Assembly of Western European Union, Address by Mr Pertti Torstila, Secretary of State at the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, Representing the EU Finnish Presidency

Assembly of Western European Union

Address by Mr Pertti Torstila, Secretary of State at the Ministry for Foreign Affairs,
Representing the EU Finnish Presidency

Paris, 18 December 2006


Mr. President,

Distinguished Members of the Assembly,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is a great pleasure and honour for me to be here today. The Assembly of the WEU provides an excellent opportunity for European Parliamentarians - beyond the boundaries of the EU - to participate in the shaping of security and defence issues in Europe. The Assembly continues to offer an important link between EU citizens and governments in the field of ESDP.

In my intervention, I would first like to take a brief look at where the union stands in the development of European Security and Defence Policy. Secondly, my intention is to focus in more detail on some key issues in ESDP during Finland’s EU Presidency.

During the last years, after the European Council meetings in Cologne and Helsinki in 1999, we have come a long way in shaping European Security and Defence Policy. The main crisis management institutions and procedures for decision-making and tools for action are now in place. Both the EU civilian and military crisis management capability as such - as well as its concrete expression, the number of actual crisis management operations have rapidly increased.

There is no need to give you a lecture about all the details of our joint achievements during the past few years. But, let us summarise the context in which we operate.

Firstly, the EU Security Strategy (ESS) provides an essential conceptual backbone for our work. As we know, it depicts the main security threats that we confront: terrorism, proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, regional conflicts and failing states as well as organised crime. According to the ESS, the EU is best fit to face these challenges together with other international actors, organisations and states, in a multilateral setting. At the same time, the EU should have its own capabilities for crisis management.

Secondly, the years since 1999 have been time of rapid development of the institutional framework for the ESDP, as part of the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP). At the same time, the Commission is active in various parts of the world, and the cooperation in the area of freedom, security and justice is increasing. International security challenges are ever more multifaceted. It has been acknowledged that the EU, with its comprehensive set of instruments, is well suited to confront such complex challenges and capable in bringing added value in crisis management. However, there is still work to be done to enhance the coherence of EU action.

Thirdly, the practical implementation of the ESDP has expanded, to more than 10 on-going civilian and military crisis management operations and missions. With the Battlegroups and the civilian Crisis Response Teams fully operational next year, we have come close to fulfilling many of the main aspects of the 1999 decisions. We can also recall the work on possible use of ESDP instruments - in this case, Member States' military assets - in EU disaster response.

Hence, in a relatively short time, the EU has taken significant steps to make the ESDP a functioning reality. At the same time, the expectations that the Union will do something to alleviate crises and bring security to different parts of the world have increased. The main challenge now is how the Union will be able to answer to this increasing demand.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Let us now take a look at some key issues in ESDP during Finland’s EU Presidency.

I will focus on the following three broad issues: crisis management operations and missions, the work to develop EU's crisis management capability, and civil-military-coordination.

1) Crisis management operations and missions

The most visible part of the ESDP are the civilian and military crisis management operations. During the Finnish Presidency, the EU has been undertaking more than ten crisis management operations, most of which are civilian, on three continents, and planning for some new operations is under way.

Operation EUFOR RD Congo reached full operational capacity during our presidency in July. The task of the operation was to support the UN peacekeeping operation MONUC during the crucial election period. The operation was conducted in full agreement with the authorities of the DRC and in close coordination with them and with the MONUC. The deployment took place in a rapid and smooth manner. A force of 2400 personnel was deployed in the field from 17 Member States and from Turkey and Switzerland as Third States.

The EUFOR troops proved that they are an impartial and effective actor. Moreover, the operation highlighted that the UN and EU troops are able to act successfully together.

The mandate of the EUFOR ended on 30th of November. However the EU will remain committed to the region, including through our two civilian missions, EU Police Mission in Kinshasa and EUSEC RD Congo. They have played a vital role in Congo. Also, the EU has already indicated its willingness to take a coordinating role in international efforts to support the Congolese authorities in the field of security sector reform.

The EU has continued its civilian-military supporting action to the AMIS mission in the Darfur region of Sudan. The situation in Darfur has remained a matter of great concern. It is now essential to come to a conclusion on the future peace-keeping operation in the region.

Operation Althea in Bosnia and Herzegovina has been the biggest ESDP operation. Its role should not be underestimated. The country has continued to move towards a stable society based on democracy and rule of law. The possible controlled reduction in the numbers will, naturally, take into account the over-all developments in the country and the region. Operation Althea has closely coordinated its actions with the EU Police mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The EUPM hads now assumed the leading role in assisting the local authorities in their fight against organised crime. Thanks to a consistent support from the EUPM, the capacity of the local police forces has increased considerably.

The first ESDP mission in Asia, Aceh Monitoring Mission, has come to a successful end just a few days ago, on 15th of December. The mission has monitored the peace agreement between the government of Indonesia and the Free Aceh Movement. It has proven an opportunity to strengthen EU ties with the government of Indonesia and has also led to a successful cooperation with ASEAN countries who participated in the mission.

In the Middle East, we have two missions: the EU Border Assistance Mission at Rafah and the EU Police Mission in the Palestinian Territories.

Other missions and activities include EUJUST LEX in Iraq, EU Police Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Border Support Team in Georgia, and EU Border Assistance mission to Moldova/Ukraine.

