible equipment ...[48]

The Secretary of State was keen to point out that the three countries have supplied 'extremely useful components' on international deployments when they have been asked to.[49] Representatives of the new members at NATO agreed that military integration had been more difficult and had taken more time and money than they had anticipated; indeed full military integration was likely to take ten years. NATO officials were anxious to ensure that the enlargement process was smoother for any new members this time round and that they were prepared for the significant challenges which membership would inevitably bring. Representatives of the new members believed that the enlargement process was more sophisticated now, and that the MAP had helped considerably in ensuring there were fewer adjustment problems.

46. A particular problem experienced by the last tranche of new members was in training sufficient officers to meet the English language requirements for staff posts allocated to each of the countries at NATO HQ. Some of the current applicants have learned from this. In Romania, for example, we were told that the level of English amongst officers was already better than in some existing NATO members. Over 700 officers are already capable of meeting NATO standards, and a larger pool will be available by early 2004. Romania has also identified the posts within its own Ministry of National Defence which will require proficiency in English and is focusing efforts on senior officers. The Baltic Defence College, which trains officers of the three Baltic States, conducts its teaching in English.

47. Those within NATO to whom we spoke informally believed that the MAP process had encouraged applicants to be frank about their capabilities. The fact that the present tranche could offer only very limited capabilities was not regarded as an unmanageable problem, provided there was a clear commitment to improve.

48. We were told that the additional contribution to the NATO budget if most of the applicants were admitted would be low—probably around 2-3 per cent of the current budget. There would be some costs involved in assisting new members with essential infrastructure, particularly air defence and communications, but this was regarded as being manageable. Worries that enlargement would result in large sums of additional expenditure for NATO featured prominently during the last round of enlargement in 1997 and proved to be unwarranted.[50] There are also a number of important issues which a substantial enlargement will raise concerning NATO's internal decision-making and administrative structures, which we discuss below (see paragraphs 142-149).

The enlargement process after Prague

49. At the meeting of NATO ministers at Reykjavik in May, applicants were encouraged to intensify their efforts to meet the MAP criteria, both up to and beyond the Prague Summit and a timescale for enlargement was set out, with the goal of accession on a common date.[51] By the time of the Prague Summit, applicants are expected to have demonstrated—

  a commitment to the basic principles and values set out in the Washington Treaty

  the capability to contribute to collective defence and the Alliance's full range of missions

          a firm commitment to contribute to stability and security, especially in regions of crisis and conflict

  a willingness and ability to assume the responsibilities of membership.[52]

It is planned that the submission of the next round of annual national plans (ANPs) will take place in the autumn; invitations will then be issued at the Prague Summit on 21-22 November. Early in 2003, the ANPs will be revised and accession negotiations will begin; at the meeting of NATO Foreign Ministers in May 2003, protocols of accession will be signed, and the national ratification process and the fifth round of the MAP will begin, with a view to accession of new members in early 2004.[53] Immediately after Prague, as part of the negotiations on the accession protocols, NATO experts will discuss with each country invited a timetable of specific reforms to be undertaken before and beyond accession. The fifth round of the MAP will continue during the ratification process to ensure that momentum is maintained.[54]

The applicants

50. We visited seven of the applicant countries in May, to assess the progress they had made to date and their likely preparedness by the time of the Prague Summit. We divided into three groups for the visits: one of which went to the Baltic States—Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania; one to Bulgaria and Romania; and one to Slovakia and Slovenia. All of the countries are also applicants for European Union membership.

THE BALTIC STATES

51. The view of our predecessors in 1998, when the Baltic States were candidates in the previous round of enlargement, was that: 'clearly they do meet many of the criteria which would be the first hurdle towards NATO membership' and saw the major obstacle as the difficulty Russia would have in accepting their accession to NATO, given their shared borders and that they had been part of the former Soviet Union.[55] Relations between NATO and Russia have moved on significantly in the four years since that report although there were still a number of negative comments made to us during our recent visit to Russia about the implications of the Baltic States joining NATO. The Russian President has publicly expressed the view that it would be 'no tragedy' if they joined and that this would not damage the countries' relations with Russia, although he took the view that NATO enlargement improved no-one's security, neither the applicants, nor NATO itself.[56]

52. Strong anti-Russian sentiments are found in each of the Baltic States. NATO needs to ensure that these views do not adversely affect the Alliance's relations with Russia. Equally, we would hope that Russia would recognise that there is mutual benefit to be gained from the Baltic States becoming members of NATO. Full incorporation of Russian minorities in Latvia and Estonia will be a continuing challenge and one we expect them to rise to. We discuss the wider question of NATO-Russia relations in more detail below (see paragraphs 93-99).

