THE EUROPEAN UNION
EUROPEAN POLITICAL AND SECURITY
THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE EU COMMON
FOREIGN AND SECURITY POLICY IN CONFLICT
PREVENTION AND CRISIS MANAGEMENT
Welcome to the V MINI-ONU European Political and Security Committee. I hope you enjoy as
much as possible, learn a lot, make new friends and have a lot of fun!
I would like to introduce myself first and then, I will let my assistants introduce themselves. I am
Juliana Fonseca Vieira and I am an undergraduate student of International Relations at PUC Minas. I have
large experience in Models; the V MINI-ONU will be my 10th.. Last year I had the honor to be one of the
assistant directors of the Council of Ministers of the European Union. To go on with the European Union
tradition at MINI-ONU, I decided to simulate the European Political and Security Committee. Models are
very hard work but also very rewarding, and I love it because I have been learning a lot and having a great
time! Now let my assistants introduce themselves…
Pedro Gazzinelli Colares: “First of all, I'd like to say how pleased I am with the opportunity of
working as Assistant Director in this European Political and Security Committee with my great friends Juliana
and Roberto. I hope you can enjoy taking part in this V MINI-ONU as much as I've enjoyed working on it,
and I also know that you'll be able to develop a great work, but also make new friends and have fun. As for
me, I am an International Relations student at PUC-MG and also a Law student at UFMG. I've been taking
part of MUNs since 2001 when I was delegate at the II MINI-ONU. After that, I've also been to other editions
of the MINI-ONU, and also at AMUN, MONU-PUC and IOSCMUN. I would therefore, like to welcome you
all, to what I consider one of the most memorable experiences in a students' life.”
Roberto Vinicius Pereira da Silva Gama: “I am an International Relations student at PUC-MG,
currently attending my third semester. As a Model enthusiastic, I have been involved in IO simulations since
the year 2000, having participated in Models such as the HWMUN (WorldMUN), AMUN, MONU, MINI-
ONU, SINUS, IOSCMUN. I’m also involved in the International Organizations Simulation Club (IOSC) –
our simulation club here at PUC-MG – as a member and also as Academic Director. Is with great satisfaction
that I welcome you all, hoping we can promote significant debates, good times and, most of all, a remarkable,
profound and touching life experience.”
The topic you will discuss, “Conflict Prevention and Crisis Management” became an extremely
important issue to the European Union in the latest years. The EU is still having a lot to do in the years to
come. I recommend you to read this guide once and again and do not be restricted to it. Remember that, it is
just a guide, to help your further research. It is extremely necessary to have good knowledge to have a good
debate, as closed to reality as possible.
If you have any questions, or doubts, do not hesitate in contact us, we will be pleased to help you!
I can hardly wait to see you in September!
Juliana Fonseca Vieira
Pedro Gazzinelli Colares Roberto Vinicius P. S. Gama
History of the European Union and the Political and Security Committee.
At the end of the Second World War, Europe found itself completely destroyed. Its
fields were dry and its population, homeless and starving. In this scenario the issue of
European integration appeared, addressed in the speeches of statesmen, as the best path to
peace in Europe.
The first step was given in 1950, as France and Germany established a plan to
coordinate their coal and steel production. One year later, the European Coal and Steel
Community emerged as the result of a treaty signed by Belgium, The Netherlands,
Luxembourg, France, West Germany, and Italy. Six years later, these same countries signed
the Rome Treaty, which gave birth to the European Community.
The integration process continued to develop in Europe as years passed by, and
several new countries joined the institution such as Denmark, Ireland, the United Kingdom,
Greece, Spain and Portugal. It is important to remind however, that the European
Community was mainly an economical agreement between its nations.
However, it was only with the end of the Cold War, when the main threat to
European estability was no longer the former USSR, that the arrangements towards an
exclusevely European Security and Defense Policy were given. Since the Soviet threat no
longer existed, the organization created to deal with European defense against it, back then,
the North Atlantic Treaty Organizatio (NATO), found itself useless, and had to rebuilt
itself. Came along another threats to european stability such as the Balkans area. To resolve
those problems, NATO was rebuilt, and the EU started to move towards effective measures
in order to be able to do its own security and defense without dependending on the United
States of America.
It was only in 1991, with the signature of the Maastrich Treaty 1 (Treaty on
European Union) that the European Union as conceived today was formed. Amongst the
main aims of the agreement, was the promotion of a closer union among the peoples of
Europe. The introduction of Euro and the establishment of a Common Foreign and Security
Policy were also topics of the Maastrich Treaty to be implemented in further years.
