HomeDOCUMENTSCommittee Reports2004 Annual Session159 DSCFC 04 E - THE DEVELOPMENT OF RESPONSE FORCES IN NATO AND THE EU AND THE EVOLVING NATO-EU RELATIONSHIP
159 DSCFC 04 E - THE DEVELOPMENT OF RESPONSE FORCES IN NATO AND THE EU AND THE EVOLVING NATO-EU RELATIONSHIP
JOHN SMITH (UNITED KINGDOM)
TABLE OF CONTENTS
II. THE ORIGINS OF ESDP AND THE CURRENT STATE OF EU-NATO RELATIONS
III. RAPID RESPONSE FORCE DEVELOPMENTS IN THE EU AND NATO
IV. EUROPEAN UNION SECURITY OPERATIONS
V. NATO, THE EU AND FUTURE STABILIZATION OPERATIONS IN THE BALKANS
1. NATO and the European Union (EU) are involved in an increasingly complicated relationship. During the first four decades of the EU's existence, it rarely touched on defence and security issues. But over the past few years the EU has become increasingly involved in such matters that were traditionally solely in the purview of NATO and the individual member states. At a very basic level this can be seen as a product of an increasingly mature EU and a more integrated Europe. As the EU has tackled many of the most difficult issues in integration, it has aggregated power over issues that to a large degree define national sovereignty such as currency and control over borders. The development of the European Security and Defence Policy (ESDP) and the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) can be seen, therefore, as part of a natural progression that has led the EU to take a greater interest in defence and security issues as part of the integration process.
2. As the EU moves towards developing a CFSP and an ESDP, it will push more and more into areas of policy that affect NATO. Because most EU members are NATO members it is important that the relationship between the two institutions be compatible and complementary. The alternative - a competitive relationship that attempts to duplicate NATO security guarantees - could lead to increasing fragmentation of the Transatlantic alliance, with negative consequences for the security of all of our citizens.
3. The development of ESDP from raw idea to nascent institution in a very brief period is nothing less than amazing given the weight of the issues and the generally slow trend of developments in the EU. ESDP was first mentioned at the Maastricht Summit in 1993, and most observers at the time thought that the idea was something to be realised only well into the future. Yet over the next ten years, particularly since 1998, ESDP began to crystallize with increasing speed. It now has a permanent bureaucracy in the form of the EU military Committee and military staff, a framework for conducting operations and securing force goals from the member states, the beginnings of an agency for defence and armaments co-operation, and a security strategy that puts forth the political mechanisms and conceptual reasons for how and when this force would be used.
4. In short, within a decade ESDP has gone from vague idea to developing institution, one that is conducting small but significant operations in the Balkans and Africa. Clearly it is a difficult road and there have been many setbacks and obstacles. But even if the process is "two steps forward and one step back", ESDP has make remarkable progress and it is something we as parliamentarians from NATO member countries (and in many cases EU member countries as well) must take into serious consideration. Although there are many commentators who confidently predict that ESDP will never lead to a truly integrated EU military organisation, it is worth noting that there were those who confidently predicted in the 1980s that the single currency would never come into being either.
5. This report will look at some aspects of the development of ESDP and how they affect the NATO-EU relationship. The report will consider progress on the EU Rapid Reaction Force (ERRF) and how that force differs from the NATO Response Force (NRF). It will also consider the changeover from a NATO force to an EU force in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) and how that may affect the security situation in the Balkans. Many of the issues are more political that they are military, but in keeping with the purpose of this Sub-Committee, your Rapporteur will focus on those issues that impact on actual military co-operation and operations.
II. THE ORIGINS OF ESDP AND THE CURRENT STATE OF EU-NATO RELATIONS
6. At a fundamental level, there is the basic question of what exactly ESDP is expected to do and how it will work with NATO. All other issues - such as the development of a separate headquarters and particular clauses in the proposed European Constitution - flow from that basic question.
7. There are differing conceptions of what ESDP should become in the future, and those conceptions fit along a continuum. At one end of the spectrum, some see it as a major step forward in the European integration project. The creation of a European force capable of acting autonomously would give the EU some "hard" power to back up the CFSP. Eventually, ESDP would lead to a more common military force. The force would not necessarily be a European Army, but certainly a military force capable of conducting a range of missions without resorting to assistance from NATO or the United States when the member states of the EU agree that military force is needed. The need for such a force is not purely theoretical. It has its roots in the inability of Europe to act in the face of successive crises in the Balkans in the 90s without the assistance of the United States.
8. Also on this end of the spectrum is the view that the EU may eventually be responsible for the collective defence of Europe. As General Gustav Hägglund, the then Chairman of the EU Military Committee, asked rhetorically in February, "If 280 million Americans can take care of their homeland security without European involvement, isn't it fair to expect the 450 million Europeans to arrange the defence of their area without the Americans?" Although the statement was widely repudiated in NATO and EU circles, the sentiment is also reflected in the language of the draft constitution of the EU which calls for a collective defence commitment from the member states.