53. Our view is that the Baltic States should be assessed for NATO membership on their individual merits, in the same way as other applicants. The three countries are small and integrating them into NATO would present no particular difficulties. Their armed forces have had to be built from scratch following the collapse of the Soviet Union and the re-establishment of the countries as independent states. Although, in each case, their armed forces are small, they offer a number of 'niche' capabilities that would be useful. Co-operation and joint working between the three states in defence issues is strong, notably in the Baltic Defence College, located in Estonia, which provides common training, in English, to senior staff officers.

Estonia

                

54. Estonia has recently completed a force structure review for its armed forces, looking ahead to 2015. Its intention is to focus on specialist capabilities which will be of value to NATO, one of which is mine counter-measures (which are also a necessary requirement for national purposes in the region, because of the huge amount of ordnance in the Baltic Sea). Large numbers of the land forces are reserves, although a much higher proportion of the Navy and Air Force are regulars. Estonia is seeking to acquire equipment which is NATO compatible as well as easy to maintain and necessary for Estonia's own purposes. Estonia has contributed some 900 military personnel to peace support operations, mainly in the Balkans, since the mid-1990s. We were told that Estonia's contribution to NATO will be: one battalion for Article 5 missions (known as ESTBAT), plus continued participation in peace support operations, mine counter-measures and support ships.

55. The Estonian government intends to devote two per cent of GDP to defence expenditure for the foreseeable future. There is strong public support for this level of defence spending, and for NATO membership. MAP is regarded as helpful and as a significant improvement on the previous enlargement process. We heard anti-Russian views expressed in a number of quarters, and there is a significant Russian minority, but no particular problems with Russia are envisaged if Estonia becomes a NATO member.

Latvia

56. Public support in Latvia for NATO membership is around 60 per cent and there is no major political opposition to the policy. Legislation was passed in May requiring two per cent of GDP to be spent on defence from 2003 to 2008; defence spending has already quadrupled since 1998. The aim is to accompany this with restructuring of the defence budget: in 2001, 89 per cent was spent on personnel and operational costs and only 11 per cent on investment; the intention is to increase expenditure on investment, procurement and infrastructure to 33 per cent by 2005; and to 38 per cent by 2008. The number of land force units will be reduced, in order to streamline administration, although the total force size will remain steady. Latvia is focusing on specialist capabilities, such as explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) and an EOD school has been set up which the three Baltic States are expected to contribute to. There is also a trilateral logistics project, and a joint air surveillance radar procurement project with Estonia.

57. Work is under way to integrate the General Staff and the Ministry of Defence. There are no plans to end conscription; conscripts are not deployed overseas and do not therefore participate in peace-keeping operations; all deployable forces will be professionals. The development of a professional NCO corps is regarded as a priority and an NCO academy has been established.

58. One of the problems Latvia has had to seek to resolve as part of the application process has been its treatment of its Russian minority, which constitutes about 30 per cent of the population (increasing to 50 per cent in the capital, Riga). Russia has in the past accused Latvia of violations of human rights of this minority although the UN, the OSCE and the Council of Europe have declared these claims to be unfounded. The problem of ethnic Russians is also being dealt with by the European Union as part of its application process, and a legislative solution, which would result in equal political and civil rights for ethnic Russians in Latvia, is expected by the end of the year.

Lithuania

59. Lithuania is committed to spending two per cent of GDP on defence until 2004, but we were told that this level of spending is likely to extend well beyond this date. The MAP process was regarded as beneficial and had provided open and very frank feedback. The priorities for defence reform are training, living conditions for Service personnel and procuring appropriate equipment. The main focus of the contribution to NATO would be combat troops for Article 5 missions, plus specialised capabilities, such as special forces, and medical services. This is already being demonstrated in that a small medical team has recently gone to Afghanistan to join a Czech field hospital as part of the international coalition. Public support for NATO membership was around 60 per cent at the time of our visit. Civilian control of the military is specified in the constitution.