Such was the European Union at the turning of the Millennium, strongly based in
three main pillars, namely the European Communities (being the first pillar), the Foreign
and Security Policy (as the second pillar), and the cooperation in justice and home affairs
(third pillar). One should note that, although the developments in the third, but mainly in
the first pillar have been quite remarkable, the progress in the field of Foreign and Security
Policy was considerably slower and harder.
The preoccupation with collective security however, is not a new idea in Europe,
dating back to the fifties, when the French Minister of Defense proposed the creation of the
European Defense Community. But in the context of the Cold War dominated by the
rivalries between East and West, the subject didn't interest the European leaders, as the
United States of America responded for European security towards the Soviet threat.
The fall of the socialist bloc represented the end of the USSR military threat to
Europe, and the opening of a new possibility in the path to further enhancing European
integration. Incorporating this spirit, the Maastrich Treaty decided upon the establishment
of a Common Foreign and Security Policy for the members of the European Union, that in
principle, included also the eventual framing of a common defense policy 2. A few months
later, the Petersberg Tasks – a common declaration made by the foreign and defense
The treaty of Maastricht was signed in 1991 and came into action in 1993.
ministers of the WEU3 countries – further specified the scope of activities that were to be
executed, ranging from humanitarian and rescue tasks, to peacekeeping tasks, also
including tasks of combat forces in crisis management. One must bear in mind however,
that at that point, the EU would request the cooperation of the WEU, which would then be
responsible for taking actions representing the EU.
“But the real world did not wait. The Balkan wars, first in Bosnia, then in Kosovo, seriously put into
question the weak equilibrium of European security. Faced with the return of barbarity to the
European continent, the failure of the Europeans to end the conflict dealt a serious blow to the very
essence of the European project.”4
The members of the Union could only come to an agreement on the humanitarian
management of the conflict, and the uncoordinated action of the countries to put an end to
the conflict contributed to the tragedy of Srebrenica. The crisis in Kosovo years later came
to confirm the lessons that Europe had to learn in order to develop an effective Common
Foreign and Security Policy.
It was essential to the European Union to direct efforts to cooperative action while
still respecting national prerogatives, if it wanted to be able to respond effectively to crises
in Europe. Another important lesson involved the use of force. European Union defense
institutions founded in territorial defense were inadequate, the lack of professional military
forces, the absence of organizations able to coordinate actions and anticipate events, and
the incapacity of projecting meaning forces abroad widely compromised European capacity
of intervention in crisis situations. Moreover, the Balkan wars were a clear signal of the
technological deficit of the European forces, calling for investments in restructuring and
enhancing European capabilities.
The efforts towards changing that scenario began in 1997 with the Amsterdam
Treaty (entry into force in 1999), began to dicuss effective measures in order to avoid the
necessity of requesting the action of the WEU, “and took another subtle step forward by
formulating a commom defence policy as an objective of the EU, rather than a mere
possibility”5. This continued with the European Council meeting that took place in
Helsinki, 1999, and embraced the St Malo's Declaration which called on the EU to develop
“the capacity for autonomous action, backed up by credible military forces, the means to
decide to use them, and a readiness to do so, in order to respond to international crisis”.
Thus, the European Security and Defense Policy (ESDP) was launched as part of the CFSP.
The Helsinki European Council also established the bodies responsible for implement and
manage ESDP: the Political and Security Committee (PSC) and the European Union
Military Committee (EUMC).
The creation of the European Rapid Reaction Force was another decision of the
Helsinki Summit of 1999. It was designed to be the military arm of the European Union,
and have the capacity to quickly deploy a significant contingent of troops in any crisis
scenario inside and around Europe. The ERRF, therefore, is a step of ultimate importance
towards the consolidation of European Foreign and Security Policy, hence consisting in a
valuable tool of the PSC.
MISSIROLI, Antonio – Background of ESDP (1954-1999) – Institute for Security Studies of the European
Western European Union – Organization created in 1954 with the same European countries that were part of
HAINE, Jean-Yves – ESDP – An Overview Institute for Security Studies of the European Union (2003)
WESSEL, Ramses A. – The state of affais in EU Security and Defence Policy: The Breakthrough in the
Treaty of Nice. Journal of Conflict and Security Law (2003), Vol. 8.
The European Political and Security Committee
The Political and Security Committee was later incorporated into the Treaty of Nice
(December 2000), and now is responsible for preparing the European Union's response to
crisis situations, exercising political control over the EU Military, and also communicating
with North Atlantic Treaty Organization and third states.
Nevertheless, there are problems that prevent the “second pillar” of the European
Union to achieve such a successful integration. The commitment necessary to establish the
ERRF with the dimensions first planned would be immense, and the costs considerable.
