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Thursday, 19 February 2009 - Brussels Final edition
European Security Strategy and ESDP

European Parliament resolution of 19 February 2009 on the European Security Strategy and ESDP (2008/2202(INI))

The European Parliament ,

–   having regard to Title V of the Treaty on European Union,

–   having regard to the Treaty of Lisbon,

–   having regard to the European Security Strategy (ESS) entitled "A secure Europe in a better world", adopted by the European Council on 12 December 2003,

–   having regard to the EU Strategy against the Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction, adopted by the European Council on 12 December 2003,

–   having regard to the Presidency Conclusions of the European Council of 11-12 December 2008, endorsing the report of 11 December 2008 of the Secretary-General of the Council/EU High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP)on the implementation of the European Security Strategy – Providing Security in an Changing World(1) ,

–   having regard to the European Council Conclusions concerning the European Security and Defence Policy (ESDP) adopted on 12 December 2008,

–   having regard to the paper of 14 March 2008 from the High Representative and the Commission to the European Council entitled "Climate change and international security"(2) ,

–   having regard to Council Joint Action 2008/851/CFSP of 10 November 2008 on a European Union military operation to contribute to the deterrence, prevention and repression of acts of piracy and armed robbery off the Somali coast(3) (the so-called "operation Atalanta"),

–   having regard to its resolution of 14 April 2005 on the European Security Strategy(4) ,

–   having regard to its resolution of 16 November 2006 on the implementation of the European Security Strategy in the context of the ESDP(5) ,

–   having regard to its resolution of 5 June 2008 on the implementation of the European Security Strategy and ESDP(6) ,

–   having regard to its resolution of 10 July 2008 on space and security(7) ,

–   having regard to Rule 45 of its Rules of Procedure,

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on Foreign Affairs (A6-0032/2009),

General considerations

1.  Points out that the European Union needs to develop its strategic autonomy through a strong and effective foreign, security and defence policy in order to promote peace and international security, to defend its interests in the world, to protect the security of its own citizens, to contribute to effective multilateralism, to advance respect for human rights and democratic values worldwide, and to safeguard world peace;

2.  Recognises the need for the EU to pursue these objectives through multilateral cooperation in international organisations, above all the United Nations, and through partnerships with other key players in accordance with the United Nations Charter, the principles of the Helsinki Final Act and the objectives of the Paris Charter;

3.  Reiterates the need for a reform of the United Nations Organization in order to make it capable of fully meeting its responsibilities and acting effectively in providing solutions to global challenges and responding to key threats;

4.  Reiterates the importance of the transatlantic relationship and recognises the need for coordination of actions between the ESDP and NATO, but at the same time stresses the need for a more balanced partnership, without competition and with respect for each others' autonomy and mutual understanding where there are diverging strategic considerations;

5.  Considers that many of the new threats are not simply military and cannot be tackled by military means alone;

6.  Notes that this policy has to combine the use of both civilian and military assets and capabilities, and that it requires close and seamless cooperation between all stakeholders;

7.  Embraces the concept of the "responsibility to protect", adopted by the UN in 2005, and the concept of "human security", which is based on the primacy of the individual and not of the state; underlines that these concepts entail both practical consequences and strong political guidelines for the strategic orientation of European security policy in order to be able to act effectively in crises; highlights, nevertheless, that there is neither an automatic obligation nor the means available for the EU to deploy ESDP missions, be they civilian or military, in all crisis situations;

8.  Stresses that the pooling of efforts and capabilities at the EU level is crucial in overcoming the combined effects of the increasing costs of defence equipment and the existing limits on defence spending;

9.  Notes that a common defence policy in Europe requires an integrated European Armed Force which consequently needs to be equipped with common weapon systems so as to guarantee commonality and interoperability;

10.  Stresses that transparency and cost-efficiency, as well as parliamentary accountability and observance of international human rights law and humanitarian law, are crucial in order to ensure public support for European defence; stresses in this connection the particular importance of effective parliamentary scrutiny of the ESDP in the form of close cooperation between the European Parliament and the parliaments of EU Member States;

11.  Considers that the updated ESS and the future new NATO Strategic Concept should be mutually coherent and that this should be reflected in the Declaration which will be adopted on the occasion of the summit marking the 60th anniversary of NATO, to be held in Strasbourg and Kehl on 3 and 4 April 2009;

12.  Stresses that full and timely implementation of the ESS is of key importance;

13.  Welcomes the Council's report on the implementation of the ESS; notes, however, that because many of the goals of the ESS in 2003 remain largely unfulfilled, the EU – reinforced by the Treaty of Lisbon – should play a more decisive role in boosting the legitimacy, transparency and effectiveness of the institutions of global governance;

14.  Welcomes the launch of the above-mentioned ESDP operation Atalanta against piracy off the Somali coast; reminds the Council, the Commission and the EU Member States, however, that the reasons for the problem of piracy in that region are deeper rooted, including as they do poverty in a failed state, and demands more profound European actions to tackle those problems;

15.  In relation to the kidnapping and murder of hostages by Islamic terrorists, underlines the need for enhanced cooperation and coordination of anti-terrorist policy as between EU Member States, the USA and NATO, aiming in particular at improving the effectiveness of rescue operations launched with a view to saving hostages' lives;

16.  Strongly reiterates its call for all necessary guarantees to be provided through the ESS and the ESDP so as to ensure the successful implementation of UN Security Council resolutions on women and peace and security, namely resolutions 1325 of 31 October 2000 (S/RES/1325) and 1820 of 19 June 2008 (S/RES/1820), in furthering women's equal participation in all matters and decisions concerning peace and security and categorising the systematic use of sexual violence against women in conflict situations as a war crime and a crime against humanity; regrets that progress on gender equality in ESDP operations is happening far too slowly;

European security interests

17.  Points out that, all too often, thinking in the Member States remains confined within the framework of national security interests and that the common responsibility for protecting joint European interests is thus neglected; regards this approach as counterproductive and urges Member States to widen their thinking in order to make the EU a more important player on the international scene, providing for more effective European security arrangements;

18.  Considers it necessary, therefore, to define the EU's common security interests; stresses that only if it has a clear idea of its common interests can the EU make its common policy more coherent and effective;

19.  Is of the opinion that, in addition to the challenges identified in the ESS as adopted in 2003, the security interests of the Union include the protection of its citizens and its interests inside the EU as well as abroad, the security of its neighbourhood and the protection of its external borders and critical infrastructure, as well as the improvement of its cyber security, the security of energy supply and sea lanes, the protection of its space assets and protection against the consequences of climate change;

European security ambitions

20.  Notes that the EU recognises an international order founded on effective multilateralism on the basis of international law, and that this is an expression of Europeans' conviction that no nation can face the new threats on its own;

21.  Considers that the European Union must define more clearly its ambitions concerning its role in the world; is of the opinion that the European Union should not try to become a superpower like the United States but that it should guarantee its security, work for stability in its neighbourhood, and contribute to a multilateral global system of security within the framework of the United Nations, ensuring respect for international law and effective crisis and conflict prevention, as well as post-conflict management and resolution;

22.  Stresses that the EU gives priority to crisis prevention in the ESDP; points out that security and the rule of law are indispensable preconditions for development and long-term stability;

Developing Europe's security strategy

23.  Notes that the 2003 ESS highlights the main threats faced by the EU (terrorism, proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, regional conflicts, state failure and organised crime) and identifies strategic objectives, which have become the basis for substrategies;

24.  Congratulates the recent French EU Presidency for its initiatives concerning ESDP; takes note of the High Representative's above-mentioned report of 11 December 2008 on the implementation of the ESS as endorsed by the European Council, and welcomes the fact that many recommendations from Parliament's previous reports on the ESS and the ESDP have been taken up, particularly as regards:

   cyber security;
   energy security, including supplies to Europe;
   unresolved regional disputes in the EU's neighbourhood;
   challenges on the African continent;
   consequences of climate change;
   competition for natural resources;
   projects to strengthen civilian and military capabilities;
   the importance of space for our common security;
   maritime security;

25.  Welcomes the Council's commitment to the idea that the EU should actually be capable in the years ahead, within the framework of the level of ambition established, inter alia of deploying 60 000 men in 60 days for a major operation, within the range of operations envisaged within the headline goal for 2010, and, within the civilian headline goal for 2010, of planning and conducting simultaneously:

   two major stabilisation and reconstruction operations, with a suitable civilian component, supported by a maximum of 10 000 men for at least two years;
   two rapid response operations of limited duration using inter alia the EU's Battlegroups;
   an emergency operation for the evacuation of European nationals (in less than ten days), bearing in mind the primary role of each Member State as regards its nationals and making use of the consular lead State concept;
   a maritime or air surveillance/interdiction mission;
   a civilian-military humanitarian assistance operation lasting up to 90 days;
   around a dozen ESDP civilian missions (including inter alia police, rule of law, civil administration, civil protection, security sector reform and observation missions) of varying formats, operating inter alia in a rapid reaction situation, including a major mission (potentially involving up to 3 000 experts) which could last several years;

26.  Deplores, however, the unclear manner in which the conclusions concerning the ESS and ESDP are presented (in four documents instead of one); regrets the often vague wording used, which fails to describe a real strategy; criticises the fact that the Council has not acceded to Parliament's demand for a White Paper and that it is therefore unlikely that a fruitful, wide-ranging public debate will be initiated;

27.  Further deplores the fact that demands made in Parliament's previous reports on the ESS and the ESDP have not been considered by the Council, above all:

   the definition of common European security interests,
   the definition of criteria for the launching of ESDP missions,
   proposals for a new EU-NATO partnership,
   tackling the issue of national "caveats";

28.  Suggests that the ESS should be reviewed every five years at the beginning of a new EU legislative period;

29 .  Regrets the relative lack of progress since 2003 in strengthening EU cooperation in defence; therefore calls once again for a White Paper to be drawn up on European security and defence as a tool to be used to initiate a wide-ranging public debate and to ensure that the ESS is implemented in an efficient way;

30.  Regrets that, despite extensive preparation but in consequence of a loss of momentum caused by the impasse over the Lisbon Treaty, the revision of the ESS has resulted not in a new strategic orientation but merely in a report expressing day-to-day policy concerns as these arise; notes that the range of threats has been expanded to cover, inter alia, cyber security and piracy; welcomes innovative aspects of the revision such as its focus on climate change, energy security (including, in the nuclear field, support for a multilateral nuclear fuel cycle and a multilateral treaty banning the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons) and the International Arms Trade Treaty as well as other disarmament treaties such as the new Oslo Convention on Cluster Munitions;

31.  Finds it unacceptable that there was only limited parliamentary debate and no public debate before the adoption of the report proposing revision of the ESS;

Relationship with Russia

32.  Considers that the violent escalation of the hitherto frozen conflicts in South Ossetia and Abkhazia, and the subsequent recognition of the independence of those provinces by Russia, underscores the urgent need to invest in durable political solutions for such conflicts in our neighbourhood; reiterates its view that the conflicts in the Caucasus cannot be resolved by military means and its firm condemnation of all those who resorted to violence during the conflict; emphasises that the further development of the EU's strategic partnership with Russia needs to include meaningful dialogue on security, based on the stated commitment of both parties to their shared values, respect for international law and territorial integrity, and commitment to, and the fulfilment of, obligations under the Helsinki Final Act;

33.  Stresses that the security dimension of EU-Russia relations and the role of the CFSP and the ESDP cannot be seen in isolation from the wider European security architecture, which includes NATO, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) and international arrangements such as the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty and the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe; considers that relevant developments in this wider security structure should be addressed in dialogue with both Russia and the United States, and asks the Council to adopt an open and constructive attitude towards possible talks between the EU, the United States, Russia and non-EU OSCE member states with a view to renewing transatlantic consensus on security, taking the Helsinki Final Act as a basis;