60. We discussed the issue of Kaliningrad during our visit. Kaliningrad is a Russian enclave separated from Russia's main territory by Lithuania and Belarus. It poses some major problems for Lithuania in relation to both its NATO and EU applications. It has a population of almost 1 million, 78 per cent of whom are Russians. Standards of living are much lower than in the surrounding Baltic States and its traditional industries are dwindling. There are 25,000 Russian troops stationed there and, as a former military base within the Warsaw Pact, it has a legacy of environmental pollution which has a significant impact on the Baltic Sea region.[57] Any compromise solution on transit arrangements agreed as part of the EU negotiations would also have an impact on the Alliance, since it would concern the movement of Russian citizens—both civilian and military. The current arrangements for military transit were concluded between Lithuania and Russia in 1995, and could, on the whole, continue. Indeed, this transit through Alliance territory may be the first indication of a qualitatively new relationship between NATO and Russia.

BULGARIA AND ROMANIA

61. Bulgaria and Romania are regarded as the back-markers of the seven most likely candidates for accession. They are both large countries with huge armed forces. Political, economic and defence reform are taking longer in these two countries than in the smaller NATO applicant countries. On the other hand, their geographical location offers value in promoting stability in the Balkans; in combating potential terrorist activities in the Black Sea area; and in providing a bridge between central Europe and Greece and Turkey, as well as assisting in the difficult relationship between those two NATO members. The Secretary of State for Defence visited Bulgaria and Romania last month and was reported as being positive about their membership of NATO, without giving a categorical commitment of UK support.[58]

Bulgaria

62. Progress on military reform in Bulgaria has been slow to date, largely due to frequent changes of government and defence ministers, and a long-running dispute between the General Staff and the government over political control of the military. A study of civilian control of the military and the integration of the MoD and the General Staff had reported shortly before our visit; at least one of the problems in implementing it was the need to provide more training for civilians in defence administration.

63. Bulgaria retains the legacy of large, conscript armed forces from its Warsaw Pact days. As a result of a recent force structure review, it is planned to reduce the armed forces to 45,000 by 2004 (from a total of 120,000 in 1989) and the first stage of compulsory discharges, involving 7,000 personnel will take place this year, with a similar number in each of the next two years. Bulgaria has small contingents working with SFOR and KFOR, and has deployed a 40-strong NBC (nuclear, biological and chemical) decontamination unit in support of the ISAF in Afghanistan, with the possibility of further deployments, dependent on funding being available from the UN. There is one brigade which is currently deployable for NATO operations. 5,500 military personnel will be trained for peace-keeping missions.

64. Disposal of obsolete equipment is also one of the priorities under the MAP; shortly after our visit, Bulgaria signed an agreement with the USA to destroy about 100 SS-23 surface-to-surface missiles by November, at a cost of several million pounds. Bulgaria also intends to destroy 352 battle tanks, 324 armoured personnel carriers, 405 artillery systems and seven ships. The number of combat aircraft will also be reduced by almost half; four of Bulgaria's 20 MiG-29s are to be upgraded at a cost of $14 million.[59] The airbase at Graf Ignatievo, which we visited, was upgraded last year to NATO standards at a cost of $25 million.

65. Support amongst political parties for NATO membership is almost universal; public support is high, ranging between 65 and 70 per cent. The defence budget is just over 3 per cent of GDP, the highest of any of the applicants; it has been at this level for five years and no change is likely in the next 10 years. During our visit, Romania and Bulgaria issued a joint declaration establishing a co-operative relationship towards NATO membership.

Romania

66. Romania was a candidate for membership in the last round of enlargement, before the Madrid Summit in 1997, and there was great disappointment that no invitation was forthcoming then. Public support for NATO membership runs at about 80 per cent. Romania has plans for military reform which are assessed as being realistic but there is still work to do in a number of areas. The defence budget is 2.38 per cent of GDP, fixed for three years, which is regarded as sustainable. Reform of the armed forces has really only got properly under way in the last two years, with a focus on producing mobile, deployable units, reducing the number of conscripts, and building up a professional NCO cadre. The armed forces number 98,000, with a plan to reduce them to 75,000; the number of senior officers needs to be substantially reduced. English language training is a particular strength (see paragraph 46). Civilian control of the military is an accepted principle, but civil service salaries are low and it is sometimes difficult to retain high quality staff.

