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Brussels, 20 March 2000

President : Mr Jaime GAMA
Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Portuguese Republic


The Council, with the participation of Ministers of Defence, had a comprehensive discussion on progress in the European Security and Defence Policy in the follow-up to the Helsinki European Council, addressing both the military and the civilian tracks of ESDP. 

The Council endorsed the draft Presidency Report to the Lisbon European Council "Strengthening the Common European Security and Defence Policy", expressing its full appreciation for what has been achieved so far both in the military and non-military tracks of crisis management. 

Building on discussion at the informal meeting of Defence Ministers in Sintra on 28 February 2000, the Council identified the process for further elaborating the headline and capability goals. It concluded that the "food for thought" paper on the "Elaboration of the headline goal", including the timetable set out therein leading to a Capabilities Pledging Conference to be convened by the end of 2000, constitutes a basis for future work to be conducted by the competent bodies. The Council also adopted the document on "Military bodies in the EU and the planning and conduct of EU-led operations" as a basis for future work to be conducted by the interim military bodies and other competent bodies. 

The Council considered the establishment of a Committee for civilian crisis management and agreed to continue to define its role and competencies along the lines described in the paper "Establishment of a EU committee for civilian crisis management" with a view to reaching a decision on the establishment of such a committee by or at Feira. The Council asked COREPER to contribute to clarifying institutional questions that arise with respect to Community competencies and the position of such a committee within the EU institutional framework. ()