9. The constitution for the European Union refers to a mutual defence guarantee. The "solidarity clause" states that if a member state is the victim of a terrorist attack or a natural or man-made disaster that the EU "shall mobilize all instruments at its disposal including military assets." But Article 40 of the constitution goes further in its conception of mutual security, stating that if any member is the victim of armed aggression that the other members "shall give aid and assistance by all means in their power, military or other...". The constitution also mentions "structured co-operation" or that a smaller group of countries within the EU could forge ahead on building a common defence. Article 40.2 states that, "The common security and defence policy shall include the progressive framing of a common Union defence policy. This will lead to a common defence when the European Council acting unanimously so decides." However the constitution also explicitly refers to the primacy of NATO in its role as the collective defence organisation for its members.
10. At the other end of the spectrum, however, this conception of the EU as an institution encompassing a mutual security guarantee is not appealing. In this view, ESDP is a more limited and pragmatic development. ESDP is a means to build better capabilities because it may be easier to convince European publics that they should support the development of military capabilities within an EU context than it is to do so within an NATO context. The same ships, aircraft and troops would be used for either NATO or EU missions, so for those on this end of the spectrum, ESDP is less of a radical concept and more of a adjustment to political realities after the end of the Cold War and the existential threat to Europe posed by the Warsaw Pact. In this view, ESDP can only be seen as a means of improving European capabilities to take on certain activities in which NATO declines to participate.
11. Regardless, it is important to keep ESDP in perspective. There is no possibility of the EU fielding a military capability that is remotely comparable in size or capability to that of the United States. Even at its full strength and assuming a massive increase in European power projection capabilities, the ERRF would be about the same size as a one of the three US Marine Corps expeditionary forces. The EU is also not attempting to build a force for high intensity operations and is concentrating on stability operations, humanitarian relief and similar operations.
12. Thus while at one end of the continuum some see ESDP as a important part of the overall process of European integration, at the other end some are more focused on the pragmatic aspects of military co-operation to make Europe more capable of playing a larger role within or outside of the NATO alliance. On one side of the spectrum the EU is seen as ultimately having a collective defence role that would in practice duplicate the role of NATO and potentially distance the two sides of the Transatlantic partnership. Those on the other side of the spectrum are reluctant to have the EU play such a role and resist moves to push security co-operation away from the member states to the EU. This tension is played out in the controversy over such issues as the separate headquarters for the EU force and the European Constitution.
13. Some, including NATO Parliamentary Assembly President Doug Bereuter, argue that the two institutions should aim for a division of labour. It is in no member's interest to see an Alliance where the United States conducts the high-intensity operations and the European and Canadian forces follow with the lengthy and often dangerous stabilization operation. But the simple fact of the matter is that the capabilities gap between the United States and its allies is pushing us in that direction, despite areas of significant progress in meeting the Prague Capability Commitments (see the report of the Sub-Committee on Transatlantic Defence and Security Co-operation for details). Such a division along national lines could be damaging to the Alliance. At the same time, an EU that undertakes a collective defence commitment would seriously weaken the conceptual core of NATO and leave its members less, not more, secure.
14. President Bereuter has instead called for a division of labour along institutional rather than national lines. This would allow the EU to develop its nascent military power in a manner that is compatible, not competitive, with NATO. The EU could focus its attention on assuming primary responsibility for crisis management military operations in Europe or outside of Europe as needed, while NATO focuses on a range of operations that includes high-intensity scenarios.
15. Such a division of labour would fit well with existing competencies and respective strengths of NATO and the EU. While NATO can summon forces including a large component of US forces trained for high-intensity operations, most EU member state militaries are not nearly as well trained or equipped for such missions. On the other hand, those European forces are often better trained and more suited for less intense - but as recent events demonstrate, no less important - missions. In addition, the EU brings a range of other competencies from the civilian and paramilitary sectors to which NATO does not have access. The EU recently launched its first "rule of law" mission, sending legal experts to Georgia to help with the judicial reform process there. The EU is also expanding its ability to organize specialized paramilitary units that could be very useful in peace-keeping situations. The Italian Carabinieri is co-ordinating a new force of Italian, French, Spanish, Portuguese, and Dutch paramilitary forces. These forces occupy a unique position in that they are often used as a police force interacting with the civilian population, but are also organized, trained and armed in a manner more associated with military forces.
16. It is not clear what direction ESDP will take in the near future. There are different opinions as to what form it should take and if it should be seen as the next step in EU integration, or a more gradual form of defence co-operation among the EU member states. Regardless of the exact version that emerges, ESDP will play a large role in European security and affect the Transatlantic relationship. The critical part from your Rapporteur's perspective, is getting the relationship on a stable path so that developments in ESDP serve our common security interest on both sides of the Atlantic.