67. Romanian personnel serve with KFOR and SFOR; and the US uses the Romanian port of Constanta for its Kosovo deployment. The point was made to us that Romania is already a far bigger contributor to NATO missions than some existing members. An infantry battalion has been deployed to Afghanistan; a platoon of military police is serving with the ISAF; and a C-130 transport aircraft has also been sent and is being heavily used by coalition forces. Romanians have also assisted with the training of the Afghan National Guard. A further deployment of a 400-strong motorised infantry battalion, as front-line fighting troops, a 70-strong NBC company and 10 staff officers to Afghanistan has been approved, with the intention of self-deploying, in contrast to most other coalition members who have relied on the US for transport.[60]

68. On the equipment side, there are plans to upgrade Romania's MiG-21s; but limited resources currently mean that flying hours for crew are extremely limited. Romania has also agreed to buy two UK Type-22 frigates (HMS Coventry and HMS London) to improve the capabilities of its Black Sea fleet in monitoring and intercepting illegal traffic.[61]

69. The country's defence industry needs to be restructured—during the Cold War it employed hundreds of thousands of people and over-produced by about 75 per cent. An assessment of the armed forces' specific needs has been made and the industry will be scaled down to reflect this.

SLOVAKIA

70. Slovakia is regarded as a strong candidate for NATO membership, on the basis of its military and other reforms, but the caveat has to be the outcome of the country's general election in September. Former prime minister Meciar, who was in power from 1994-98, turned the country away from democratic principles and the rule of law and allowed the economy to stagnate. The current coalition government is experiencing problems in retaining popular support and Meciar's HZDS party may well emerge from the election as the largest single party, although it will need the support of other parties to form a government. NATO is very unlikely to agree to admit Slovakia if Meciar is involved in any way in the government. Another political problem is the dispute with Hungary over its claims to represent the 10 per cent of Slovakia's population who are ethnic Hungarians (about half a million people). Tension increased during Hungary's recent election campaign but, now that the election is over, it is hoped that Hungarian political representatives will now be less provocative.

71. Public support for NATO membership is around 60 per cent and support in the parliament is about 85 per cent. Following adverse NATO progress reports on defence reform last year, a Comprehensive Defence Review was undertaken, much of it with UK assistance, which resulted in more realistic planning and budget systems being put in place. The aim is fundamentally to overhaul the forces by ending conscription and reducing numbers from 41,500 to 24,500 by 2006; closing down 75 per cent of military bases; and modernising or disposing of out of date equipment—for example, two-thirds of Slovakia's 272 tanks will be decommissioned. Defence expenditure is planned to remain at 1.9 per cent of GDP until 2006, followed by a very modest increase to 2.0 per cent. Slovakian forces are deployed as part of KFOR and there are plans to send an engineering unit to Afghanistan.

SLOVENIA

72. Slovenia is regarded as a front-runner for NATO membership and was very disappointed not to be invited in the last round of enlargement. It has the healthiest economy of the applicant countries and is regarded as a 'model state' in terms of its internal cohesion and its adherence to democratic principles and the rule of law. But there are some problems. Perhaps unsurprisingly in a country which sees no obvious military threat, defence comes low down the priority list for public spending, and is currently at 1.51 per cent of GDP (increased from 1.46 per cent last year) with a planned increase to only 1.6 per cent by 2007. Public support for NATO membership, which was strong during the last enlargement round, is now down to around 40 per cent, and it is far from clear if a referendum would receive the positive vote for membership which was previously considered to be assured. In contrast, support among parliamentarians is around 90 per cent.

73. Slovenia's progress on defence reform has been disappointing: the proposals are realistic but implementation has been slow. There is agreement that conscription should be abolished, with a suggested date of 2004, and a professional NCO cadre established. Armed forces are planned to reduce from 74,000 (which includes a large reserve force) to 26,000, which will be all-professional but only 8,000 of whom will be full-time. It has not yet been made clear how this policy will be taken forward as the armed forces are not an obvious career choice for young people at present. Some question whether such a professional force, even at this greatly reduced level, will be financially sustainable. There is a deliberate policy of focussing the increase in the defence budget on providing usable and effective personnel, rather than on any modernisation of equipment. The reformed military is intended to be more mobile and to have better command and control infrastructure. A small contingent is deployed to SFOR, including a support helicopter force.

SECURITY SERVICES

74. The organisation and democratic control of the internal, external and military intelligence services is a challenge which confronts many of the current members of the Alliance. Without doubt, however, the problem for applicant countries is more acute and these issues remain controversial, particularly in south-eastern Europe. One issue is the continued employment of intelligence officers who worked for the former communist regimes. This fact alone should not act as a bar to these countries' future membership of the Alliance, any more than it presented an obstacle when the first three former communist countries joined the Alliance in 1997. Nevertheless, the integrity of the security services in the candidate countries and their credibility as efficient, democratic organisations is inextricably linked to their reputation at home. It is clear that on this score much more remains to be done.

