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Thursday, 19 February 2009 - Brussels Final edition
The role of NATO in the security architecture of the EU
P6_TA(2009)0076A6-0033/2009

European Parliament resolution of 19 February 2009 on the role of NATO in the security architecture of the EU (2008/2197(INI))

The European Parliament ,

–   having regard to the EU-NATO Joint Declaration of 16 December 2002,

–   having regard to the Charter of the United Nations,

–   having regard to the North Atlantic Treaty, signed in Washington on 4 April 1949,

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

–   having regard to the Treaty of Lisbon, signed on 13 December 2007 and ratified by the great majority of the EU Member States,

–   having regard to the comprehensive framework for EU-NATO permanent relations, concluded by the EU Council Secretary-General/High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy and the NATO Secretary General on 17 March 2003,

–   having regard to the European Security Strategy (ESS) adopted by the European Council on 12 December 2003,

–   having regard to the Summit Declaration of the North Atlantic Council issued in Bucharest on 3 April 2008,

–   having regard to the reports on the European Security and Defence Policy (ESDP) issued by the EU Council Presidency on 11 December 2007 and 16 June 2008,

–   having regard to its resolutions of 14 April 2005 on the European Security Strategy(1) , of 16 November 2006 on the implementation of the European Security Strategy in the context of the ESDP(2) , of 25 April 2007 on transatlantic relations(3) , of 5 June 2008 on the implementation of the European Security Strategy and ESDP(4) and of 5 June 2008 on the forthcoming EU-US Summit(5) ,

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

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on Foreign Affairs (A6-0033/2009),

A.   whereas the EU and NATO are founded on shared values of freedom, democracy, human rights and the rule of law, and throughout their existence have served to avoid wars on European territory, whereas after the election of the new President of the United States, there is a growing consensus on both sides of the Atlantic about the decreasing usefulness of nuclear weapons in the face of current threats and a new sense of urgency about the need to decrease the size of nuclear arsenals in line with commitments made under Article VI of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty,

B.   whereas according to the UN Charter the overall responsibility for international peace and security lies with the UN Security Council; whereas the Charter provides the legal basis for the creation of NATO; whereas, by signing the North Atlantic Treaty, NATO member states affirmed their faith in the purposes and principles of the Charter, committing themselves to refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force in any manner inconsistent with the purposes of the United Nations,

C.   whereas the EU Member States recognise in the UN system the fundamental framework for international relations; whereas they remain committed to the preservation of peace and the strengthening of international security, in accordance with the principles of the United Nations Charter, as well as the principles of the Helsinki Final Act and the objectives of the Paris Charter, and to the development and consolidation of democracy and the rule of law, respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms; whereas the EU Member States have set as a priority measures to reform and strengthen the United Nations Organization in order to make it capable of fulfilling its responsibilities and acting effectively in providing solutions to global challenges and responding to key threats,

D.   whereas NATO forms the core of European military security and the EU has sufficient potential to support its activities, so that strengthening the European defence capabilities and deepening cooperation will benefit both organisations,

E.   considering that the European security architecture also includes the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) and international instruments such as the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe,

F.   whereas NATO is an intergovernmental organisation of democratic nations, in which the principle "civilians decide and the military executes" exists,

G.   whereas 94 per cent of the EU population are citizens of NATO member states, 21 EU Member States out of 27 are NATO allies, 21 NATO allies out of 26 are EU Member States and Turkey, a long-standing NATO ally, is a candidate for accession to the EU,

H.   whereas in 2007 and 2008 the European Council took important decisions in the field of the ESDP with the aim of further improving its operational capabilities; whereas the keenly awaited entry into force of the Treaty of Lisbon will introduce major innovations in the field of the ESDP, making European cooperation more coherent and efficient in that field,

I.   whereas EU and NATO must improve their cooperation and should allow for greater maximisation of the assets of both organisations and ensure effective cooperation by putting an end to institutional bickering,