III. RAPID RESPONSE FORCE DEVELOPMENTS IN THE EU AND NATO
17. A new and important development for the EU and NATO is the development of rapid response forces. Both the EU and NATO are forming forces that will be able to respond quickly to a variety of situations. The one underlying fact we cannot ignore is that with rare exceptions, the forces and assets that would be used for an EU mission are the same as those that would be used for a NATO mission. It is important that those forces are built in a complementary manner and that the two institutions establish links to avoid potential problems as those forces are tasked for different missions.
18. Conceptually, ESDP is a part of the EU CFSP and aims to give the EU the ability to back up its diplomatic efforts with some power projection capability. It is not a competitor to NATO in its mission, scope, or scale. The ERRF is to be 60,000 troops capable of deploying within 60 days and remaining in the field for up to one year. Some of those forces would be very rapid reaction units capable of deploying in less than 30 days, and the bulk would be kept at a lower level of readiness. The ERRF would concentrate on the "Petersberg tasks" such as humanitarian operations, extraction of non-combatants from hostile environments, peacekeeping, and separation of warring parties. Those tasks are generally considered to be at the lower end of the scale of potential military operations.
19. In November 2001, the second Capabilities Improvement Conference found that EU Member States' voluntary contributions gave ESDP a resource base of more than 100,000 men, around 400 combat aircraft and 100 ships, fully satisfying the requirements defined by the Headline Goal to conduct different types of crisis management operations. In December 2001, the Laeken European Summit launched the next phase of the capability shortfall generation process with the European Capabilities Action Plan (ECAP). There are 19 panels exploring ways to improve European capabilities and they have reduced the number of shortfall areas from 42 to 26 since 2001. As early as January 2002, the ERRF was operational for light missions such as humanitarian tasks, rescue, and classic peacekeeping, with 70% of the required capacities available, according to EU Military Committee chairman General Gustav Hägglund. In May 2003, it was declared fully operational for the range of "Petersberg tasks", although EU officials recognise that it lacks many capabilities.
20. France, Germany and the UK have proposed creating a permanent pool of units modelled on the force that was sent to Bunia in the Congo last year. Under the plan, up to nine "battle groups" each of about 1,500 elite troops on call would be able to move into a crisis area within 15 days and stay in place for up to four months. France and the UK are expecting to provide battle groups on their own, although other countries in the EU have expressed concern about straining the budgets and capabilities of the smaller member states.
21. The plan specifically notes the need for such units to be used in Africa and calls for units that can operate in both hostile jungle or desert terrain and urban conflict areas. The battle groups are designed to give the EU the ability to respond quickly to a UN request to stabilise troubled areas before they grow into full-scale conflicts. They would be used to fill a critical time gap between when a crisis has been identified and when a UN force can be assembled to take over the situation. The battle group plan was agreed to at the June 2004 European Council meeting, and EU member country defence ministers expect to have the first three groups ready to be deployed next year. The EU defence ministers hope to have all nine battle groups up and running by 2007.
22. Among the most difficult issues to resolve in ESDP was that of EU access to NATO's military planning capabilities and assets. This involves mainly operational planning, but also force planning. The difficulties in achieving this stem in part from the differing agendas of EU member states, but also in the only partial overlap in the makeup of NATO and the EU. The debate has been focused on what is meant by the concepts of EU "capacity for autonomous action" as well as "assured access to NATO assets". Even if it fulfils the Headline Goal, the EU will have limited operational planning capabilities of its own, and no force planning mechanisms. NATO has endorsed the establishment of ESDP with the understanding that the EU would use NATO planning mechanisms, specifically operational planning at SHAPE and the NATO force planning process. The parties agreed to avoid unnecessary duplication and to enable the EU to take advantage of NATO's expertise.
23. NATO had been deadlocked over these questions, but an agreement reached between the EU and NATO in December 2002 opened the door to significant progress. The joint declaration between the two organisations states that, "NATO is supporting ESDP in accordance with the relevant Washington Summit decisions and is giving the European Union, inter alia and in particular, assured access to NATO's planning capabilities". This led to the 14-part agreement know as the "Berlin Plus" framework finalized in March 2003 under which NATO agrees to support the EU in missions where NATO has decided not become engaged, and the EU agrees to a lead role in EU missions for the Deputy Supreme Allied Commander Europe (DSACEUR) and to refrain from duplication of NATO structures.
24. As part of Berlin Plus it was expected that the EU would use NATO planning assets and not duplicate them. Despite the guaranteed access of the EU to NATO planning assets, several EU members forged ahead in 2003 with plans to develop a separate headquarters and planning cell at Tervuren, Belgium. After much opposition from the United States and some EU member states, the separate headquarters idea was dropped and replaced with a planning cell to be co-located with the existing EU military staff in Brussels. The planning cell will focus on primarily joint civilian-military EU operations in which NATO chooses not to participate, but according to EU sources, the "level of ambition" for the planning cell is still to be decided.
25. At the same time that the EU is attempting to construct a Rapid Reaction Force and the planning mechanisms for certain contingencies, NATO is also moving ahead on the NATO Response Force (NRF). The idea behind the NRF is to have a force that is flexible and can respond to a variety of situations. At the top level is a small, very rapid response force composed mainly of special forces that can be put in place within five days. At a somewhat lower level of readiness are the rapid reaction forces which can deploy after the initial force is in place.
26. The NRF is slated to be approximately 20,000 troops capable of rapid deployment. It is designed for high intensity operations, although it could also perform less demanding tasks. It is a heavily European force supported by American "enablers", including refuelling aircraft, heavy airlift, ground surveillance, and sealift. The force will have a land component composed of one brigade combat team with forced entry capability, an air component of 72 combat aircraft, and a maritime component composed of a carrier battle group, an amphibious task group and a surface action group of six to ten combat vessels. Those forces will be commanded by a Deployable Joint Task Force headquarters on a rotating basis among three groups, so that one would always be ready to be deployed on short notice.
27. A key part of the NRF concept is flexibility. The NRF is composed of forces from the member states that which will rotate through periods of training and certification as a joint force, followed by an operational "stand by" phase of six months. Allied Command Operations (ACO) will generate the NRF through force generation conferences. ACO will be responsible for certification of forces and headquarters. Allied Command Transformation (ACT) will develop future capabilities and further refine the NRF concept based on joint lessons learned.
28. ACT has been conceptually linked to the NRF since the two were conceived at the 2002 Prague Summit. ACT experiments with new technology, concepts and equipment, and disseminates new ideas and practices across NATO member forces. The NRF will become the tip of the spear of this process, turning these experiments and exercises into concrete plans of action. An exercise conducted at ACT (Allied Reach) just before the Defence and Security Committee visited the command in January showed how the two concepts are working together. Brigadier Lamont Kirkland (UK) and Deputy Commander of ACT, Admiral Ian Forbes (UK), discussed some of the strategic implications of that exercise with the Defence and Security Committee noting that one of the main lessons is that there is a large gap between ambition and resources in the Alliance. Some large questions emerged from the exercise, including: What happens when a nation with a lead role in a particular capability opts out of an operation? Can NATO engage in advance planning of potential operations without sending aggressive signals that could be misinterpreted? Can we speed up the decision making process in NATO without altering the basic idea of consensus? These questions, and no doubt many others, will have to be confronted and answered in the near future.
29. The NRF is designed for a range of operations, but because it is capable of rapid response, NATO planners see it as a force for primarily high-intensity situations that require a force that can be deployed in days. It could be used to extract non-combatants from a hostile situation, perform the initial parts of a crisis stabilization or humanitarian operation, or be used for Article 5 contingencies.
30. The first rotation of the NRF was set up in October 2003. The initial effort to secure contributions to the force proved to be more successful than anticipated. Fourteen alliance members assigned some of their most highly-trained units to the NRF. The total strength of the NRF stood at 9,500 in December 2003, far more than the 2,500-6,000 that NATO officials had expected. The troops in the first NRF came from a range of countries, but the largest contributions were from Spain (2,200) France (1,700), the UK (1,200), and Germany (1,100). This more than fulfilled the requirements for the initial operation capability of the force and set it on its way to reaching the goal of full operation capability by 2006. The force generation conference for the third and fourth rotations of the NRF has yielded similar results with pledges of troops totalling 18,000.
31. The first rotations of the NRF was commanded by Allied Forces North Europe (AFNORTH) headquartered at Brunssum, the Netherlands. Command transferred to AFSOUTH in Naples, Italy with the third and fourth cycles of the NRF beginning in June 2004. The NRF had its first live exercise in November 2003, an event that was specifically designed to test the force for some of the new missions that NATO believes could be likely tasks for the NRF in the future. Dubbed Allied Response, the exercise took place off the coast of Turkey and involved units from France, Spain, Turkey, Germany, Italy and Belgium with reconnaissance and other support functions played by UK and Norwegian forces. In the exercise, the NRF was sent to a fictional country at the request of the UN to help quell instability in the wake of civil war. By all accounts it was a complex and realistic exercise featuring hostage rescue, non-combatant evacuation, separation of hostile forces and counter-terrorist operations.
32. Some observers note that there is a potential conflict between the ERRF and the NRF. The NRF, however, is aimed at the high end of the scale. It is designed for very rapid deployment within a few days and insertion into hostile environments. The two forces may in fact be complementary, especially if the ERRF follows on an NRF mission. Nonetheless, there are only so many troops and assets available at any one time. A peacekeeping or humanitarian operation may require many of the same airlift assets as a more high intensity operation. Assets and troops deployed for an operation under the ERRF flag will not be available for a NATO operation and vice versa.
33. This issue becomes all the more salient when we consider plans for the EU battle groups and other high-readiness forces. There can only be so many troops kept at this level of readiness and trained for those specific operations. How should the member states of the EU and NATO decide which missions take priority? At the moment there is no formal mechanism although the EU Political and Security Committee (PSC) and the NATO North Atlantic Council have occasional meetings. There are also lower level meetings to work on those sorts of issues. But the fact remains that there is only a limited number of assets for the potential range of missions and they will draw from the same pool regardless of whether the shoulder patch has a national insignia, a NATO shield, or the EU flag.
34. Wim van Eekelen, long-standing member of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly, has suggested a rotational solution to this problem. Because the NRF would need to be available within 10 days, it would be virtually impossible for most countries to contribute meaningful forces to the NRF and the ERRF at the same time. Therefore, a logical compromise would be to have some countries participate in the ERRF for a year or two and then in the NRF for a similar length of time. It is not critical that all NATO members and all EU members participate in both forces at the same time, and a rotational cycle could help alleviate the burden of participation, especially for the smaller countries. In fact, participating members in the Battle Groups are now looking into options for planning several years into the future while taking into account the NRF cycles. It is encouraging that this is taking place and your Rapporteur looks forward to further progress on this issue.
IV. EUROPEAN UNION SECURITY OPERATIONS
35. The EU is not just developing forces; it is using them in small but significant operations. The EU has conducted three operations within the context of ESDP. Two of them - the mission in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia( (Operation Concordia) and the police mission in BiH - were conducted within the Berlin Plus framework that spells out the mechanisms for co-operation between the EU and NATO. The operation in the Democratic Republic of Congo (Operation Artemis) was conducted without reference to Berlin Plus.
36. The first of these missions began in April 2003 in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. NATO terminated its mission there (Operation Allied Harmony) and handed over responsibility to the EU. The 350 NATO personnel in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia were not performing an active peacekeeping or peace-enforcement role at the time. Rather they acted as observers and as a liaison with the government of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. The NATO mission had been extended several times at the request of the Macedonian government, but as the threat of another explosion of ethnic violence in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia became less severe, it seemed to be an opportune time to transfer the mission to the EU, which was undertaking its first-ever military operation.
37. The name of the mission changed to Operation Concordia, but the parameters of the mission remained the same as did much of the personnel. The EU-led force of 320 soldiers and 80 civilians has access to NATO planning and logistical facilities. Admiral Rainer Feist (Germany), NATO's Deputy Supreme Allied Commander Europe (DSACEUR), was appointed as operation commander for the EU-led crisis management units. The operation was conducted under the Berlin Plus agreement that guarantees EU access to NATO assets and places DSACEUR and AFSOUTH in the chain of command. Thus, it was the first operation conducted under ESDP, but one conducted in close co-ordination with NATO. Operation Concordia ran through 15 December 2003, at which point the mission was converted to a police mission (Proxima), with the participation of approximately 200 police from EU countries. Those officers are generally unarmed, but have helped to improve the local police forces which are generally more accepted as legitimate and fair by the general population than before.
38. It should be noted, however, that the operation in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia is a particularly light one and an easy first step for the EU. There are only a few hundred peacekeepers in the country, which minimises the logistical difficulties. Their mission is also minimal compared to the more active peace-enforcement role NATO forces play in BiH and Kosovo. Nonetheless, it could be an important first step leading to more widespread EU military activities in the region.
39. In general, operations in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia are seen as a success, although there were some tensions between NATO and the EU over the course of the mission. Despite the fact that some of the personnel involved in both operations were the same, there were some reports of difficulty in sharing information between NATO and EU personnel, and the dual chain of command could have been cumbersome if the situation in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia had deteriorated and required a more substantial presence.
40. The EU also launched Operation Artemis in 2003, a humanitarian relief operation in the Democratic Republic of Congo. This was a very brief and limited operation, but it did demonstrate the ability of an EU force to deploy to a region out of the European area. Perhaps most significantly, it was conducted without reference to the Berlin Plus framework as an entirely autonomous operation under an EU flag. Approximately 1,800 troops were sent to the region in response to a UN request, with about 1,200 in Congo and 600 in Uganda performing support roles. The operation was planned and conducted by the Centre de Planification et Conduite des Operations in Paris, and France provided the operational commander, the force commander on the ground and the majority of the troops. Arguably, it was essentially a French operation, although the EU stamp of approval gave it a somewhat different character. In fact ten other EU members (Austria, Belgium, Germany, Greece, Ireland, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, and the UK) participated in the operation and they were joined by several other countries such as Hungary and Canada.
41. Logistics proved to be the largest challenge. First there was the inherent difficulty in getting troops to Bunia, a remote location in central Africa. The only available airfield had to manage both military and humanitarian relief flights, and the rough runway had to be resurfaced after each landing. There were no usable roads and the airlift requirements stretched available resources. Nevertheless, the EU force was able to fly from European bases to Entebbe, Uganda and use that more developed airport as a base of operations for the mission in Bunia, some 300 km to the south. The EU force departed on 1 September 2003, leaving Bunia in the hands of a UN force.
42. The successful deployment of an EU force to a distant location opens the question of where the EU force may be used next. One possibility is Moldova. The Netherlands unofficially proposed a stability operation there when it held the Presidency of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) last year. EU officials, however, are cautious about engaging in what was once part of the Soviet Union, particularly if an operation there was conducted under Berlin Plus with some NATO support role. Another possibility for future intervention is the troubled Darfur area of Sudan where hundreds of thousands of people have been forced to flee their homes in the wake of attacks by Arab militias. General Gustav Hägglund, former chairman of the EU Military Committee, stated that such an operation is both "very possible" and "part of the battle group concept" although the EU later decided that any role it plays will only be to support an African Union operation.
43. What is apparent from those missions is that EU resources are stretched to provide the forces and logistical support for those limited operations. For example, although EU members have pledged 5,000 police to be available for police missions such as the one in BiH, nowhere near that number is available according to recent reports. At the same time, the EU Police Unit in Brussels that coordinates these operations is reportedly overstretched in managing the 500-person police mission in BiH.
44. Other operations may have been successful in a limited scope, but did not demonstrate that the EU force is currently able to mount a sustained operation. Operation Artemis in the Democratic Republic of Congo, for example, lasted less than two months and can hardly be seen as a test of the EU's ability to sustain a force in the field.
45. With the United States partially disengaging over the next few years to concentrate on other priorities, EU performance in stabilising the Balkans will be tested, as will the Berlin Plus agreement. So far the record is mixed. Some allies believe it is necessary to construct separate headquarters and a planning cell from NATO, and this could weaken the arrangements arrived at under the Berlin Plus framework, and weaken co-ordination between NATO and the EU. Regarding the ability of EU forces to take over NATO operations as the United States reduces its presence in the Balkans, capabilities and European armed forces' readiness are often identified as the most challenging issues for ESDP. According to the EU military committee chairman, the rapid reaction force will not have sufficient air transport capacity until 2008-2012.
46. Moreover, to date, Europeans have been dependent on purchased or leased foreign equipment - mostly American, Russian and Ukrainian - particularly for large or outsize loads, since European strategic transport capabilities are often insufficient, obsolete, or unavailable when needed. The EU force will not be capable of accomplishing the most difficult missions until theatre deployment capabilities are fully in place - and given the rate of progress of European countries' current programmes to achieve those capabilities, that could mean a wait until at least 2008, when the first A400M transport aircraft enters service.
47. The EU Military Staff has written reports on lessons learned from the operations conducted in BiH, the Democratic Republic of Congo and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. Unfortunately, those reports remain classified and no official information is available to either citizens or parliamentarians who lack the proper clearances. Your Rapporteur is not qualified to comment on the validity of the reasons for classification of those reports, but it does seem counter-productive to restrict access across the board and not make an unclassified version available. This could help to clarify many issues and highlight the ability of the EU to conduct operations within and outside of the context of the Berlin Plus agreements.
V. NATO, THE EU AND FUTURE STABILIZATION OPERATIONS IN THE BALKANS
48. Although the security situation in the Balkans has dramatically improved in recent years, there is still an acknowledged need to maintain some type of force to ensure stability and peace. In many ways shifting responsibility for peacekeeping operations in BiH to the EU seems to be a natural progression. For several years, the mission has been gradually reducing the presence of military forces and increasing the presence of international paramilitary police forces. The Multinational Specialized Unit (MSU) led by Italian Carabinieri is a regiment-sized force composed of Austrian, Hungarian, Romanian and Slovenian paramilitary personnel. It was put into BiH in 1998 to help improve public security and order based on the idea that such personnel, given their training and background, would be better suited to perform the ongoing stabilization mission than purely military forces. In addition, as mentioned earlier, the EU already also maintains a police mission in BiH, and the situation in BiH seems sufficiently stable to continue the shift from a heavily militarised peacekeeping operation to more police-based operation. Despite this, many on the ground in BiH and in the region underline the importance of maintaining a NATO presence in the region. NATO is widely seen as the organization that put an end to the Balkan wars of the 90s and cemented the peace that has allowed the region to recover. Many in the region are therefore eager to see NATO remain in place, if only a small but psychologically significant presence. Some of the political leadership, however, is adamant about maintaining a US presence in particular, citing a "bad experience with European forces" in the words of Bosnian president Sulejman Tihic.