Also, historical divergent positions between Atlanticists and- Europeanists further slowed
the actions of the CSP, and therefore the development of the ESDP and the CFSP.
Statement of the Problem
The Common Foreign and Security Policy in Conflict Prevention and Crisis Management
“Conflict prevention and Crisis Management are the heart of the EU Common Foreign and Security
The new Rapid React Mechanism will act as a catalyser allowing us to mobilise resources within
hours or days rather than weeks or months. We will now be in a better be a better position to
organize and support the mobilisation of Member States civillian experts (in areas such as mine
clearance, customs, mediation, training of police or judges) in Crises situations. In times of urgent
needs we cannot anymore afford the luxury to be bogged down by bureaucratic constraints and
deliver Community with unnecessary delays.”
Commissioner for External Relations
February 26th, 2001
The European Union Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) was established
as the second pillar of the European Union in the Treaty of Maastricht6. It works to
strengthen the security of the European Union in several ways, to promote international
cooperation and to preserve peace and strengthen International Security including those on
The terrorists attacks that took place in the United States in September 11th, and in
Spain in March 11th, keep reminding the world that International Security is something that
should not be left in second plan, and calls the European Union attention for the importance
of the CFSP as its second pillar. Even though the disintegration of the former Soviet Union
and the end of the Cold War eliminated the danger of a massive attack in Europe, the
conflict in the former Yugoslavia has made them more aware of the dangers of a major
conflict on their doorstep.
These incidents are a few examples. They are to show how regional turmoil can
threat peace and international security not only in neighboring countries and regions, but
the whole world since they can cause the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction,
arms trafficking, contraband nuclear material, fundamentalism and extremism. These also
shows how Europe’s defense needs have changed. In order to prevent such events The
European Union decided to take responsibility for its own security increasingly into its own
The Treaty was signed in 1991 and came into force in 1993 with its ratification by the European Community.
Hence, the Union decided that it should be able to act independently in crisis
management, and also in interventions to prevent conflict, searching for the roots of it and
contributing with the reconstruction and stabilization.
Conflict Prevention can go direct against the root causes of the conflict or seek to
prevent and escalation of existing crises into widespread violence.
In general, preventive diplomacy is designed to deal with situations in which major
civil conflict has not yet broken out. If that doesn’t happen or fails conflicts can get
stronger, which means that this later engagement would imply in using military power. In
this situation the term “Crisis Management” is usually applied, the EU defines as “actions
undertaken with the main objective to prevent the vertical (intensification of violence) or
horizontal (territorial spread) escalation of existing violent conflicts”.7
Conflict Prevention is usually a preferable option because preventing the conflict
costs less to the international community. It is far more economical to act in the root of the
problem instead of waiting for the spillover of the conflict, because it generates refugees,
military expenditure and costs for reconstruction or rehabilitation. This can be even more
difficult in countries where the government and the parliament are the responsible for the
The European Union (EU) has to make sure that it neighborhoods are stable. The
case of the Balkans can be an example of how external conflicts can affect deeply the
union’s members. The EU has to be engaged in order to resolve crisis there, otherwise,
there is a risk of territorial spread of conflicts.
Hence, Crisis Management is a sort of prevention policy, if early prevention doesn’t
happen or fails it is necessary to be able to take on Crisis Management tasks.
The Creation of the European Rapid Reaction Force (ERRF)
“Rapid Reaction Mechanism (RRM) is designed to allow the European Community to respond
urgently to the needs of countries undergoing crisis or moving towards crisis. Its purpose is to
provide flexible short-term support measures to safeguard or re-establish conditions of stability in
EC partner countries. In political terms the RRM has proven successful both as an emergency
response instrument and as an instrument of transitional support to longer term reconstruction.”8
The ERRF is collective security mechanism through a force that is robust enough to
act quickly and effectively in crisis, but flexible enough to be deployed in various forms
and sizes for a complex range of missions.
The growing need for effective instruments to handle crisis situations, without
depending on the North American intention to do it or not, is what gave the European
leaders will to support the creation of a mechanism to enhance the EU’s civilian capacity to
intervene fast and effectively in Crises situations in third countries. In November of 2000 a
Military Capabilities Commitment was adopted by Member States in Brussels in order to
draw together the specific national commitments corresponding to the military capability
goals set by the Helsinki.
The Petersberg Tasks
Those tasks were asserted by the Western European Union (WEU) in 1992 and now
the EU uses them as the guidelines on planning Conflict Prevention and Crisis
Management. The Council decided to adopt those tasks in 1997 in the Amsterdam Treaty,
in order to avoid the many reasons why past UN and NATO missions, such as Somalia,
Rwanda and Bosnia were unsuccessful.