J.   whereas although NATO is currently the forum for discussion and the expected choice for a joint military operation involving the European and American allies, the ultimate responsibility for peace and security lies with the United Nations,

K.   whereas troops and equipment committed to ESDP missions are more or less the same as those committed to NATO operations,

L.   whereas NATO as a whole is not engaged in ESDP operations; whereas the EU, in undertaking such an operation, will choose whether or not to have recourse to NATO assets and capabilities, through the so-called "Berlin plus" arrangements,

M.   whereas EU and NATO cooperation falling within the framework of the "Berlin plus" arrangements has not been working satisfactorily up until now, because of unresolved problems connected with the fact that some countries are members of NATO but not of the EU,

N.   whereas outside the "Berlin plus" arrangements, NATO and the EU should ensure efficient crisis management and should work better together in order to identify the best possible response to a crisis, such as in Afghanistan and in Kosovo,

O.   whereas EU-NATO relations should be further improved by both organisations, with the EU involving the European non-EU NATO allies further in the ESDP and NATO involving the non-NATO EU Member States further in EU-NATO talks; whereas EU-US relations should be strengthened,

P.   whereas NATO and the EU enlargement processes, even though they differ, should be mutually reinforcing in order to secure stability and prosperity in the European continent,

Q.   whereas an important element of the EU-NATO relationship is support for national efforts to develop and deliver military capabilities for crisis management in a mutually reinforcing way, which for its part enhances the primary task of safeguarding the territorial defence and security interests of member countries,

R.   whereas synergy between the EU and NATO in certain military capabilities areas could be improved through joint pilot projects,

S.   whereas Europe's collective defence is based on a combination of conventional and nuclear forces which ought to have been adapted more thoroughly to the changing security situation,

T.   whereas both the EU and NATO are currently undertaking a reappraisal of their respective security strategies (the ESS and the Declaration on Alliance Security),

U.   whereas the Treaty of Lisbon commits civilian and military capabilities of all Member States to the ESDP, provides for permanent structured cooperation in defence between a pioneer group of states, commits states to the progressive improvement of military capabilities, expands the role of the European Defence Agency, obliges states to come to the aid of another under attack (without prejudice to the neutrality of certain states or to the NATO membership of others), upgrades EU objectives (the Petersberg tasks) to include the fight against terrorism and, finally, insists on mutual solidarity in the event of a terrorist attack or natural disaster,

Strategic overview

1.  Underlines that all policies of the European Union must be fully consistent with international law;

2.  Underlines that the raison d'être of the European Union is to build peace within its borders and beyond, through a commitment to effective multilateralism and to the letter and spirit of the UN Charter; notes that an effective security strategy bolsters democracy and the protection of fundamental rights; notes, on the contrary, that an ineffective security strategy leads to unnecessary human suffering; is of the view that the EU's ability to build peace depends on the development of the right security strategy or security policy, including the capacity for autonomous action and an efficient and complementary relationship with NATO;

3.  Therefore calls on the EU to continue to deploy missions while ensuring greater sustainability of the ESDP so as to prevent conflicts, promote stability and bring relief to where it is needed, subject to a consensus between EU Member States or within the framework of structured cooperation; believes in the further need for the EU and NATO to develop a comprehensive approach to crisis management;

4.  Recognises that the diversity of interests inherent in a Union of 27 or more Member States – in other words, the mosaic-like composition of the EU – gives it a unique character and the potential to intervene, mediate and help in different parts of the world; calls for the EU's existing crisis-management tools to be further developed and hopes that the existing military capability of EU Member States will become more integrated, cost-effective and militarily efficient, since only then will the Union be able to muster sufficient forces to exploit its unique abilities in the fields of conflict prevention and conflict resolution and to complement its broad range of civilian crisis-management mechanisms;

5.  Strongly advocates increased solidarity among the EU Member States in developing common security and defence strategies;