49. The EU and NATO reached an agreement to transfer responsibility for peacekeeping in BiH from NATO to the EU by the end of 2004. The EU Foreign Affairs Ministers gave formal approval to the mission, which will be known as ALTHEA. NATO, however, will still keep about 200 troops in BiH, mostly to assist with reform of the BiH armed forces. The United States will keep an additional 150 troops and several helicopters at a base near Tuzla as part of a bilateral agreement with BiH.
50. The EU force will be backed up by Over the Horizon Forces (OTHF) that can be rapidly deployed to support the force in BiH in the event of an emergency situation. This same concept was used recently in Kosovo when violence erupted there in the spring. Forces from the MSU were sent to Kosovo within twelve hours and a full company was sent within twenty-four hours.
51. The Sub-Committee on Future Security and Defence Capabilities travelled to BiH in September 2004 and met with officials in the NATO SFOR mission, the BiH Government and Parliament, and the High Representative for both the United Nations and European Union missions. The purpose of the visit was to learn more about the transition between the NATO force in BiH and the EU force taking over operations there at the end of 2004, as well as to develop a better understanding of the prospects for BiH integration into NATO and the European Union. The delegation also visited a Liaison and Observation Team (LOT) outside of Sarajevo to see how this new concept of ensuring stability in the region is working in practice.
52. The Sub-Committee found that SFOR has accomplished its mission in producing a stable and secure environment. There is also evidence that BiH has made significant progress in defence reform and other areas. But at the same time, huge problems have yet to be addressed. Further integration of BiH into the EU or NATO is impossible without increased co-operation with the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY). More fundamentally, the complicated governmental structure of BiH is simply not functional. BiH must reform its constitution to simplify and concentrate governing authority if it is to move, in the words of High Representative Lord Ashdown, "from Dayton to Brussels." Until dramatic progress is made on those fronts, the members of the Sub-Committee are concerned that BiH will not become a functioning state and will instead remain a ward of the international community.
53. The complicated nature of the BiH governing structure requires a note of explanation. The "entities" are the Federation (divided into 10 cantons), which includes the mostly Croat as well as Bosnian Muslim (Bosniac) areas; the Republika Srpska (RS) that covers the mainly Serb parts of the country; and a separate authority governing the area of Brcko. At the local level there are municipality authorities governing the cities and towns. On top of this structure is the "state", which in this context refers to the Federal Government of BiH. In practice, most power and authority is at the entity level although the state is beginning to take on more authority in areas such as defence.
54. Deputy Commander of SFOR General Matthew Sykes told the delegation that the security situation is stable in BiH and, although there is tension between ethnic groups, it is not enough to blow up into large-scale violence again. He noted the organized crime is a serious problem as is the potential threat that BiH could serve as a base for terrorist organizations. In general, he believed the situation to be calm and stable enough for state-building to take place.
55. General Sykes emphasized the smooth nature of the transition between SFOR and the European Union force (EUFOR). Eighty percent of the forces will be the same after the transition in December 2004. NATO will retain a presence in BiH and the two forces will have headquarters in the same building. EUFOR will have overall command of operations and be responsible for ongoing stability operations to ensure a safe and secure environment. NATO will work with the BiH on defence reform, counter-terrorism and assist in the capture of war criminals. EUFOR will also continue with the LOT. These teams are composed of 8 or 10 lightly armed soldiers who live in normal houses in towns and villages across BiH. They act as a deterrent presence to discourage outbreaks of violence, and interact with the local population on a daily basis. Through this interaction they act as the eyes and ears of SFOR and may learn valuable pieces of information about illegal weapons storage sites, war crimes suspects, or organized crime.
56. General Sykes also stated that defence reform in BiH is a model achievement. The entities no longer control the armed forces and the state Ministry of Defence has operational control. The delegation met with Minister of Defence Nikola Radovanovic who detailed some of the progress. The military has been dramatically reduced from over 350,000 during the war to 12,000 today. There is a joint staff and a state defence ministry, although they in fact control only a small amount of defence spending. Most of the spending and control over equipment, training and pensions is controlled by the entities. With the exception of one ceremonial unit, all units remain ethnically homogeneous below the brigade level. Nonetheless, the achievements so far represent significant progress considering that many of those in the BiH armed forces were engaged in a brutal war against one another only nine years ago.