In other words they became the guideline of how the ERRF missions should
operate. Here they appear in row of order of commitment level:
• Evacuation: This first task usually happens in a stable environment. It involves the
removal of civilians or personnel from a country that is in the verge of
• Rescue and Evacuation: This sort of task consists in rescuing hostage in a hot
• Both of the missions mentioned above should have involved air cover, ground
force, communications assets, medical stations and transport capabilities. The force
should be able to keep itself informed, in case that personnel transportation is
needed and also to be aided, not only medically, but being able to be reinforced
when it comes necessary, if an emergency arises.
• Humanitarian support: Even in a stable environment this requires a high level of
• It is important to notice that it’s necessary to be sure that the supplies will arrive in
the right place at the right time. This is why this type if mission has to be organized
in a very well planned logistical setting. It is necessary to have transportation
capabilities and storage facilities, with light armored troops to watch them.
• If the level of hostility is high, this mission demands enforcement, such as, escorts
to the convoys as well as air and naval support. It is also important to monitor if the
supplies are being fairly distributed, and getting in the designed destiny.
• In a hot environment this support is usually done together with a peacekeeping
• Peacekeeping: These missions require a significant number of troops and also a
complex logistical support, a rapid reaction force should be on hand. This sort of
mission does not face as much as conflict as peacemaking operations do. Although
still needs thousands of armed troops in order to: monitor roadblocks, refugee
camps, headquarters, borders and so on.
• To prevent further conflicts it is also necessary reconnaissance of troops, medics
and engineers, to provide help to the populations involved, and help on the
reconstruction of basic infrastructure. Air support is needed because they are more
efficient in detecting conflict areas.
• Peacemaking: It is necessary to a hot environment and it is the most complex of the
tasks because it requires everything that a peacekeeping operation does plus, much
They are the most dangerous and demanding of the missions because they work in
an environment that is in “turmoil”. This mission has will deal with high levels of hostility,
so it is necessary to get as much of support as it can be obtained, such as, air, naval and
Most of the time, the opposite troops are larger in amount of personnel and even
with the superior training and technology of the peacemaking missions it is not possible to
overcome the superiority of the opposition. It is important to notice that these operations
demand the right equipment and the right personnel available, and that they got to have
mobility and flexibility, and well armored, trained and organized.
In this case is interesting to have an evacuation mission ready in case the
peacemaking operation fails.
These operations can be combined among themselves, depending on the necessity.
The Transatlantic Issue
… if we are to make a contribution that matches our potential, we need to be more active, more
coherent and more capable.
The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)10 plays a very important role in
what concerns crisis management, especially in cases that are directed related to Europe as
a whole. In the beginning of its creation, during the Cold War, the Alliance was designed to
prevent Europe from the Soviet threat through cooperation between Europe the United
States and Canada.
After the fall of the Berlin Wall, and the end of the Cold War NATO redirected its
activities to conflict prevention and crisis management in places that would be considered a
threat to international security. When, in the early 90’s Europe started to develop it’s
European Security and Defense Identity (ESDI), NATO members supported the idea of the
strengthen of the “European Pillar” in the transatlantic Alliance. However when it comes to
a Common European Defense and Security Policy, giving the EU the means to act
“autonomously”, NATO members that are not EU members point some issues.
Europe’s failure to prevent the 1990’s Yugoslav conflict and it’s dependence on the
United states during NATO’s action in Serbia and Kosovo, made the EU wonder about the
necessity of building defense structures capable of standing alone to deal with violent
conflicts and crisis prevention. Recently, NATO have made important development s
related o this issue. One of them is the concept of Combined Joint Task Force Headquarters
(CJTFHQ), which was introduced, in late 1993. These multinational and multi-service
headquarters serve two purposes: they should be flexible and easily deployable so as to be
useful for the Petersberg Tasks; and they should allow the participation of partner
countries.11 The CJTF concept also allows for a “coalition of the willing” a subset of NATO
members or partner States, to take military with full access to NATO command and
structures when some NATO members do not want to get involved, but do not object to do
it. The system should aid the creation of the European Security and Defense Identity and
the Rapid Reaction Mechanism. But it also shows that, NATO does support the CFSP,
however, it is always making sure that, the strengthen of the second pillar will not let the
European Union, act completely independent of the Alliance.
The Common European Security and Defense Policy (CESDP) is still very
dependent of NATO capabilities and “on balance, the Europeans still lagged well behind
the United States of America in deployed military capabilities for force projection,
Javier Solana is the High Representative for the CFSP and also the President of the Council of the European
For further information see: www.nato.int
NATO State Members are: Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, France,
Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, Norway,
Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Turkey, United kingdom, United States of America.