75. Furthermore, there are serious questions about the lines of accountability of these services. In Romania, the internal and external security services are not responsible to ministers or the Prime Minister but directly to the President, through the Supreme Council of National Defence, an arrangement which is acknowledged as unsatisfactory by most of the country's politicians. The heads of the services are also—and overtly—political appointees, and parliamentary control is almost non-existent. The situation is better in Bulgaria but even there disputes over the control of the intelligence services continue between individual ministers, as well as the government and the presidency. In Slovakia, parliamentary committees have been set up to scrutinise the military intelligence and security services, but their position is currently weakened by the refusal of HZDS deputies to take part in or to chair committees.

76. The elaboration of a true 'defence community', which coordinates the activities of the various agencies defending the state, allocates tasks and ensures a steady flow of information to the government is still a serious task which all the candidate countries need to consider tackling urgently.

Prospects for enlargement

77. It now seems to be generally agreed that the most likely outcome of the enlargement process will be that between five and seven countries will be invited to join NATO at the Prague Summit.[62] The MoD told us that—

There has been no Alliance agreement on how many invitations should be issued at Prague, or to whom—though there is a current of opinion within the Alliance favouring a substantial enlargement.[63]

Our academic witnesses took the view that decisions about NATO enlargement will be primarily political rather than military. The principal objective would be to demonstrate that the countries are regarded as part of the West; to encourage them to continue liberal democratic reform; and to promote stability both within the countries and regionally.[64] Professor Beatrice Heuser of the Department of War Studies, King's College London, believed that decisions about NATO membership had always been based on political and not military standards.[65] Charles Grant's view was that this reflected the fact that NATO was itself becoming a more political organisation—

It is obvious that it is becoming more political, that enlargement, taking in countries that have got ineffective armed forces, makes it more of a political organisation ...[66]

The Secretary of State believed that the military considerations were as important as the political—

We have any number of very effective international organisations where we can exchange political views and political ideas, and this is the one organisation where its raison d'être is its effective military operation ...We want to see a robust round of enlargement, we want to see new Member States in NATO some time after Prague, but we equally want to see NATO preserved as an effective military alliance and those countries making an effective military contribution.[67]

NATO intends to carry out 'country-specific military analyses of the Alliance's ability to conduct its missions after enlargement' in advance of the Prague Summit.[68]

78. All of the applicants have strengths and weaknesses. There are strong geopolitical reasons for admitting Bulgaria and Romania: they have made significant progress, which should be encouraged, despite the fact that their political, economic and military reform programmes have a long way to go. The Baltic States, Slovakia and Slovenia are less

problematic because of their size, but Slovakia should not be admitted if Meciar is involved in its government after the September elections.

79. We recognise that enlargement will be a political decision, but we wish to see an assurance that none of the seven applicants will weaken NATO militarily—although we accept that they may not strengthen it very much either, at least initially. We believe that NATO should be a tough organisation to be a member of. The UK government has a strong belief in NATO and in the need to retain the Alliance's role as a capable military alliance, and it is therefore prepared to push for high standards for new entrants, even when this makes it unpopular. We wholeheartedly support this approach. On the other hand, there is an argument that progress already achieved by the applicant countries will be encouraged and sustained by allowing them to continue to reform within, rather than outside, NATO, with the possible disincentives that rejection might create. On this basis, we see no obstacle in principle to the issuing of invitations to each of these seven applicants (although in Slovakia's case this must be with the caveat of the outcome of the September elections) with the proviso that applicants continue to work hard on defence and political reforms up to and beyond any invitation issued at Prague.

Continuation of the open door policy

80. We have focused on the seven countries which we believe are the most likely candidates for invitations at Prague. It was made clear at the Reykjavik Summit that NATO will retain an open door policy. Croatia was singled out, in the final communiqué, for commendation on its progress to date; however, the intention is to review its MAP progress next spring, rather than there being any prospect of an invitation at Prague. Albania and Macedonia are also expected to continue in the MAP process, rather than the accession process, after Prague.

81. NATO should maintain its support and encouragement of all applicants, both those who are invited to become members at Prague and those who are not. This is crucial to ensuring that the countries which are invited to join are not tempted to slow or halt the considerable progress they have made to date and that they come into NATO as planned in 2004 with the maximum achieved. It is equally important that those who are disappointed at Prague are not left with any sense of having been abandoned and that NATO continues to work with them to ensure that they develop into suitable candidates in the medium term.

82. There is also the question of possible NATO membership for three countries which are members of the European Union and therefore part of the European Security and Defence Policy—Austria, Finland and Sweden. All are members of NATO's Partnership for Peace. William Hopkinson believed that Sweden and Finland may be less likely to wish to join NATO now than five years ago and that the admission of the Baltic States would be more important to them than their own membership because of the increased stability it would bring to the region.[69] We were told by NATO officials that Finland may reconsider a possible membership application after its next general election. There is also the possibility that a decision will be taken at Prague to include Yugoslavia in a membership dialogue with the Alliance. This will of course depend on the country's democratic progress and its continued co-operation with the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia.

Defence Diplomacy

83. The United Kingdom has been providing military assistance to all of the applicant countries which we visited for a number of years and continues to do so, in the form of both military and civilian defence advisers. In Bulgaria, for example, a UK MoD civilian works with the Bulgarian Ministry of Defence, providing advice on programming, planning, budgeting and management issues; and a UK military adviser (a colonel) advises the General Staff on force planning, reform of the armed forces, and related issues. In Romania, two defence advisers (one a brigadier) provide advice at the highest levels of the government and the armed forces. Slovakia has one UK military adviser in place (a brigadier) and has requested a second to assist on armed forces' personnel and condition of service issues. A UK civilian defence adviser took up post in Slovenia in September 2000 and, at the country's request, has been extended in post until June 2003. In Latvia, the UK has a civilian military adviser who provides expertise in defence planning, programming and expenditure, and in personnel management. Her knowledge of NATO systems and practices was regarded as particularly helpful. The high regard for MoD advisers was repeated in Estonia and Lithuania.

84. The UK is providing assistance in a number of other ways, including English language and NCO training. There are plans to establish a Junior Staff Officers Course in Slovakia, which will provide staff training for military personnel from central and eastern Europe, with a view to increasing the capacity for participation in peace support operations.[70] In Bulgaria, the FCO is providing financial assistance for training military personnel as part of the planned resettlement programme. In Bucharest, a British officer (a lieutenant colonel) advises the Regional Training Centre, which provides training, in English, on UK military models.

85. We heard universal praise in the applicant countries for the assistance which UK defence advisers are providing, and for the range of other activities which the UK is funding and contributing to. There were many requests for this assistance to carry on after the Prague Summit and we strongly support this. The suggestion has been made that the UK might act as a 'mentor' to one of the countries invited to join NATO at Prague, building on the work done to date by our defence advisers in assisting the invited country in continuing its reforms towards the MAP and accession goals. We believe that this would be a very worthwhile use of resources and would provide an opportunity for the UK to demonstrate its positive attitude to NATO enlargement.


47   Ev 35, paragraph 30 Back

48   NATO's Forthcoming Decisions, RUSI Journal, April 2002; see also Q 83 Back

49   Q 148 Back

50   The issues were discussed in some detail by our predecessors: see Third Report from the Defence Committee, Session 1997-98, HC 469, op cit, paragraphs 53 to 88 Back

51   Reykjavik Communiqué, op cit Back

52   Final Communiqué, Brussels, 6 June 2002, op cit Back

53   Ev 35-36, paragraph 32; see also Reykjavik Communiqué, op cit Back

54   Ev 36 Back

55   HC 469, Session 1997-98, op cit, paragraph 93 Back

56   Daily Telegraph, 25 June 2002, Putin lets NATO 'recruit' in Baltic Back

57   European Union Institute for Security Studies, Occasional Paper 33, March 2002, pp 9-11 Back

58   QQ 139-140; see also local press articles, 19 June 2002, available on BBC Monitoring Back

59   Jane's Defence Weekly, 27 February 2002, 10 April 2002 and 12 June 2002 Back

60   See Romanian troops join 'Enduring Freedom', Jane's Defence Weekly, 24 July 2002 Back

61   Jane's Defence Weekly, 17 April 2002 Back

62   QQ 5, 7, 71, 74 Back

63   Ev 36, paragraph 33 Back

64   QQ 12-13, 76-77 Back

65   Q 79 Back

66   Q 83 Back

67   QQ 135-136 Back

68   Ev 36, paragraph 33 Back

69   QQ 8-9 Back

70   HC Deb, 17 July 2002, c 275w Back


 
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