57. The delegation met with many officials who emphasized the fragility and unsustainable nature of the governing structure of BiH. Lord Ashdown stated that the system put in place by the Dayton Peace Agreement was designed to end the conflict, not to provide a long-term form of government. The result is a structure in which everything has three parts to represent the Serb, Croat and Bosniac populations. Although the Federation representing the Croat and Bosniac populations believes that there should be constitutional reform to strengthen the state government, the Republika Srpska is opposed to any reform that would weaken their authority over the Serb regions of BiH.
58. Co-operation with the ICTY in the Hague is another critical issue that the delegation returned to repeatedly in its discussions. The RS has so far been uncooperative with the efforts to arrest war crimes suspects. General Sykes underlined the fact that the RS has not arrested a single one of the 29 individuals taken into custody for war crimes. This is the single largest problem for further integration into NATO or EU structures. Until there is improved co-operation, included but not limited to apprehension of the two most notorious figures Karadzic and Mladic, it will not be possible for BiH to join Partnership for Peace (PfP) or enter the EU Stabilization and Accession Process (SAP).
59. With regard to war criminals, Lord Ashdown told the delegation that it is important to harmonise the positions of the EU and NATO. NATO appears to have taken the position that the arrest of Mladic and Karadzic is necessary to bring BiH into PfP. The EU, however, has set a possibly easier standard to achieve based on the ICTY prosecutor's assessment that BiH is giving full co-operation to the process. Although these different standards are not contradictory, they may send a mixed message and lead to confusion about what BiH must do to move forward in Euro-Atlantic integration.
60. There are some encouraging signs that attitudes in the RS may be changing. The RS authorities recently issued a statement saying that the RS would not obstruct the work of the ICTY, and there are some new ministers in key positions who appear to be more eager to resolve the issue. In addition, it is increasingly clear that Serbia is less supportive of the position of the RS on co-operation with the ICTY which leaves it very isolated. Several officials stated that they believed there may be some positive movement on this issue, but that it is important to maintain pressure on the RS and Serbia to make real progress.
61. Another continuing challenge will be to deal with BiH weapons and prevent them from falling into the wrong hands. BiH was a main producer of weapons in the former Yugoslavia and the region remains flooded with small arms. Many storage sites have been set up to hold weapons until they can be destroyed, but they are not very secure according to the Minister of Defence. He told the delegation that there are about 30,000 tons of explosives and ammunition that need to be destroyed. NATO is helping with this process, but more should be done more quickly to eliminate this dangerous problem. Some of the members of the delegation recommended that this issue should be taken under consideration by the NATO Parliamentary Assembly at its next annual meeting.
62. The delegation is pleased to note the smooth transfer between SFOR and EUFOR. The SFOR mission was to stabilise and provide a safe and secure environment. By any measure, BiH is infinitely more stable and secure that it was only a few years ago. The transfer to EUFOR is therefore appropriate as the mission becomes less of a military mission and more of a policing and development mission, an aspect of stability operations that is more suited to the EU than to NATO.
63. At the same time, the delegation is concerned about the roadblock that BiH appears to have reached in making the transition from Dayton to Brussels. Although there has been undeniable progress, the remaining tasks are daunting. Unless BiH can reform its constitution to become a viable state and resolve the outstanding war crimes issues, it will not be able to join the PfP or start the EU SAP. It will remain isolated and dependent on the international community, eventually draining the goodwill and patience of its benefactors in Europe and elsewhere.
64. As we look at the EU-NATO relationship, several points are worth stressing. First is that the Transatlantic partnership is a vital and reliable source of security for the citizens of Europe and North America. Steps that may weaken that partnership - such as adding a collective defence commitment to the EU constitution - should be scrutinized closely and with the effect on the Euro-Atlantic community in mind, not just Europe. Another point is that no matter how many shoulder patches we design, European and North American militaries have a limited number of deployable forces and the logistical assets to support them. It does not matter if the force sent to stabilize an area or manage a crisis is an EU force or a NATO force if we lack the specialized personnel and equipment necessary to successfully complete the mission. The bottom line is capabilities, as we have been reminded many times by the current and especially the former Secretary General of NATO.
65. Some see inherent conflicts in the development of the ERRF and the NRF, but this does not have to be the case. It is possible and indeed likely given the current capabilities, that the EU force will focus on stabilisation and humanitarian operations rather than high intensity operations, while the NRF will be used more for those high intensity operations that require a comparatively large force at a higher degree of readiness. Such a division of labour does not put us in the uncomfortable position of having the United States conduct combat operations and then leave the aftermath to European and Canadian forces. Instead it is functional division between organizations based on their institutional capabilities and strengths.
66. The real test of the evolving relationship between the EU and NATO, however, is actual operations. Right now the proving ground is in the Balkans as we transition in BiH from a NATO mission into an EU mission. As such, this Sub-Committee will seriously consider developments there as they relate to the ability of the EU and NATO to work in concert to ensure security and stability in Europe and elsewhere.
( Turkey recognises the Republic of Macedonia with its constitutional name.