by Ulla Klötzer, Chair of Alternative to EU – Finland; Board member of the European Anti-Maastricht Alliance TEAM; Activist within the movement Women for Peace - Finland
One huge step in the development of the European Union towards a federation is a common defence. The first deciding step in direction of a common defence was taken in the Maastricht Treaty, signed by the EU foreign ministers in February 1992. The Maastricht Treaty placed defence issues on the EU agenda. Article J.4 of the Maastricht Treaty stated that the eventual framing of a common defence policy might in time lead to a common defence.
In the Amsterdam Treaty of June 1997 article J.4 was changed into article J.7 and the changes in the text further confirmed the development towards a common defence. “The common foreign and security policy shall include all questions relating to the security of the Union, including the progressive framing of a common defence policy, in accordance with the second subparagraph, which might lead to a common defence should the European Council so decide.” Article J.7 means that the decision about the common defence has simply become a question that can be solved by the ministers of the Member States. No referendums or other means to measure if the citizens of the Member States really want a common defence have to be used to legalise the decision.
The role of WEU (the Western European Union) – the military arm of the EU – is also stated in the Amsterdam Treaty. Article J.7.3 says: “The Union will avail itself of the WEU to elaborate and implement decisions and actions of the Union which have defence implications.”
Immediately after the Amsterdam Summit (July 22nd, 1997) the foreign ministers of the EU-states
adopted a declaration concerning the relations between the EU and the WEU. The declaration states among other things that:
- the co-operation and the decision making procedures between the EU and the WEU shall be
improved, especially concerning situations in crises
- common meetings shall be held between important bodies of the EU and the WEU
- administration and leadership shall be harmonised
- the co-operation between the staff of the general secretariats of the WEU and the EU Council of
Ministers shall be intensified
- the new “foreign ministry” of EU (decided upon at the Amsterdam Summit) shall be able to push
the Planning Unit of the WEU to put up troops led by the WEU
- the WEU shall actively take part in the defence planning of NATO
This last item clearly shows the close connection between EU – WEU - NATO.
This was further confirmed by the appointment of NATO secretary general Javier Solana to the post as High Representative for the common foreign and security policy of the EU. He thus functions as EU foreign minister.
The scenario where WEU is the military player of the EU is delicate since the nonaligned Member States naturally are not members of the WEU and becoming members would raise a very problematic debate in these countries.
In order to avoid this debate the Heads of the EU Member States at the Cologne EU Summit in June 1999 took steps that do not any longer emphasize the important role of the WEU. Instead most of the WEU functions are now to be carried out by the EU and EU is given the role as the military player.
In the document agreed upon, it says that:
- the European Union shall play its full role on the international stage
- EU shall be given the necessary means and capabilities to assume its responsibilities regarding a
common European policy on security and defence
- the Council shall have the ability to take decisions on the full range of conflict prevention and
crisis management tasks defined in the Treaty of the European Union as the Petersberg tasks
- EU shall seek further progress in the harmonisation of military requirements and the planning and
procurement of arms
- a defence head quarter shall be built up in Brussels with its own military staff, intelligence service,
satellite centre, institute for security studies, etc
- a permanent body in Brussels (Political and Security Committee) shall be founded consisting of
representatives with both political and military expertise
- a military Committee will be founded consisting of military representatives making recommen-
dations to the Political and Security Committee
- the defence ministers shall have possibilities to attend the Council meetings together with the
The document stresses that the EU must have the capacity for autonomous action, backed up by credible military forces, the means to decide to use them, and the readiness to do so, in order to respond to international crises without prejudice to actions by NATO. This will, according to the document be done in accordance with the principles of the UN Charter. However, referring to the UN principles is quite different than demanding that operations shall only be possible on a UN mandate. The aim is clearly that the EU shall be able to act independently without the consent of the UN – exactly the way it was done by eleven EU Member States within the framework of NATO in Kosovo. NATO never declared war with Yugoslavia but explained its intervention as a peace making operation.
The document also shows how the close link EU – WEU – NATO from earlier documents now will become even straighter since the WEU component is gone. The Cologne document stresses that
the EU shall ensure the development of effective mutual consultation, cooperation and transparency between the European Union and NATO and that a stronger European role will contribute to the vitality of the NATO for the 21st century. Member States must develop further forces without any unnecessary duplication in regards to NATO. The NATO thus becomes the main military supplier of the EU. Also without direct involvement of USA the EU shall be able to lead operations using NATO assets and capabilities.
As a conclusion the Cologne document states that the aim of the EU is to take the necessary decisions by the end of the year 2000. The WEU will by then have completed its purpose as an organisation. The different status of Member States with regard to collective defence guarantees are not to be affected since the NATO remains the foundation of the collective defence of its Member States.
