Sir Michael JAY KCMG
British Ambassador to France
THE EUROPEAN SECURITY AND DEFENCE POLICY AND TRANSATLANTIC RELATIONS
Opening Lecture in the Cicero Foundation Great Debate seminar "European Armaments
Industries, ESDP, and Transatlantic Cooperation", PARIS, 29 March 2001
Thank you for the invitation. I am delighted to be here. This is an excellent
moment to discuss these issues: ESDP negotiations are moving towards the final
stages, on the basis of what was agreed at Nice.The new US Administration is
coming to ESDP for the first time - and getting to grips with the issues and
the implications for NATO. And industrial restructuring has achieved a lot in
the last few years, for example EADS, BAe/Marconi.
But there are big questions ahead, particularly on Transatlantic links, as well
as some big procurement decisions too. I want to touch briefly on all those
issues, which you will want to develop in more detail over the next couple of
Putting the Debate in a Broader Context
But to start with, I want to put the debate - and particularly the debate on
ESDP and NATO - into a broader context. For 40 years and more after the end
of World War II, European defence effectively meant only one thing: the territorial
defence of non-Communist Europe, including Turkey, assured by NATO, under the
terms of Article 5 of the Washington Treaty:
"The Parties agree that an armed attack against one or more of them in Europe
or North America shall be considered an attack against them all…."; and that
allies would assist any partner attacked "by taking forthwith, individually
and in concert with the other Parties, such action as it deems necessary, including
the use of armed force, to restore and maintain the security of the North Atlantic
NATO was a defensive alliance, in which conventional forces prepared for a
possible land invasion across the Iron Curtain that divided Europe, with the
nuclear umbrella providing the ultimate deterrence under the doctrine of mutually
assured destruction - MAD. That defensive alliance was instrumental in ensuring
peace in Europe for 50 years and by containing and preventing the spread of
communism into Western Europe, it helped bring about the collapse of the Soviet
Empire in the Soviet Union and in Eastern Europe. That collapse has brought
huge opportunities, particularly the chance to welcome the countries of Central
and Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union into NATO and the EU as members
or as close partners - a process which is really only just underway. But that
collapse has also brought problems, in particular in the Balkans, as the break-up
of Yugoslavia has led to the resurgence of old nationalisms.
The result is that for the first time since World War II, European defence
has become not just territorial defence, but also conflict prevention and crisis
management within Europe, and on the EU's own frontiers. The consequence is
that NATO has had to adapt to a new range of tasks, which in turn require quite
different philosophies and structures from the old Article 5 certainties. That
process continues today. NATO cannot, alone, of course claim the credit for
the end of communism. The inherent contradictions of Marxism played a key role
and so, of course, did the development of the European Community, later the
European Union, into an increasingly coherent economic and political entity.
Indeed, NATO's guarantee gave Europeans the security they needed to rebuild
Europe and made it possible for the EU, in its turn, to become a producer of
A European and Transatlantic Approach Go Hand in Hand
But as with NATO, so the collapse of communism has faced the EU with the need
to change. Enlargement is one aspect of that. But another is the need to develop
the coherence and credibility of the CFSP to be able to deal effectively with
political instability on the EU's borders. Until 1989, a CFSP that was limited
to declarations and to economic and diplomatic sanctions was just about credible.
The break up of Yugoslavia from 1990 onwards showed clearly that this was not
What was now needed was a multi-dimensional response, using a new range of
tools: economic, political, diplomatic and military. In other words, the last
ten years have shown the necessity for both NATO and the EU to adapt radically
to the new challenges presented by the end of communism. But the last ten years
have also shown the need for the EU and NATO to work together in managing crises;
in other words for a European and a Transatlantic approach that go hand in hand.
The crisis in Bosnia in 1992-95 before the Dayton Agreement of December 1995,
showed the difficulty of crisis management without the participation of the
United States. The Americans did not wish to be on the ground. UN forces were
inadequately manned and co-ordinated and therefore ineffective. With an EU capability
of the type now taking shape, we might have been able to do better.
The same lesson needs to be drawn, though in different circumstances, from
the Kosovo crisis of 1999. NATO action in Kosovo achieved its main objectives
of forcing Serb military withdrawal from Kosovo. That result would simply not
have been possible without the military support, and in particular, the air
power, of the United States and NATO. Eighty percent of strike sorties were
flown by the US Airforce. And while the Europeans now provide over eighty percent
of the troops in Kosovo, we had the greatest difficulty in getting a small fraction
of the troops we had on paper to the right place at the right time when the
time came to deploy. I personally doubt Milosevic would have been removed from
the political scene without NATO's action.
At the same time, we have to recognise that there may be crises in the future
in which the European Union decides - through the General Affairs Council or
the European Council - that a European military intervention, whether humanitarian,
peace-keeping or crisis management (i.e. the so-called Petersberg tasks) is
necessary, while the United States decides, for whatever reason, not to take
part. We should also remember that the US have long been demanding that the
Europeans take more responsibility for their own security needs. And we should
also recognise that the WEU was never going to be able to provide the capability
The St. Malo Defence Initiative
Hence the need, recognised initially by Britain and France at St Malo in 1998,
for stronger European Security Defence arrangements which strengthen both NATO
- by giving it a more flexible capacity to respond to crisis - and strengthen
the European Union - by giving it the capacity to act as part of or alongside
NATO, or, in certain circumstances, autonomously. France and Britain - whose
policies on European defence had traditionally been at opposite ends of the
spectrum - believed that if they could reach agreement on an ESDP which would
be fully compatible with NATO, other EU and NATO allies would, after discussion,
join a consensus. And so, up to now it has proved. The ESDP arrangements conceived
at St Malo were accepted by NATO as a whole, in Washington in 1999, and the
EU as a whole, in Cologne in 1999.
There are three main scenarios, following St Malo, in which Europeans could
be involved in military action:
* Military intervention as part of NATO.
This was the Kosovo scenario, which would need to be repeated in any intervention
on that sort of scale.
* Military intervention by the EU, but making use of NATO's assets
Its AWACS for example and above all its operational planning capability. These
are the so-called Berlin plus arrangements.
* Military intervention by the EU, acting autonomously, in circumstances
where NATO as a whole is for whatever reason not engaged.
A great deal has been done over the last two years to turn these concepts into
practice.A new institutional framework has been established within the EU -
a political and security committee, a military committee, and a military staff,
which will soon be at full strength. Progress has been made in defining the
relationship between those bodies and NATO, though important works remains to
be done, in particular on agreeing arrangements for the EU to have recourse
to NATO assets and capabilities - the Berlin plus arrangements. The EU has put
into place arrangements for full co-operation and dialogue with partners and
allies - i.e. non-EU European NATO allies and EU accession countries - at all
levels from Ministerial down, and at all times.
How to Improve Military Capabilities?
In particular, heavy emphasis has been put, since the beginning, on military
capabilities. It was clear to Britain and France from the start that the ESDP
arrangements would not be credible unless they were backed up by the political
will to fund the necessary military capability - at the very least, to halt
the decline in defence expenditure. Hence the decision at the European Council
in Helsinki to set a headline goal for the EU: "to be able, by 2003, to deploy
within 60 days and sustain for at least one year, military forces of up to 50-60,000
persons, with air and naval support as necessary, capable of conducting the
full spectrum of Petersberg missions." Hence also the capabilities conference
in November 2000 at which EU member states agreed their contribution to this
headline goal. Hence also the decision at the Franco-British Summit in Cahors
in February this year to convene a second capabilities conference later in the
year to address the capabilities gaps we have identified. That really brings
us up to where we are now: a concept of ESDP, compatible with and indeed reinforcing
NATO, on which we can all agree; institutions in Brussels which are bedding
down, and starting to prove their worth; a commitment to a headline goal - a
rapid reaction force or rather a pool of forces - (emphatically not a European
army), and to national contributions to turn it into reality. Agreement at Nice
was to sort out the institutional relationship between EU and NATO by the end
of this year, so that the new arrangements could be declared operational.
What About the Future? Three Questions
But what about the future? That will be the subject of your conference. I would
like to leave you with certain questions:
Will the US Administration accept the ESDP package? It was inevitable that
a new Administration, coming to these questions for the first time, should ask
themselves - and others - some searching questions. But the results of initial
contacts has been positive. Prime Minister Blair and President Bush issued a
joint statement in Washington a month ago confirming their support for a European
defence "intended to make Europe a stronger, more capable partner in deterring
and managing crises affecting the security of the Transatlantic Community".
This was echoed during Foreign Minister Védrine's recent visit to Washington
when Colin Powell said: "Mr Védrine and I agree that ESDP should be complementary
to NATO". At the same time, US officials have made clear that their support
will depend on two things: an agreement on the relationship between EU and NATO;
and a real increase in European capabilities.
Those are second and third questions:
Can we reach an early agreement on EU/NATO relations, so that the ESDP arrangements
can be declared operational - as agreed at Nice? We have already done a lot.
The organisations are now working closely together at all levels. There was
a joint meeting of the NAC and the EU's Political and Security Committee two
weeks ago, for example, to discuss the EU and NATO's approach to the Presevo
valley. George Robertson and Javier Solana are in regular contact about events
in Macedonia. Another NAC/PSC meeting is planned for early next week. But we
have got to make the arrangements permanent. And in particular, we have got
to set out clearly how the EU will get guaranteed access to NATO's operational
planning capabilities and access to NATO assets - once again, the Berlin plus
arrangements. That is a key objective for the next few weeks and months.
And it is a crucial objective. We can all envisage scenarios over the next
5, 10, 15 years in which there will be pressure for EU military activity to
back up CFSP - pressure from the sheer logic of a crisis, pressure from public
opinion, backed up by the press - where diplomatic and political means have
been exhausted. As I said earlier, any intervention on anything like the scale
of Kosovo will require full NATO participation for the foreseeable future and
the UK will certainly want the US to be involved when the US want to be engaged.
In practice, it is hard to imagine any circumstances when the EU would want
to act without the Americans if the Americans did want to take part. NATO, in
other words, will in practice be the instrument of choice when the Europeans
and US want to act together. But we must work on the assumption that there will
be occasions where NATO as a whole will not be engaged, in which case it will
be right that the EU should be able to decide to act and take action alone.
To be able to do so, they will need to be able to choose to act with recourse
to NATO assets, or autonomously - depending on the circumstances.
My third question is just as important. Will the EU countries have the political
will to increase their defence capabilities and to arrest the decline in defence
budgets since the end of the Cold War? The signs so far are mixed - but on balance
encouraging. The post-Cold War decline in defence budgets has been halted and
even reversed in some countries. Countries are also adapting their forces for
their new roles. Britain is doing so through the implementation of the Strategic
Defence Review. France is doing so through its modernisation programme. Many
other European countries are now engaged in their own defence reviews. It is
welcome the percentage of defence budgets devoted to equipment spending is increasing.
There is undoubtedly more work to do here. Britain and France devote 20-25%
of their defence budgets to equipment and about 12% to R&D. This is not the
case with all European partners. But progress is being made.
European Defence Industry: The Importance of Transatlantic Cooperation
This brings me finally to the other main topic for your conference: the defence
industry and procurement. Here too, I believe that Transatlantic cooperation
is more important, and beneficial to us all, than confrontation. There is a
tendency sometimes to see the present state of industry consolidation as having
created two large European companies - EADS and BAe Systems - and two giant
US companies, Boeing and Lockheed Martin. The reality, of course, is much more
complex than that. There are close links between BAe Systems and EADS - over
60% of EADS's annual turnover is generated by joint activity between the two
companies, for example in Airbus, missiles (MBD) and satellites (Astrium). Thales
own Racal and Shorts. SNECMA has very close links with General Electric and
Thales with Raytheon. BAe Systems, which now employ about 15,000 staff in the
US, sell about the same value of equipment to the US Department of Defence as
to the MOD. Nor does industrial consolidation seem to me to be over.
The question is where it's going, will there be further European consolidation?
Consolidation in the US? Or more formal Transatlantic links? Procurement Patterns
are evolving too. It makes sense to European governments to take steps to harmonise
requirements and manage projects jointly - for example through the Intra-European
Letter of Intent and through OCCAR, the joint European Armaments Cooperation
Organisation. Britain is playing a full part in that. Along with other European
partners we are committed to the Airbus A400M, a European military tactical
aircraft, and to METEOR, a new collaboratively produced air-to-air missile.
These projects are an important contribution to improving European capabilities
in key areas, and to ensuring the maintenance of a strong European technological
base. Britain, like other European countries, meets some key requirements by
US purchases or collaboration too of which the recent announcement to participate
in the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) programme is an example. So European consolidation
is not 'fortress Europe'. Such an approach would not make any sense, particularly
given our need for access to US cutting-edge technology.
But it is equally reasonable to ask the US to avoid 'fortress America'. The
Declaration of Principles Britain signed with the US last year is a first step
in that direction. In terms similar to the intra-European Letter of Intent,
it sets out our joint ambition to improve the framework for equipment collaboration
by British and American companies, and for a more integrated and stronger defence
industrial base. We and other European countries with similar goals, will in
coming months be agreeing practical steps with the new Administration to put
these ambitions into practice. I suspect that there will be some difficult hurdles
to overcome before we have an effective two-way street in defence trade between
Europe and the US. But we have, on both sides of the Atlantic, to try to do
just that. So in procurement, as in industrial restructuring, as in defence
- the strengthening of European capability needs to go hand in hand with transatlantic
In conclusion then, neither Europeans nor Americans profit from disagreement.
Those with very different interests and approaches do. Only Europeans and the
US working together will be able to stop Milosevic. The problems in Balkans
are far from solved, as incidents of recent weeks demonstrate. But the EU and
NATO acting together brought us to a position where long-term stability and
democracy in key area of Europe is now possible.
Of course there will be transatlantic differences from time to time - just
as there are differences within Europe. And there will be tough commercial competition
in the defence industry, as in other industries - sometimes transatlantic, sometimes
in more complex configurations. But on the defence and security issues that
you will be discussing today and tomorrow, we share a basic objective - a stronger
European contribution to international security - and need now to tie down agreement
on the means of realising it.