6.  Is convinced that a strong and vibrant Euro-Atlantic partnership is the best guarantor of security and stability across Europe and of respect for the principles of democracy, human rights, the rule of law and good governance;

7.  Is convinced that democratic freedoms and the rule of law are the answer to aspirations for people around the world; believes that no country or nation should be excluded from such a perspective, because every human being has the right to live in a democratic state governed by the rule of law;

8.  Welcomes the updating of the ESS as part of the European Union's commitment to defining and protecting European security interests and strengthening effective multilateralism, thus equipping the Union with a strategy for tackling the threats of the 21st century; notes that a genuine, comprehensive and democratic consensus between the European Union and NATO is an essential element of the implementation of this strategy, based on a security consensus between the EU and the United States of America, reflecting their common values, goals and priorities, namely the primacy of human rights and international law;

9.  Underlines that this is still more important in the light of recent events in the Caucasus, new developments in the approach to NATO in Europe, the change of leadership in the United States of America and the start of the work on reviewing the strategic concept of NATO;

10.  Urges that the concurrent review of the security strategies of the EU and NATO should be not only complementary but also convergent, each giving due weight to the potential of the other;

11.  Is of the view that both NATO and the EU should endorse as their long-term and common goal a commitment to building a safer world in accordance with the letter and spirit of the UN Charter, for the inhabitants of their member states and in general, and should also actively prevent and react to mass atrocities and regional conflicts which continue to cause much human suffering;

12.  Insists that all democracies should be united in their efforts to build stability and peace under the authority of the United Nations;

13.  Recognises that security and development are mutually dependent and that there is no clear sequence of events to achieve sustainable development in conflict areas; points out that, in practice, all instruments are deployed in parallel; therefore calls on the Commission to carry out further research into the importance of the sequencing of military and civil interventions in conflict areas and to integrate their findings into its security and development policies;

The relationship between NATO and the security architecture of the EU

14.  Recognises the important role of NATO, in the past as well as today, in the security architecture of Europe; notes that for the majority of EU Member States, which are also NATO allies, the Alliance remains the foundation of their collective defence, and that the security of Europe as a whole, regardless of the individual positions adopted by its states, continues to benefit from the maintenance of the transatlantic alliance; therefore takes the view that the future collective defence of the EU should as far as possible be organised in cooperation with NATO; takes the view that the USA and the EU need to intensify their bilateral relationship and extend it to issues pertaining to peace and security;

15.  Notes that security risks in the modern world are increasingly characterised by phenomena such as international terrorism, the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, failed states, intractable conflicts, organised crime, cyber threats, environmental deterioration and associated security risks, natural disasters and other disasters, and that these require still closer partnership and concentration on strengthening the core capabilities of the EU and NATO, and closer coordination in the areas of planning, technology, equipment and training;

16.  Emphasises the increasing importance of the ESDP, which will help to improve the EU's ability to confront 21st-century security threats, particularly in joint civilian-military operations and crisis-management measures ranging from intelligence-driven crisis-prevention actions to security-sector reform, reform of the police and judiciary and military action;

17.  Is of the view that the EU and NATO could strengthen each other by avoiding competition and developing greater cooperation in crisis-management operations based on a practical division of labour; considers that a decision on which organisation should deploy forces should be based on the political will expressed by both organisations, on operational needs and political legitimacy on the ground, and on their ability to deliver peace and stability; notes that cooperation in elaborating the new ESS and the new NATO Strategic Concept is crucial to the attainment of that objective;

18.  Is of the view that the EU must develop its own security and defence capabilities, which will allow improved burden-sharing with the non-European allies and an appropriate response to those security challenges and threats which concern the EU Member States only;

19.  Calls on the EU to develop the instruments of its security strategy, ranging from diplomatic crisis-prevention and economic and development assistance to civilian capabilities in the field of stabilisation and reconstruction, as well as military means; moreover, considers that strategic use should be made of the "soft power" instruments in the EU's neighbourhood;