34.  Welcomes the concerted action taken by the EU to mediate between Russia and Georgia in response to the challenge posed by the war in Georgia; points out that the rapid reaction and unity of the European Union, which led to the signing of a ceasefire agreement and the rapid deployment of a monitoring mission under the ESDP, has demonstrated its capacity for crisis management and common action; commends the recent French EU Presidency for its positive role in maintaining a common European approach;

35.  Welcomes the Council's decision of 2 December 2008 to establish an independent commission headed by the EU to examine the causes of the conflict in Georgia;

36.  Notes the concerns expressed by the Baltic states and takes note of the clear confirmation by NATO and its member states of the continuing validity of their commitments under Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty;

37.  Welcomes the fact that NATO has decided once again to use existing channels of communication and that the NATO-Russia Council is to be reactivated;

38.  Considers that both the EU and NATO should pursue a frank and realistic dialogue with Russia covering such matters as regional security, energy, missile defence, non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, limitation of armed forces and space policy;

39.  Considers it important to enhance a multilateral dialogue on security issues within the framework of the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council;

40.  Points out that, due to its geopolitical position, its military power and political weight, its energy wealth and its economic potential, Russia is of strategic importance for Europe;

Building Europe's capabilities

41.  Stresses that the EU has to have the means to implement its policies, and that, in addition to strengthening its diplomatic capacities, it therefore needs both civilian and military capabilities in order to strengthen the ESDP and to fulfil its responsibilities in the world;

42.  Points out that, since its creation, 22 missions have been carried out within the framework of the ESDP, including 16 civilian missions; stresses the importance of the civilian components of the ESDP; welcomes in this connection the establishment of the Civilian Planning and Conduct Capability within the Council of the European Union; calls on the Member States to redouble their efforts to make qualified personnel available for civilian ESDP missions; stresses in this connection the importance of the civilian headline goal 2010;

43.  Also emphasises that, with most of the emphasis being placed on the military dimension of the ESDP, progress in the area of civil capabilities and conflict prevention is far too slow and that, in this area, new dynamics need to be proposed as a matter of urgency by both the Council and the Commission;

44.  Calls for the further development of the Peace-building Partnership into a European Civil Peace Corps;

45.  Is of the opinion that the EU should continue to build its capabilities on the basis of the civilian and military headline goals; notes that it should endeavour to make a force of 60 000 soldiers permanently available; reaffirms its proposal that the Eurocorps should be the core of this force, if necessary reinforced by additional maritime and air capacities; welcomes the agreement concluded between Germany and France on maintaining the Franco-German Brigade at joint locations; furthermore, considers that the EU should make an adequate number of police officers, judges and prosecutors permanently available; finds it confusing that the EU Battlegroup concept and specific scenarios for potential missions do not seem to lead to the Battlegroups being used in the EU's external operations;

46.  Points out that the EU Member States together spend more than EUR 200 000 000 000 per year on defence, which is more than half the defence expenditure of the United States; remains deeply concerned about the lack of efficiency and coordination in the utilisation of those funds; therefore urges that greater efforts be made to eliminate unnecessary duplication between Member States, namely through specialisation, pooling and sharing of existing capabilities, and joint development of new ones; commends the European Defence Agency (EDA) for the excellent work it has performed so far and calls on EU Member States to take full advantage of the EDA's potential;

47.  Stresses that capability needs are often technologically very similar or even identical for armed forces operations, border surveillance, protection of critical infrastructure and disaster management; emphasises that this creates new opportunities to exploit synergies and enhance interoperability between armed forces and security forces;

48.  Strongly requests that the EU and its Member States focus their efforts on common capabilities which can be used for both defence and security purposes; in this context, considers satellite-based intelligence, surveillance and warning equipment, unmanned air vehicles, helicopters and telecommunication equipment and air and sea transport to be crucial; demands a common technical standard for protected telecommunications and ways of protecting critical infrastructure;

49.  Welcomes the decision taken by the Steering Board of the EDA on 10 November 2008 on the establishment of a European Air Transport Fleet and takes note of the Declaration of Intent on participation in this initiative, signed by the Defence Ministers of twelve EU Member States;

50.  Considers it necessary to allow the use of the Galileo and GMES (Global Monitoring for Environment and Security) systems for security and defence purposes;

51.  Approves the dynamic further development of cooperation between national armed forces so that they become increasingly synchronised; proposes that this process and the armed forces be given the name "SAFE" – Synchronised Armed Forces Europe;

52.  Considers that SAFE provides sufficient room for manoeuvre for neutral EU Member States as well as those bound by military alliances, for those which already work closely together and for those which are still reluctant to do so; proposes an opt-in model for the organisation of SAFE based on more intensive voluntary synchronisation;

53.  Approves the idea of a European statute for soldiers within the framework of SAFE governing training standards, operational doctrine and freedom of operational action, issues relating to duties and rights, as well as the level of equipment quality, medical care and social security arrangements in the event of death, injury or incapacity;

54.  Approves in respect of SAFE the principle of a Europe-wide division of labour in military capabilities;

55.  Advocates closer European cooperation in the area of training, maintenance and logistics as a crucial prerequisite for greater efficiency in defence spending;

The need for new structures

56.  Is of the opinion that the EU's capacity for autonomous foreign and security policy action should be improved through goal-oriented enhancement of its analysis, planning, leadership and intelligence capacities; in this context, welcomes the decision of the European Council to work towards establishing an integrated civilian and military strategic planning structure for ESDP operations and missions;

57.  Likewise welcomes the decision of the European Council to set up an informal EU-NATO high-level group which will be tasked with strengthening cooperation between the two organisations in a pragmatic manner;

58.  Calls for the setting-up of an autonomous and permanent EU Operational Headquarters with the capacity to undertake strategic planning and to conduct ESDP operations and missions;

59.  Supports the idea of creating a Council of Defence Ministers in order to make the various national defence policies more coherent, thus boosting the respective national contributions to the ESDP; stresses the objective of full parliamentary scrutiny of ESDP missions and operations, including by the European Parliament;

60.  Strongly supports the reinforcement of a European defence and security market by means of adoption of the Commission's legislative proposals for public procurement and intra-Community transfers, and suggests further initiatives to achieve this objective, in particular in the areas of security of supply and security of information;

61.  Welcomes in this connection the adoption of Council Common Position 2008/944/CFSP of 8 December 2008 defining common rules governing control of exports of military technology and equipment(8) , which transforms the Code of Conduct on Arms Exports into a legally binding instrument; furthermore, welcomes the fact that EU Member States remain free to adopt more stringent measures on an individual basis;

62.  Recalls that common weapons systems should be provided through a strong European defence industry which will be capable of satisfying the current and future requirements of the European Armed Force and will enable Europe to become self-sufficient and independent;

63.  Demands an increase in Community funding for security research and the creation of joint research programmes involving the Commission and the EDA;

The need for a new spirit

64.  Considers it particularly important to strengthen the European Security and Defence College and to transform it into permanent structure which will further enhance the development of a specifically European security culture; urges the Commission to continue funding EU-level training activities in the field of civilian crisis management beyond 2009;

65.  Calls for further initiatives concerning common training and common standards for personnel who are to be deployed and to work together in civilian and military operations, increased interaction between the armed forces and civilian personnel of EU Member States, coordination of crisis-related training, exchange programmes among armed forces in Europe and the opening-up of armies to citizens of other EU Member States;

66.  Strongly supports successful European programmes such as the Eurofighter, which will serve as the backbone of the fighter capability of five European air forces in the coming decades; considers, for this reason, that the EU Member States should encourage and support such initiatives;

o   o

67.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the parliaments of the Member States and the Secretaries-General of the United Nations, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe and the Council of Europe.

(1) S407/08.
(2) S113/08.
(3) OJ L 301, 12.11.2008, p. 33.
(4) OJ C 33 E, 9.2.2006, p. 580.
(5) OJ C 314 E, 21.12.2006, p. 334.
(6) Texts adopted, P6_TA(2008)0255.
(7) Texts adopted, P6_TA(2008)0365.
(8) OJ L 335, 13.12.2008, p. 99.

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