Joint EU-US Declaration on NATO-ESDP Relations

March 9, 2007

dscn3835.JPGJoint EU-US Declaration on NATO-ESDP Relations 

                                                                                                                     9 March 2007 NAC-PSC/COPS channel to be strengthened to improve interoperability  NATO and the EU have complementary interests and comparative advantages in developing rapid reaction capabilities and improving civilian-military responses to a wide range of areas, including disaster relief, conflict prevention, crisis management, and post-conflict stabilization and reconstruction. Therefore, we propose the following proposals to improve the NATO-EU relationship:

·        Unclear and/or overlapping mandates for NATO and EU military activities in the same country should be avoided. Both organizations need a better understanding of each others’ structures, and planning for cooperation which should begin as early as possible.

·        The NAC-COPS/PSC channel could be used to sort out future cooperation, adopting the broadest possible re-interpretation of Berlin Plus. NATO and the EU should talk more about what they could do for one another versus what they cannot, and review their doctrine and concepts for supporting third party organizations.

·        The NATO Response Force (NRF) and EU Battlegroups can be mutually reinforcing. NATO and the EU might consider joint training exercises for NRF and Battlegroup units to improve interoperability work toward common standards for unit certification. A new staff-level NATO-EU group might be constituted to work on capabilities; it could be supported by the NATO and EU military liaison cells and increased contacts between the EDA and Allied Command Transformation (ACT). Partnership for Peace (PFP) members who are EU member states should have close liaison arrangements with the NRF to enhance interoperability.

·        NATO and the EU should give high priority to enhancing civilian-military cooperation drawing on lessons that national governments have learned. Informal meetings of NATO-EU foreign ministers and regular NAC-COPS/PSC and Military Committee meetings could discus cooperation on civilian-military responses. Regular NATO-EU exercises focused on civilian-military crisis response capabilities might also be conducted.

·        A more equal burden-sharing and interoperability shall be discussed further within the NAC-COPS/PSC channel.

·        The EU-NATO Capability Group might assist in the process to enhance burden-sharing and interoperability.


Has Slovakia become the guardian of the English language?

March 9, 2007

During the discussions on the various Solidarity clauses, the Slovak FAM has shown a strong knowledge of the Oxford English Dictionary, to the detriment of quick decision-making towards the resolution of crises on the EU’s borders.

It is a shame that technical nitty-gritty discussed many times in various working groups and in COREPER makes its way into serious political discussions, while Russian tanks are just waiting a few hundred kilometers away …

Formal Dress or Formal Mess?

March 9, 2007

In the halls of the Natolin Council meeting there has been lots of talk about what is appropriate formal dress.  First and foremost jeans are in no way, shape or form formal!  Buy a suit!  Preferably one not made of courdoroy.  Low cut, backless and sleveless shirts have no place in a formal meeting either.  There is also one journalist who has been seen numerous times wearing white socks with black shoes.  I would like to remind this unnamed journalist that it is not 1981 and that he is not Michael Jackson.  The German opposition leader has been spotted wearing brown basket weave shoes with a grey suit.  Quite the no-no, if I don’t say so myself. 

However, there have been some notable exceptions to this formal mess.  I would like to commend the UK foreign minister for his impecible suits and color combinations.  Jolly good!  Quite a few people could learn from you, good sir! 

Mr. Blackwell

Where is Italy?

March 9, 2007

Just when you thought we had seen everything, the Italian FAM has vanished from the face of … well, at least the nature preserve of Natolin.

While tensions have been to say the least, quite strong within the IT delegation, neither Padoa-Schioppa, nor Prodi, nor even other diplomats, have heard anything of resignation letters, press statements on severe illness, or the like.

Since this GAERC meeting is the final one, where the major decisions are going to be made or referred to the European Council, it is sad that Massimo d’Alema has decided to boycott the conference.

“GAERC a success ?”

March 9, 2007

Some insider sources tell us to expect a swift GAERC meeting – most institutional points have been agreed to, and it’s simply a question of formally voting them.
Now, it’s over to the hard part – the financial points.  These same sources indicate that some Mediterranean countries are acting “rather selfishly”, but that the German financial proposal stands, and that should be final.  “If somebody wants to come up with something creative, fine, but that should be based on the Presidency programme”, say our sources.

Europe’s Civilised Barbarism

March 9, 2007

In a secret meeting, a group of FM banded together to discuss the DE presidency and its role in the Council. Although they were very appreciative of the Presidency’s tireless work both in preparation of the summit and its smooth operation, they were disappointed with its initial lack of flexibility vis-à-vis accepting draft proposals and initiatives by various countries. Others banded together and personally attacked their colleagues, both in private and public (including the EU News online forum). 

Although it is well known that the collection of politicians gathered at the Council represent the best and worst of
Europe, this endeavour is a learning process – a thought which should remain ever-present in our subconscious. Often constructive criticism is interpreted as a personal attack; more than too often our esteemed politicians cross the line and are arrogant, insulting and bullying their colleagues. We would be wise to remember that here at the Council we are fostering working relationships with colleagues and even if we prefer to work more with some than with others, all deserve a minimum amount of respect – yes even those obstinate politicians who are accountable to their constituencies. We would also be wise to remember that in life we often have to stand up to bullies and fight. Isn’t finding the right balance between the two what international relations and diplomacy is all about? GstWtr

“Hard” meeting???

March 9, 2007

poland-096.jpgWhat are doing the Italian MFA, the MF of Sweden and the British PM together during a VERY VERY VERY informal meeting???!!! We do not think that they were discussing finance, defence or constitutional issues… Of course not! Especially with a breast-bag in the hands!