NATO. Partnership for peace (PFP). The PFP’s main task is to increase the participant’s ability to act in
concert. Through various mechanisms it helps partner countries prepare to operate jointly with NATO forces.
intervention, and high tech warfare.”12 NATO members that are not EU members hesitate
in let the use of its assets in a permanent basis by the EU, arguing that they do not have
participation on the final decisions of the Union.
In September of 2002 the North Atlantic Council (NAC) and the PSC began
meeting to discuss how one would cooperate with the other. They established four working
groups: one on security of sensitive information, the Berlin Plus on (ESDI initiatives
designed to help more coherent European contributions within NATO) the military
capabilities and the last one for permanent EU-NATO institutional arrangements.
By the end of that year NATO-EU negotiations came close to agreement on how to
work together in the future. However, Turkey blocked the consensus built on what concerns
“assured access” to NATO planning, arguing that the country wouldn’t have veto power
over the Union’s deployment of a military force, under circumstances that would affect
In December of 2003, the European Council decided about the adoption of the 2010
headline goal. Mainly this headline goal stablished that EU members are strong commited
to give the Enlarged Union the necessary tools to make the CFSP and all its necessities
fully accomplished. Interoperability, deployability and sustainability will be at the core of
the Member States, so “they will be able to respond with rapid and decisive action
applying a fully coherent approach to the whole spectrum of crisis management operations
covered by the Treaty on the EU”14. The headline Goal also calls for the importance of the
work that the Berlin Plus has been having on the development of the discussions regarding
EU-NATO cooperation in the security field.
In fact, a debate on whether strengthening of the CESDP could undermine NATO,
does exists. The creation of an ERRF intended to be complementary and not competitive to
the Alliance. That is so influent that before finalizing operational arrangements for the
RRF, the EU has to agree with NATO on the conditions under which the force would have
access to NATO resources, and how missions would be setting between both. Which
means that, to the EU has access to NATO capabilities the NAC has to analyze in a case-
by-case basis, each situation.
That demonstrates the dependence that Europe has under NATO, and to resolve this
issue, Europeans governments would have to increase their defense spending to buy the
strategic lift and other assets required to make the force more credible allowing the Union
to act independent.
History of the Problem and Past EU Actions
The issue of a common foreign and security policy to Europe is an inheritance of the
two World Wars of the 20th century and the end of the cold war. Throughout the various
stages of European integration, the concepts of a common foreign policy and a common
defense policy have regularly been put on the European agenda through a series of policy
Ever since the 1950s and 1960s, with the failure of two attempts to establish a
European defense policy (the Pleven15 and the Fouchet Plans respectively), it is clearly
SLOAN, Stanley R.; NATO, The European Union, and The Atlantic Community: the transatlantic bargain
reconsidered. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc. 2003.
Turkey is a candidate country to the EU and its application is under analyses.
2010 headline Goals. www.europa.eu.int
The Pleven Plan started with a discussion in August of 1950 on the idea of a European Army under a
European minister of defense. This idea was followed in the October of that year with the proposal to embed
noticeable the need for an intense political cooperation in Europe. In 1950, the Pleven plan
aimed at creating an integrated European army under joint command. This plan’s
negotiation within the scope of the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC), from
1950 to 1952, led to the Treaty that has established the European Defense Community
(EDC). The EDC corollary was a political project aimed at establishing a federal or
confederative structure, in 1953. However, this project failed in 1954, with the rejection by
the French National Assembly.
Before the Treaty on European Union came into being, political cooperation
between Member States was based on the “European political cooperation” (EPC)
arrangements16. These involved regular consultations between foreign ministers and
ongoing contacts between their government’s departments, as to bring about better
communication and greater convergence of the Member States’ position on all major
foreign policy issues and, if possible, a joint course of action.
From this date on, instigated by the occurrence of political crises, several political
projects and proposals were introduced within the European scope, especially in a post-
Amsterdam Treaty period. The EU political cooperation and common foreign and security
policies focus increasingly on the need for enhancing gradually EU’s foreign and security
Western European Union (WEU) and the Brussels Treaty
In 1948, the Brussels Treaty (Treaty of Economic, Social and Cultural Collaboration
and Collective Self-Defense) was signed by the United Kingdom, Belgium, France,
Luxembourg and the Netherlands, creating the (then called) “Brussels Treaty
In 1949, NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organisation) was founded as a military
alliance comprising some European countries alongside United States and Canada.