20.  Notes that the "Berlin plus" arrangements, which allow the EU to have recourse to NATO assets and capabilities, need to be improved in order to allow the two organisations to intervene and effectively deliver relief in current crises which demand a multi-task civilian-military response; regards it as necessary, therefore, to further develop the relationship between NATO and the EU, by creating permanent structures of cooperation, while respecting the independent and autonomous nature of both organisations and not excluding the participation of all NATO members and all EU Member States that wish to be involved;

21.  Calls on Turkey to cease hindering the cooperation between the EU and NATO;

22.  Calls on the EU, in the process of developing a White Book on European security and defence, to also evaluate the coherence of Europe's external operations, especially as regards cooperation with other international partners in crisis areas;

Cooperation between NATO and the EU in security and defence issues

23.  Strongly welcomes the French initiative of a formal return to the military structures of NATO, and the efforts by the French Presidency within the EU Council to bring the EU and NATO further together in response to the new security challenges; welcomes the efforts of the French Presidency aimed at the adoption of concrete initiatives for the pooling of European defence capabilities; also welcomes the newly positive approach of the United States of America towards the consolidation of EU defence capabilities;

24.  Urges the member states of both organisations to be more flexible, goal-oriented and pragmatic in the implementation of the EU-NATO partnership; supports, therefore, the French Government's proposal for the establishment of systematic contacts between the Secretaries-General of NATO and the EU Council, in particular so as to avoid confusion where the EU and NATO operate side by side in different missions towards the same common purpose in the same theatre, as in Kosovo and Afghanistan;

25.  Emphasises that the EU is a crucial NATO partner on account of its specific combination of available instruments: civil operations, sanctions, humanitarian aid, development and trade policies, and political dialogue; therefore calls on the EU and NATO to redouble their efforts towards the establishment of a framework for integrated cooperation in anticipation of the ratification of the Treaty of Lisbon;

26.  Recognises the vital importance of improving the pooling of intelligence among NATO allies and EU partners;

27.  Notes that EU citizens support missions aimed at alleviating human suffering in conflict zones; notes that citizens are insufficiently informed about EU and NATO missions and their purpose; therefore calls on the EU and NATO to better inform people of their missions and of the role those missions play in creating security and stability around the world;

28.  Notes that, in order to consolidate their cooperation, both NATO and the European Union should concentrate on strengthening their basic capabilities, improving interoperability and coordinating their doctrines, planning, technologies, equipment and training methods;

EU Operational Headquarters

29.  Supports the establishment of a permanent EU Operational Headquarters, under the authority of the Vice-President of the Commission/High Representative, having as part of its mandate the planning and conduct of military ESDP operations;

30.  Underlines that the experience of EU operations demonstrates that a permanent planning and command capability for EU operations would increase the effectiveness and credibility of EU operations; recalls that, given the civilian-military focus of the EU, such a structure would not duplicate anything that exists elsewhere; further recalls that the NATO Headquarters is primarily intended for military planning whereas the EU possesses expertise in planning and conducting civilian, military and civilian-military operations which no other global actor is currently able to conduct successfully;

31.  Stresses that an EU Operational Headquarters should complement the current NATO command structures and would not undermine NATO's transatlantic integrity;

32.  Proposes that, in agreement with NATO, each EU Member State which is a member of NATO should demarcate those forces that can be deployed only for EU operations, so as to prevent such deployment being blocked by NATO members which are not EU Member States; considers that duplication in the use of these forces should be avoided;

Capabilities and military spending

33.  Is of the view that the mutual challenge for the EU and NATO is to make use of the same national pool of resources in terms of personnel and capabilities; calls on the EU and NATO to ensure that these limited resources are spent on the most appropriate capabilities for facing the difficult challenges of today, avoiding duplication of work and fostering coherence; is of the view that strategic airlift, a particular example of a relatively scarce and expensive operational asset, should represent an opportunity for cooperation between EU and NATO member countries; calls on EU Member States to pool, share and jointly develop military capabilities in order to avoid waste, create economies of scale and strengthen the European defence technological and industrial base;

34.  Is of the view that, in addition to the need for the much more efficient use of military resources, a better and more efficient coordination of investments in defence, in the interest of synergy, by EU Member States is essential in the interests of European security; calls for a significant increase in the proportion of common costs in every NATO and EU military operation; notes the significant difference in scale as well as effectiveness between the defence spending of European members of NATO, on the one hand, and the USA, on the other; calls on the EU to commit itself to fairer global burden-sharing; also calls on the USA to show a greater willingness to consult its European allies on issues related to peace and security;

35.  Recognises the important potential contribution of the European Defence Agency, strengthened by the Treaty of Lisbon, towards cost-effective procurement and enhanced interoperability of armaments;

Compatibility between NATO and EU membership

36.  Insists that all the EU Member States must be present at the joint EU-NATO meetings, without discrimination; stresses that unity of values and security arrangements is a vital factor guaranteeing European peace, stability and prosperity;

37.  Proposes that those NATO allies that are candidates for EU accession should be more closely involved in the work of the ESDP and the European Defence Agency;

38.  Notes that it is essential that the problem of the compatibility between non-membership of the EU and membership of NATO, as well as non-membership of NATO and membership of the EU, be addressed and tackled so as not to harm the functioning of EU-NATO cooperation;

39.  Deplores, in particular, the fact that the Turkish-Cypriot dispute continues to badly impair the development of EU-NATO cooperation, given that, on the one hand, Turkey refuses to allow Cyprus to participate in ESDP missions involving NATO intelligence and resources and that, on the other hand, in response, Cyprus refuses to allow Turkey to engage in the overall development of ESDP to an extent commensurate with Turkey's military weight and strategic importance to Europe and transatlantic alliance;

40.  Encourages Cyprus, as an EU Member State, to review its political position on its membership of the Partnership for Peace, and calls on NATO member states to refrain from using their veto to prevent EU Member States from becoming members of NATO;

41.  Welcomes the fact that, at the NATO summit held in Bucharest, the Allies recognised the contribution made by a stronger and more capable Europe, and that the Alliance remains open to future enlargement; notes that for the European Neighbourhood Policy countries in the east, and with a view to their democratic development and development of the rule of law, the policy of a European perspective and therefore of the Eastern Partnership project is of the utmost importance;

42.  Is of the view that, as regards future enlargements of NATO, each case should be judged on its own merits; nevertheless, on the grounds of European security interests, would be opposed to enlarging the organisation to include any country where membership does not have the support of the population or where there are serious unresolved territorial disputes with its neighbours;

43.  Notes that, for many of the EU's neighbours, membership of NATO and membership of the EU are realistic and compatible goals, if only in the long term;

44.  Considers that the EU and NATO must maintain a realistic and frank dialogue with Russia, including on human rights and the rule of law, regional security, energy, missile defence, non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, the limitation of armed forces and space policy; is of the view that, if and when Russia becomes a genuine democracy, and refuses military threats as a means of political pressure on its neighbours, the depth of cooperation between it and the EU could reach unprecedented levels, including the prospect of Russia's membership in all Euro-Atlantic structures;

45.  Looks forward to the opportunities afforded by NATO's forthcoming 60th anniversary summit in Strasbourg and Kehl for the rejuvenation of the Alliance and the strengthening of its relations with the European Union;

o
o   o

46.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the Parliaments of the EU Member States and of NATO countries, the NATO Parliamentary Assembly and the Secretaries-General of the United Nations, NATO, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe and the Council of Europe.

(1) OJ C 33 E, 9.2.2006, p. 580.
(2) OJ C 314 E, 21.12.2006, p. 334.
(3) OJ C 74 E, 20.3.2008, p. 670.
(4) Texts adopted, P6_TA(2008)0255.
(5) Texts adopted, P6_TA(2008)0256.

Last updated: 22 December 2009Legal notice