95. President Putin's decision to offer Russia's
support to the United States following the terrorist attacks of
11 September, and the subsequent significant improvement in relations,
contributed to a new impetus to improve NATO's relations with
Russia. At the Reykjavik Summit in May, NATO leaders welcomed
'the decisive and substantial deepening of the NATO-Russia relationship'
and at a meeting of the PJC the same day, its successor, the NATO-Russia
Council (NRC) was created. NATO and Russian Heads of State and
Government then met at a further summit in Rome on 28 May 2002
formally to establish the NRC.
96. The main difference between the NRC and its predecessor
is that the NRC is intended to enable Russia to participate in
discussions as an equal partner, as one participant among 20 (often
referred to as 'NATO at 20'), rather than the previous format
of 19 NATO members meeting as a body with Russia ('19 + 1'). One
of the main obstacles to the effective working of the PJC has
therefore been removed, although it remains to be seen whether
proper discussions 'at 20' will be a reality. Russia will not
have a veto on NATO decisions.
97. The NRC's programme of meetings will be similar
to that of the PJC: it will meet twice a year at foreign minister
and defence minister level, at ambassadorial level at least once
a month, and at head of state or government level when necessary,
with the NATO Secretary General taking the chair. Chiefs of Staff
meetings will be arranged at least twice a year, and meetings
of military representatives at least once a month. A Preparatory
Committee has been set up at NATO Political Committee level, which
will meet every two weeks to prepare for meetings. Support will
be provided by the NATO-Russia Staff Support Working Group, made
up of members of NATO's international staff and the Russian NATO
mission. Committees and working groups of the Council will be
established as necessary.
A NATO Military Liaison Mission was established in Moscow at the
end of May, to work alongside the NATO Information Office set
up in February 2001. We met members of both during our visit to
98. The main areas on which the Council has agreed
to focus are
theatre missile defence
military co-operation and defence reform
new threats and challenges
search and rescue at sea.
The Secretary of State believed that the effectiveness
of the NRC would be assessed on whether progress was made on these
items, and whether new subjects could then be added to the list.
Professor Heisbourg also took the view that the test of its effectiveness
would be whether its agenda was broadening or narrowing
If you end up talking about the fishery quotas in
the Barents Sea as the sole topic, then you know it is a failure.
That 'the proof of the pudding will be in the eating'
has been frequently quoted to us, both by academic witnesses
and in Moscow. We encountered a considerable amount of residual
suspicion of NATO from some of those we met in Russia and the
potential certainly exists on both sides to prevent the NRC being
productive. William Hopkinson told us
The scene is set for it being a worthwhile thing
but either the Russians or some members of NATO could frustrate
The MoD's view is that the Allies and Russia 'need
to approach the new Council in an active spirit of co-operation'.
Those we met informally at NATO headquarters were optimistic but
realistic about the NRC's prospects.
99. The developments in NATO-Russia relations,
particularly since 11 September, have been exciting and promise
a great deal. We shall be watching their progress with interest.
Despite the disappointment of the PJC, NATO is right to take this
opportunity to test Russia's willingness to engage constructively
in important common security issues. And, correspondingly, NATO
should be wary of giving the impression of any 'pre-cooking' of
100. Ukraine, as Europe's largest country,
has an important role in European and regional security and has
therefore been given special attention by NATO since the end of
the Cold War. Building on Ukraine's participation in Partnership
for Peace, a Charter on a Distinctive Partnership was signed at
the Madrid Summit in 1997, which formally recognised the importance
of an independent, stable and democratic Ukraine and established
the NATO-Ukraine Commission. This was followed by a memorandum
of understanding on civil emergency planning later in the year
and the establishment of both a NATO information centre and a
NATO liaison office in Kyiv.
101. Following the announcement at Reykjavik of the
creation of the NATO-Russia Council, the Ukrainian government
declared for the first time, on 24 May 2002, its objective of
future accession to NATO. The MoD's view is that Ukraine 'is still
well short' of the criteria of a stable democracy, a market economy
and a reformed defence sector which are necessary for any potential
applicant. It points to particular concerns about press freedom
and the supply of heavy weapons to Macedonia, which were discussed
at the NATO-Ukraine ministerial meeting in Reykjavik.
The final communiqué from the Reykjavik summit referred
to giving 'new impetus and substance' to NATO's partnership with
Ukraine, through intensified consultations and co-operation on
political, economic and defence issues. A meeting of the NATO-Ukraine
Commission at Permanent Representative (ambassadorial) level took
place on 8-10 July.
102. Professor Heisbourg believed that the real question
about enlargement was not the present round but 'what we do next
and notably what we do with this enormous chunk and rather, difficult,
awkward chunk which is Ukraine'.
Other witnesses agreed that deciding how to deal with Ukraine
would be 'tricky' for NATO, particularly now that the new relationship
with Russia left Ukraine in a category of its own.
Charles Grant's view was that Ukraine should not be given any
special treatment by NATO beyond what was already in place, given
its 'sub-optimal democratic credentials'.
The Secretary of State believed that Ukraine should be encouraged
to proceed with reform, and that its intention to work towards
NATO membership provided a path for this, which the UK would support.
103. Belarus has been a member of the Euro-Atlantic
Partnership Council and a participant in Partnership for Peace
since 1995. Dr Honig believed that, in a similar way to Ukraine,
if NATO failed to engage properly with Belarus, it would leave
a 'black hole' in the European security community, which could
lead to problems, particularly given the recent improvement in
relations between NATO and Russia.
But it is also incumbent on Belarus to change its attitudes. It
has, for example, shown few signs of moving towards proper democratic
principles and its most recent parliamentary and presidential
elections were deeply flawed and failed to meet OSCE commitments.
104. We believe in the value of NATO engaging constructively
with partner countries which are still some way from being considered
ready to join the membership process. Ukraine and Belarus are
two of the key countries in this category, and we believe NATO
should continue to use a targeted approach, as well as the means
provided through the Partnership for Peace and the Euro-Atlantic
Partnership Council, further to develop this engagement.
NATO and the EU
105. Our predecessors in the last Parliament assessed
in some detail the background to, and development of, the European
Security and Defence Policy and its consequences for NATO.
We discuss here the key points of the policy, as they relate to
NATO, and the developments which have taken place in the last
WEU AND PETERSBERG TASKS
106. In advance of the EU's involvement in security
and defence issues, the Western European Union (WEU) had provided
a forum for discussion on these matters. It began life in the
1950s, when several European countries
were considering the establishment of a European Defence Community.
For most of its existence, the WEU lacked any real role or impetus,
until 1991, when the Maastricht Treaty designated the WEU as the
body which the EU would use to 'elaborate and implement decisions
and actions of the Union which have defence implications'.
At the WEU ministerial meeting at the Petersberg Hotel near Bonn
which followed, in 1992, appropriate missions for the WEU to undertake
in the context of the European 'pillar' of NATO were defined (and
were subsequently known as the 'Petersberg tasks'). These were:
humanitarian and rescue missions; peacekeeping; peacemaking; and
crisis management. Meanwhile, WEU membership increased to take
in Associate Members and Associate Partners, which included non-EU
NATO members and former Soviet bloc countries, and its status
as a link between NATO and the EU grew.
107. The possibility of a European Union 'common
defence policy' was referred to in the 1991 Maastricht Treaty
as part of the European Union's Common European Security and Defence
Policy. The initiative
first gained substance in a declaration by the UK and France,
on 4 December 1998, following a summit meeting in St. Mâlo
between the two countries, which stated that
... the European Union will ... need to have recourse
to suitable military means (European capabilities pre-designated
within NATO's European pillar or national or multinational European
means outside the NATO framework).
This proposal was then developed at the Helsinki
European Council meeting in 1999, where it was announced that
agreement had been reached on
... developing the Union's military and non-military
crisis management capability as part of a strengthened common
European policy on security and defence.
The member states expressed their
... determination to develop an autonomous capacity
to take decisions and, where NATO as a whole is not engaged, to
launch and conduct EU-led military operations in response to international
Further details of the plans were given in the Presidency
Report, adopted at the Council
... by the year 2003, cooperating together voluntarily,
they [the member states] will be able to deploy rapidly and then
sustain forces capable of the full range of Petersberg tasks as
set out in the Amsterdam Treaty, including the most demanding,
in operations up to corps level (up to 15 brigades or 50,000-60,000
persons). These forces should be self-sustaining with the necessary
command, control and intelligence capabilities, logistics, other
combat support services and additionally, as appropriate, air
and naval elements. Member States should be able to deploy in
full at this level within 60 days, and within this provide smaller
rapid response elements available and deployable at very high
readiness. They must be able to sustain such a deployment for
at least one year.
This proposed capability has since been known as
the Helsinki Headline Goal. The Helsinki Summit also agreed that
EU institutions would be established for the political and strategic
control of the force, in the form of a Political and Security
Committee, a Military Committee, and a Military Staff.
108. Over the same period, a European Security and
Defence Identity (ESDI) was being developed within NATO aimed
at 'reinforcing' NATO's European pillar, enabling it to 'respond
to European requirements and at the same time contribute to Alliance
members agreed at the Brussels Summit of 1994 that NATO assets
would be made available for WEU operations undertaken by European
Allies as part of the EU's Common Foreign and Security Policy.
The NATO Berlin Summit of 1996 identified 'separable but not separate
capabilities, assets and support assets ... HQs, HQ elements and
as NATO assets which could be used by European Allies in undertaking
Petersberg tasks, under WEU's political control. The principle
of European use of NATO assets was further developed in what is
known as the 'Berlin-plus' arrangements agreed between NATO and
the EU at the Washington Summit in April 1999, which stated that
there would be a 'presumption of availability' of NATO assets
for the EU. Following the Helsinki declaration at the end of that
year, the EU took over political control of Petersberg operations
from the WEU.
109. The same national assets of individual EU and
NATO members would be drawn on for missions, regardless of which
organisation was leading the mission. An essential element of
the development of the ESDI is the improvement of European military
capabilities, which overlaps both with NATO's own Defence Capabilities
Initiative, and with the EU's aim of developing the military capability
of its members. We discuss this below (paragraphs 129-130).
THE PRESENT IMPASSE
110. The ESDP's success relies on the guarantee of
availability of key NATO assets. The declaration made at the European
Council summit at Laeken in December 2001 noted, however, that
the EU and NATO were yet to finalise the 'presumption of availability
of pre-identified assets and capabilities of NATO'.
111. The Helsinki summit declaration envisaged a
role for European non-EU NATO members (Czech Republic, Hungary,
Norway, Poland, Turkey)
'to contribute to EU military crisis management'.
An issue arises of the ability of non-EU NATO members to veto
use of NATO assets if they object to a particular EU operation.
In attempting to come to agreement on this, difficulties have
arisen from Turkey's attitude, as a NATO member, and a country
aspiring to EU membership, and that of Greece, a member of both
the EU and NATO, against the background of the long-standing difficult
relationship between the two countries. The present situation
appears to be an impasse: Turkey's reservations seem to have been
overcome within NATO; but this has failed to carry over into agreement
within the EU because of continuing objections from Greece.
112. When we visited Brussels in January we had meetings
with political and military representatives of both EU and NATO.
Both sides told us that the EU and NATO were complementary and
that, despite the lack of formal agreement on use of assets, there
was extensive informal co-operation. NATO's relations with the
EU is one of the agenda items for the Prague Summit. At Reykjavik,
NATO leaders reaffirmed their 'commitment to achieving a close,
transparent and coherent NATO-EU relationship and went on
The events of 11 September have underlined the importance
of enhanced co-operation between the two organisations on questions
of common interest relating to security, defence and crisis management
... Important work remains to be done on the arrangements for
NATO support to EU-led operations .. We remain determined to make
progress on all the various aspects of our relationship, noting
the need to find solutions satisfactory to all Allies on the issue
of participation by non-EU European Allies.
It is time that progress was made on the question
of use of NATO assets for EU-led operations. The UK, as a leading
member of both organisations, has been active, with the support
of the United States, in brokering an agreement with Turkey, which
Greece is now refusing to accept, apparently for domestic political
reasons. Greece now has twelve months of effective Presidency
of the EU on defence matters (as Denmark will not deal with defence
matters under its Presidency).
A question which needs to be answered during that time is whether
the present impasse in fact demonstrates the unsoundness of the
ESDP in principle. If this is not the case, the Greek government
must be persuaded to resolve its internal problems and allow the
agreement between NATO and the EU on use of NATO assets to be