In 1954, the Paris Agreements modified the Brussels Treaty. It brought together the
six countries participants on the Brussels Treaty with the addition of the Federal Republic
of Germany and Italy17, thus creating the Western European Union (WEU) as to strengthen
security cooperation between the countries of Europe.
The organisation offers its members a platform for close cooperation on security
and defense, and thus serves both to strengthen Europe's political weight in the Atlantic
alliance and to establish a European Identity in Security and Defense policy. For more than
40 years, however, it was through NATO, in close alliance with the United States and
Canada, that Western Europe safeguarded its security.
European Security and Defense Policy (ESDP)
The European Security and Defense Policy (ESDP) is a relatively new but closely
monitored integral component of the CFSP. In June 1999, EU leaders laid the foundation
for ESDP18. Its capacities and structure, that had been developed significantly since then,
the European Ministry of Defense in an institutional strusture comparable to that of the ECSC.
Set up in 1970, and enhanced and expanded upon under the Single European Act (1986/1987).
Federal Republic of Germany and Italy were invited to join the WEU in 1954, when the plans for a
European Defence Community (EDC) failed.
Portugal, Spain and Greece are also members of the WEU (Portugal and Spain since 1990, Greece since
“the Union must have the capacity for autonomous action, backed 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” (Cologne European Council Conclusions, June 1999)
are divided in three components: the first two, military crisis management and civilian
crisis management (“Petersberg Tasks”); the third, conflict prevention.
In June 1999, the Cologne European Council placed crisis management at the core
of the process of strengthening the CFSP. Two years later, at the Göteborg European
Council, priority was given to conflict prevention.
The Petersberg Tasks
Agreed by the Western European Union in 1992, the Petersberg Tasks were
redefined and officially adopted by the EU through the Amsterdam Treaty in 1997,
incorporating it into Title V of the EU Treaty (“Provisions on a common foreign and
security policy”). These tasks are arranged in rough order of commitment level and
difficulty, and some of them can be combined. Each and everyone, the tasks are: evacuation
(in a stable area); rescue and/or evacuation (in a hot area); humanitarian support (stable);
humanitarian support (hot area); peacekeeping (stable area); peacebuilding (hot).
The “Petersberg Tasks” are the raison d’etre of the European Rapid Reaction Force
Cologne European Council
The Cologne European Council (held in June 1999) placed the Petersberg Tasks –
as was already the case in the Amsterdam Treaty – at the core of the European common
security and defense policy. The fifteen Heads of State or Government and the President of
the Commission declared;
“In pursuit of our Common Foreign and Security Policy, we are convicted that the Council should
have the ability to take decisions on the full range of conflict prevention and crisis management tasks
defined in the Treaty on European Union, the ‘Petersberg Tasks’”.
To this end, it established the focus of its efforts (on strengthening of the common
European policy on security and defense) on assuring that the EU has at its disposal the
necessary capabilities (including military ones) and appropriate structures for effective EU
decision making in crisis management within the scope of the Petersberg tasks.
Helsinki European Council
The Helsinki European Council, held in December 1999, improving the guidelines
established at the Cologne European Council, agreed in particular to: develop more
effective military capabilities and establish new political and military structures for the
Petersberg Tasks; develop modalities for full consultation, cooperation and transparency
between the EU and NATO, taking into account the needs of all EU Member States;
improve and make more effective use of resources in civilian crisis management in which
the Union and the Members already have considerable experience (giving special attention
to a rapid reaction capability).
As stated in the Presidency Conclusions of the Helsinki Summit;
"The Union will contribute to international peace and security in accordance with the principles of
the United Nations Charter. The Union recognizes the primary responsibility of the United Nations
Security Council for the maintenance of international peace and security. The European Council
underlines its determination 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. This process will avoid unnecessary duplication and does not imply the creation
of an European army.”
Helsinki Headline Goal was the capacity, by 2003, of the Member States,
cooperating voluntarily in EU-led operations, to deploy within 60 days and sustain for at
least one whole year military forces of up to 50,000-60,000 persons19 able to fulfill the
European Rapid Reaction Force
At the Helsinki European Council, in what regards the military component of the
CFSP, the EU leaders there gathered decided to develop a European Rapid Reaction Force
(ERRF) and, potentially, the nucleus of a large military capability by 2003.
The ERRF is designed to carry out the so-called Petersberg tasks, defined as
“humanitarian and rescue tasks; peacekeeping tasks; and tasks of combat forces in crisis
management, including peacemaking”. It consists on a RRF of 50,000-60,000 troops to be
deployable within 60 days for a period of up to one year. It has been made clear that the
ERRF will not substitute NATO’s role.
