Select Committee on European Communities Third Report

APPENDIX 2 (Continued)



...The general assumption of the obligations of full membership of WEU should be the first step towards less complex and more rational structures for the defence of Europe. (274)

Effective co-ordination between WEU and the European Union will be essential if the possibilities envisaged under the Treaty on European Union are to be used...(275)



The Maastricht Treaty (Article J.4) stated that CFSP "shall include all questions related to the security of the Union, including the eventual framing of a common defence policy which might in time lead to a common defence." Article J.4(2) requested "the Western European Union, which is an integral part of the development of the Union, to elaborate and implement decisions and actions of the Union which have defence implications."

The new Treaty alters the wording of this Article in several significant respects. The new Article J.7 which replaces Article J.4 refers to the "progressive framing of a common defence policy ... which might lead to a common defence, should the European Council so decide."

The role of the WEU is clarified in the second sub-paragraph of Article J.7(1):

      "The Western European Union (WEU) is an integral part of the development of the Union providing the Union with access to an operational capability notably in the context of paragraph 2. It supports the Union in framing the defence aspects of the Common Foreign and Security Policy as set out in this Article. The Union shall accordingly foster closer institutional relations with the WEU with a view to the possibility of the integration of the WEU into the Union should the European Council so decide. It shall in that case recommend to the Member States the adoption of such a decision in accordance with their respective constitutional requirements."

Article J.7(2) makes it clear that the WEU is to provide the Union with access to an operational capability particularly in the context of humanitarian and rescue tasks, peacekeeping tasks and tasks of combat forces in crisis management, including peacemaking. These are the so called "Petersberg Tasks", named after the WEU's Petersberg Declaration of June 1992.

The new Treaty therefore makes some aspects of the WEU/EU relationship clearer and raises the possibility of integration of the WEU into the EU, but makes it clear that any move towards such integration would be subject to the unanimous agreement of the Council.

The new Article J.7 also inserts some important words with regard to NATO. The third sub-paragraph of Article J.7(1) states that

"The policy of the Union in accordance with this Article shall not prejudice the specific character of the security and defence policy of certain Member States and shall respect the obligations of certain Member States, which see their common defence realised in NATO, under the North Atlantic Treaty and be compatible with the common security and defence policy established within that framework."

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