During our presidency, we continued preparations for a possible civilian mission in Kosovo after a status settlement.  With more than 1000 international staff, Kosovo will be one of the EU's biggest operational challenges in the near future. The aim is to strengthen the police and justice area and also to move Kosovo towards further European integration. The EU Planning Team for Kosovo (EUPT Kosovo) has deployed successfully and produced planning options which form the basis for the crisis management concept for the future ESDP operation.

It is obvious we haven't forgotten Afganistan, to the contrary. The EU's commitment to the security, stability and development of Afghanistan has been significant during the past, and it will continue its long-term support with a comprehensive approach recognizing the close interlikages between different sectors and between military and civilian efforts. An EU Fact-Finding Mission has just returned from Afghanistan where it examined the opportunities and conditions for a potential civilian ESDP mission in the field of policing with linkages to the wider rule of law area. The results and possible further action with ESDP tools will be considered by the Political and Security Committee.

2) The work to develop EU's crisis management capability

Work on military capability development has moved forward and we now have finalised the Force Catalogue (FC 06) as part of the Headline Goal 2010. It was one of our main objectives during our Presidency and we are very satisfied with this result being finalised in quite a demanding time frame. We also brought forward the Scrutiny, Assessment and Evaluation process. The next phase of the Headline Goal 2010 work is the Progress Catalogue, which will be taken forward by the German Presidency.

One of the most visible part of the ESDP capability work has been the establishment of EU Battlegroups. Now we are on the threshold of the Full Operational Capability. By 1st of January 2007, two Battlegroups will be on stand-by readiness at any given time and the EU will be able to launch two rapid response operations nearly simultaneously.

In September, the Presidency organised a seminar on EU Battlegroups in Helsinki in order to take stock of the progress made and to reflect on future challenges. The Battlegroup Co-ordination Conference held in October confirmed that Member States have committed sufficient packages until and including 2008. Additional contributions, in particular to solve the vacant slot in the first half of 2009 are still needed.

On the Civilian side, the implementation of the Civilian Headline Goal 2008 continued during the Finnish Presidency. The target of having initial rapid response capability, the so-called Civilian Response Teams, by the end of 2006 was achieved. The EU also finalised its concept for ESDP border missions in the framework of civilian crisis management. 

The European Defence Agency (EDA) is fully up and running and producing results. The work on the European Defence Equipment Market has had a good head start. Following a landmark decision by the EDA Steering Board in November 2005, the Code of Conduct on Defence Procurement has started to inject transparency and competition into the European Defence Equipment Market since the 1st of July this year. The EDA Steering Board launched the Agency’s first Defence R&T Joint Investment Programme on 13 November.

The Agency is also looking at the new challenges of the coming decades. In October, the Agency Steering Board, in the formation of Defence Ministers, endorsed an initial Long-Term Vision report for "European defence Capability and Capacity needs" as a foundation for the Agency's medium-to-long term agendas. This report serves as an orientation for defence planners, as they develop the military capabilities the ESDP will require over the next twenty years in an increasingly challenging environment.

3) Civil-military-coordination (CMCO) in EU crisis management

The civil-military coordination has become an integral part of the EU’s everyday work. The EU has a broad set of civilian and military instruments, and it is also active in areas such as development cooperation, political dialogues and economic policies. It is important that these measures complement each other positively.

The development of the comprehensive approach to support Security Sector Reform in conflict areas is a good example of a holistic approach. During the Finnish Presidency, work continued to mainstream the Security Sector Reform into the EU assistance instruments in the Western Balkans. As I already mentioned, the EU is willing to take a coordinating role in international efforts to support the local authorities in the field of SSR in the DR of Congo. Regarding this aim, a joint Commission-Council evaluation mission visited the country in October.

Also projects in support of disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration (DDR) bridges the various aspects of crisis management. The EU Concept for Support to DDR - drafted jointly by the Council and the Commission - was approved in December.

The CMCO is important both in the planning and operational level of crisis management operations. To enhance the CMCO in operations, the Finnish Presidency has taken Civil-Military Coordination forward by focusing on the situational awareness. The purpose has been to examine how a comprehensive approach to operations can be further enhanced through better information sharing between the EU crisis management actors. Our efforts have been based on the work of previous Presidencies and take into account parallel work that is undertaken within the union.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

There are many other aspects of ESDP that the EU is working on as well.

On initiative of the Presidency, informal discussions were held on how EU can promote human security agenda through a broad range of instruments at its disposal, including ESDP instruments.

Work on mainstreaming of human rights into CFSP, including ESDP, has continued.

Work has continued to implement UNSCR 1325 on women, peace and security in the context of ESDP. In November, the Council adopted conclusions on promoting gender equality and gender mainstreaming in crisis management.

There has also been progress in enhancing co-operation between civil society and the EU civilian crisis management with a view to contributing to increasing the efficiency of ESDP missions.

Last but definitely not least, we have kept in mind the importance of smooth cooperation with third parties. We have had close cooperation with the UN, especially in the DRC. EU-NATO cooperation has functioned well in the field and we have wanted to develop our relationship through pragmatic steps.

We have supported the African Union in its AMIS operation. It is also worthwhile to note, that in November the Council welcomed the EU concept on Strengthening African Capabilities for the prevention, management and resolution of conflicts. The Council confirmed that the EU stands ready to step up its support for the efforts of the African Union (AU) and African sub-regional organisations in this field.

The EU continued the close co-operation in ESDP crisis management with non-EU European NATO members, Canada, Russia, Ukraine and other third states.

Mr President,

I thank you for your attention. I'm also ready to answer your questions.