The ERRF was declared operational at the Laeken European Council (2001).
Nice European Council
The Nice European Council stablished the Treaty of Nice which dealt with the
enlargement that accepted the ten new EU members. And made some progress in what
regards European Security making the EU itself responsible for the elaboration and
implementation of decisions and actions which have defence implications.
The Nice European Council introduced new military structures to the EU system,
the most important being the Political and Security Committee (PSC)20. The PSC keeps
track of international developments, helps define policies and monitors implementation of
Adopted at the conclusion of the Nice European Council Meeting, held in December
2000, and signed in February 2001, the Treaty of Nice amends Article 17 of the Treaty on
European Union (Maastricht Treaty) by removing the provisions defining the relations
between the Union and the WEU.
The Nice European Council also adopted the Presidency's report on the European
security and defense policy, which inter alia provides for the development of the Union's
military capacity, the creation of permanent political and military structures and the
incorporation into the Union of the crisis management functions of the WEU.
Göteborg European Council
The Göteborg European Council (June 2001) introduced aims to improve the
civilian component field – given that the international community was considered to be in
lack of it. Concrete targets have been set for civilian aspects of crisis management.
Laeken European Council
At the Laeken European Council (December 2001), the EU leaders there gathered
adopted the declaration on the operational capability of European security and defense
policy set out in Annex II, as well as the Presidency Report.
In the words of the Belgian Presidency:
Even some of the candidate countries participate with military forces.
Replacing the Political Committee.
“Through the continuing development of the ESDP, the strengthening of its capabilities, both civil
and military, and the creation of appropriate structures within it and following the military and
police Capability Improvement Conferences held in Brussels on 19 November 2001, the Union is
now capable of conducting some crisis-management operations. The Union is determined to finalize
swiftly arrangements with NATO. These will enhance the European Union’s capabilities to carry out
crisis-management operations over the whole range of Petersberg tasks. In the same way, the
implementation of the Nice arrangements with the Union’s partners will augment it means of
conducting crisis-management operations. Development of the means and capabilities at its disposal
will enable the Union progressively to take on more demanding operations.”
Atlanticists and Europeanists
All the EU Member States are committed with the strengthen of the second pillar,
however member governments have restrictions in changing their own national policy
regarding a particular country or region in the name of EU solidarity.
The Atlanticists form a bloc leaded by the United Kingdom, followed by The
Netherlands and Portugal that stress out the need for cooperation with the United States
through NATO, seeing the ERRF as a way to develop the EDSI alongside the Alliance.
They argue that this would avoid duplicity, and actions from the EU that NATO would,
anyway, do better.
The Europeanists form a bloc leaded by the French that argues that Europe should
invest in military capabilities and the development of a European Force completely able to
act “autonomously”. They want to see a strong and unified Europe, capable of asserting
itself militarily on the international scene, and are more likely to seek for a more active EU
role in the conflicts.
Germany Acts like a mediator most of time. They do believe that the ERRF should
be complementary and not substitute NATO; but they also argue that Europe should be
more engaged in the development of the CESDP, following French position.
The Non- NATO Members
Austria, Ireland, Finland and Sweden, went along all the process of development of
the CESDP. Although they call attention for the importance of early Conflict Prevention,
they favour a stronger role of the EU concerning Crisis Management with a “soft
The 10 new Members
The position of the 10 new Members may vary according their respective
applications. Acceptance of the CFSP and the duties that the implementation of the force
requires, were part of the requirements to get accepted in the Union. New Members are
making adjustments concerning each negotiating position.21
Other actors: United States of America / Turkey
It is important to remember that there are countries that are not EU members but
that exercises great influence on the implementation of the CFSP.
The United States of America was very reluctant about the ERRF, in the beginning
of its development, although now, the country supports the Forces and argues that it should
be a complement to NATO. The US, stress the need of the forces to work alongside,
believing that Europe should use the CFSP and its tools to do what Europe has proven itself
For more information see: http://www.iss-eu.org/occasion/occ34.pdf
to do best, conflict prevention. Somehow it is true that Europe works well on post conflict
events however, the EU has been showing its will to go further by developing the ERRF,
conflict prevention is still a very important topic on the EU agenda, however it is not the
only one. The importance of the USA is crucial because it deals with political disparities
that exists inside the EU when it comes to the Atlanticists bloc. Since the US is the owner
of many important NATO it becomes very influent not only for that. As stated by Clinton’s
administration, Secretary of Defense William Cohen, in what concerns the EU-NATO
relations: “The notion that Europe must begin to prepare for an eventual withdrawal from
Europe has no foundation in fact or in policy”. However, some Europeanists believe that at
some point it will be time for the “United States go home and let Europe walk with their
own legs”, hence secretary Cohen also affirmed that the Unites States “agree with this goal
– not grudgingly, not with resignation, but with whole hearted conviction”. It is important
to natice that George Bush’s adiministration and its “intervention” on Iraq caused many
divergences inside the European Union, and even though that was showed in the United
Nations Security Council (UNSC), that outlined even more the differences between
Atlanticists and Europeanists.