The problem with the nonaligned Member States has thus been solved. EU itself will be the military player, not the WEU. By changing the documents bit by bit, but fast enough to assure that the citizens cannot follow the changes any longer the goal of changing the EU into a military component of the NATO has been achieved without any further debate.
Especially the Cologne document shows that concerning EU defence issue “porridge and gruel
have been mixed” – an old Finnish way of telling that somebody is mixing up things in order to cheat somebody. Clear defence issues, peace keeping and peace enforcement are all mixed together in order to confuse the debate, and in order to help the Heads of the so called “nonaligned” EU Member States to keep their citizens calm. The new foreign minister of the EU, Javier Solana however, put the matters straight when he soon after his appointment in November 1999 at a press conference had to answer a question how he is going to present the issue of a common EU security and defence policy in the nonaligned Member States. “They are going to be told that it is just a question of Petersberg tasks and that we are not going to create a common army”.
In December right before the EU Summit in Helsinki he also emphasized the problematic situation of the nonaligned EU Member States in a situation when a peace keeping/enforcing operation escalates and turns into warfare.
The Presidency Conclusions from the EU Summit in Helsinki in December 1999 underlines the
determination of the EU to develop an autonomous capacity to take decisions and, where NATO as a whole is not engaged, to launch and conduct EU-led military operations in response to
international crises. The document further states that the process will avoid unnecessary duplication and does not involve the creation of a European army. This last sentence stating that the process does not involve the creation of a European army was strongly opposed by France and it was not included in the crisis management report that was also adopted at the Summit. However it was clear already before the Helsinki Summit that France, Germany and Italy want to include the defence in the EU Treaties so that the countries that so wish can proceed towards a common defence faster than the nonaligned Member States. This means that the Presidency Conclusions from the Summit that will be held in France in December this year might not include this sentence.
In Helsinki it was decided that the Union shall within three years create a common military force consisting of 50 000 – 60 000 men. This force shall be available for preventing international crises.
The forces shall be used for both peace keeping and peace enforcement. The Heads of States left it open where the forces shall be used. The Finnish Prime Minister Paavo Lipponen did not give any straight answer to the question whether the forces will also be used for crises outside Europe. It was also left open whether the operations shall have UN consent and what the relations to NATO are going to be. – All too delicate question to be dealt with at an EU Summit in a nonaligned Member State so they were simply left open or unclear.
This means that Spain and France that will share the EU leadership during the year 2000 have quite free hands to proceed in these fields. According to the annexes to the Presidency Conclusions (“strenghtening the common European policy on security and defence and on non-military crisis management of the European Union”) decisions are expected to be taken by the end of the year 2000 towards the objectives set at Cologne.
When you follow the changing of documents ever since the Maastricht Treaty the trend is absolutely clear. Every new document on security and defence issues takes further steps towards a common defence. A sneaking militarization of Europe is going on and this militarization will definitely not promote peace and understanding but it will start a new arms race and create new iron curtains.
In November 1999 Javier Solana as newly appointed “EU foreign minister” stressed that the EU Member States must use more money for the defence. He also stressed the federative image of the EU by stating that the French and British chairs in the UN Security Council should be replaced by an EU chair. In December the defence minister of the USA also requested the European allies to use more money for weapons. According to him the Europeans have many problems; they have no proper intelligence service technology, no precision weapons, no ability to keep up raids for longer periods, etc., etc.
This rearmament of a Europe strongly connected to NATO will launch a new arms race all over the world.
In Russia a new military doctrine was recently adopted to replace the one from 1997. The new doctrine opens up the possibilities to use nuclear weapons to fight an enemy if all other methods to solve the crises have been used or if they have been inefficient. In the doctrine from 1997 nuclear weapons were to used only if the existence of Russia was threatened. The new doctrine clearly defines the West and the enlargement of NATO to the East as possible threats and therefore the use of nuclear weapons has been made easier.
In China the Party Leader Jiang Zemin has required the Military Academy to train many new highly
qualified officers as fast as possible. The Chinese government also wants to meet the growing threats by a Star Wars program of their own and by training experts for computer wars. In the nuclear field China is testing a new nuclear driven attack submarine.
The European Union is promoted as a peace project by the EU elite and by the political elite of the Member States. A peace project that launches a new arms race requiring more money for weapons in a time when financial resources are badly needed to meet the growing gap between reach and poor and to cope with the huge global and local environmental problems that are threatening the whole mankind. Obviously EU has made a new definition for the word peace – the Orwellian version has been accepted: War is peace and peace is war!