As mentioned before Turkey, as a NATO member, can use its influence to pressure
its acceptance into the European Union.
The Political and Security Committee
The European Union political and Security Committee is composed of National
representatives at senior/ ambassador level, placed within the framework of Member States’
Permanent Representations. The PSC has a central role to play in the definition of and the
follow up to the EU’s response to a crisis and matters related to the CFSP.
To do so, it exercises political control of the EU military, as such, and
communicates with NATO and third states. The CFSP has three main tools and they are:
Common Statements, those are declarations of the EU opinions about current
international issues. Common Positions form a basis for a coordination of national foreign
policies by all EU members. Join Actions, are the strongest instrument of the CFSP, they
commit Member States to a coordinated international action, diplomatic, economic or
Every decision taken by the EU regarding military and security issues can only be
adopted with a consensus. Which means that all the State Members have to agree on the
Questions a Resolution Must Address
• It should be considered that although Europe is willing to intensify its CEDSP, the
Union is still very dependent on NATO. How can EU manage to become more
independent and achieve the settled in the Helsinki Summit to the ERRF?
• It is important to remind that to achieve these goals EU Member States will have to
invest not only financially but also with personnel. How committed are the members
states on this endeavourer?
• Should the send of troops remain voluntary to Member States? (What could be done
for example, states could contribute according the size of its population.)
• Since interaction with NATO is necessary it can be discussed which organization
will be responsible for the designated tasks. For example:, the Petersberg Tasks
could be divided among them.
• It is also an issue, the one regarding EU access to NATO resources, since many of
EU members are also NATO members. Noting that the EU investments on military
capability could be a way to pressure NATO, allowing the Union to have permanent
access to its assets could be a possibility to avoid duplicity, since EU members that
are NATO members will be spending money on resources that NATO already has.
• Another point to be considered is how active role the EU should play.
• Should the Union jump into action when NATO refuses to handle a problem?
• Should the EU wait on NATO decision on how a problem is going to be handled?
• Or, should the E try to act prior to NATO, since it is too biased or ineffective?
• And regarding the ERRF operative matters it should be considered the logistical
• The size of the troops, the location and deployment, considering if they are
temporary or permanent.
• Investments on military capabilities, in new military technology and the acquisition
of new assets.
• The issue of interoperability, since there is a need to integrate the different
technologies that exists. For example: a bullet produced in Germany should work on
a British Riffle.
• The integration of the troops and it’s commanders, allowing them to train together to
avoid problems as the language barrier, and set strategies that will improve mobility,
good defensive and offensive capabilities.
• And last but not least, it is the duty of the PSC to be alert and monitor how is the
international scenario. The committee should never forget that “life is what is
happening while you are busy doing other things”. If a crisis emerges the committee
has to be ready to discuss the problem and give as soon as possible the directives to
the EU Military Committee (if needed, of course) and the necessary
recommendations to the EU organs and delivery to non-EU Member States.
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BRZEZINSKI, Zibigniew; The Grand Chessboard, Basic Books, 1997.
CAMERON, Fraser. The Future of the CFSP. Studies of the European Policy Center.
CASSEN, Bernard; “O pós Guerra Imperial – A doença que Enfraquece a Europa”.
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HAFTENRN Helga, KEOHANNE Robert, WALLANDER Celeste; Imperfect Unions,
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HAINE, Jean-Yves – ESDP – An Overview Institute for Security Studies of the European
HILL, Christopher; CFSP: Conventions, Constitutions and Consequentiality. The
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MISSIROLI, Antonio – Background of ESDP (1954-1999) – Institute for Security Studies
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MORAVCSIK, Andrew- Striking a New Transatlantic Bargain: Foreign Affairs
PUCHALA, Donald J.; Institutionalism, Intergovernmentalism and European
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SLOAN, Stanley R.; NATO, The European Union, and The Atlantic Community: the
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WESSEL, Ramses A. – The state of affais in EU Security and Defence Policy: The
Breakthrough in the Treaty of Nice. Journal of Conflict and Security Law (2003), Vol. 8.
Member States Ministry of Foreign Affairs websites:
For the 10 new members see: