Marseille, 13 November
The WEU Council of Ministers
met in Marseille on 13 November 2000. The WEU Council was preceded by a
meeting of the Defence Ministers of WEAG at which Austria, the Czech Republic,
Finland, Hungary, Poland and Sweden became full members.
Ministers welcomed the crucial role
played by WEU, particularly since its reactivation and installation in
Brussels, and appreciated its important contribution to the development
of European security and defence architecture.
Ministers welcomed the progress made
by the EU in the field of European security and defence policy, and the
Atlantic Alliance's support for this process. They recalled their attachment
to this policy which will serve the interests of all WEU nations, through
the development of satisfactory arrangements.
Following on from the Porto Ministerial
Council, and with a view to the decisions that will be taken by the Nice
European Council, Ministers agreed on a number of measures designed to
address the consequences for WEU of the changes under way.
In this regard,
Ministers approved the WEU residual
functions and structures which will be in place by 1 July 2001 at the latest
and will enable the Member States to fulfil the commitments of the modified
Brussels Treaty, particularly those arising from Articles V and IX, to
which the Member States reaffirm their attachment. Ministers requested
that the necessary administrative and accommodation measures now be taken,
to ensure that the residual WEU structures are in place when the EU becomes
Ministers again acknowledged the competence
and dedication of the staff of the WEU Secretariat-General and their most
valuable contribution to the work of the Organisation. They reiterated
the commitment they made at Porto in this area. In this regard, they encouraged
the Secretary-General to continue his efforts to find appropriate solutions
which take into account the professional expertise and legitimate expectations
of the WEU staff. They also endorsed the social plan which will benefit
the WEU staff members concerned.
Ministers acknowledged the work of the
WEU Military Staff and noted that it is preparing to cease its activities
in accordance with the transition plan approved on 17 October by the Chiefs
of Defence Staffs. Ministers also acknowledged that due consideration was
being given in the EU to the question of appropriate contacts between military
officers of the non-EU WEU nations and the new EU military structures.
Ministers acknowledged the importance
of the dialogue and cooperation which WEU at 28 and 21 has developed with
third countries over recent years. WEU will cease to carry out these responsibilities,
which it is intended will be taken up within the existing framework of
political dialogue between the EU and the countries concerned.
They also agreed to suspend application
of the routine consultation mechanisms in force between WEU and the EU,
without prejudice to the cooperation required within the framework of the
transition process. Similarly, WEU/NATO routine consultation mechanisms
will be suspended, except for those that still need to be applied during
the transition period, in particular for exercise JES 2001.
Ministers noted with satisfaction the
European Union's agreement in principle to the setting-up, in the form
of agencies within the EU, of a Satellite Centre and an Institute for Security
Studies which would incorporate the relevant features of the corresponding
WEU subsidiary bodies. They tasked the Permanent Council to draw all the
administrative and financial consequences of these decisions. Ministers
also acknowledged that due consideration was being given in the EU to the
question of the appropriate involvement of non-EU WEU nations in the activities
of the Institute for Security Studies and the Satellite Centre.
Ministers expressed their resolve to
bring the Transatlantic Forum to an end. They welcomed the European Union's
intention to enrich the transatlantic dialogue, by entrusting the ISS with
undertaking activities similar to those being currently conducted within
the Transatlantic Forum, in accordance with modalities to be agreed, enabling
all the nations concerned to participate in these activities.
Ministers noted the European Union's
agreement in principle to take over in due course the direct management
of the MAPE mission on police cooperation with Albania. WEU is ready to
extend the mission under its present terms for an interim period beyond
the end of the current mandate on 31 December 2000.
The Demining Assistance Mission to the
Republic of Croatia will be continued under the responsibility of Sweden
in the WEU framework until 9 May 2001 when its present mandate expires.
Ministers noted the importance of continuing
cooperation between the members of the WEU Group of States parties to the
Open Skies Treaty, that for the foreseeable future would be coordinated
directly between its members, as appropriate, from capitals and from their
missions in Vienna.
Recalling the relevant provisions of
the modified Brussels Treaty, Ministers noted with interest the WEU Parliamentary
Assembly's work of strategic reflection on European security and defence.
Ministers noted that WEAG will continue
to carry out its function of reflection and cooperation in the armaments
Ministers welcomed the presentation
by the Netherlands with regard to its incoming Presidency.
The Defence Ministers of the thirteen
member nations of the Western European Armaments Group (WEAG), the European
forum for armaments cooperation, met together with their colleagues from
Austria, the Czech Republic, Finland, Hungary, Poland and Sweden in Marseille
on 13 November 2000.
They reviewed the evolving situation
in the field of armaments and the specific armaments cooperation activities
carried out under WEAG. Their discussion focused in particular on the European
Armaments Partnership issue, the participation of Austria, the Czech Republic,
Hungary and Poland in WEAG Research and Technology cooperation, and the
future of WEAG and WEAO.
Concerning the European Armaments Partnership
issue, Defence Ministers had agreed at their meeting in Luxembourg in November
1999 on a procedure, so as to allow the possibility to Austria, the Czech
Republic, Finland, Hungary, Poland and Sweden to become full members of
WEAG. Since then, those nations have formally applied for full membership
and, based on the recommendation of National Armaments Directors (NADs),
Defence Ministers agreed to their accession to WEAG full membership. From
now on, WEAG numbers 19 full members, each enjoying equal rigths and responsibilities.
Defence Ministers also noted the wish
expressed by Austria, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland to participate
in WEAG R&T cooperation through the SOCRATE MOU. To this end, Defence
Ministers mandated their Chairman-in-Office to request the WEU Council
to authorise the extension of the central contracting by the WEAO Executive
Body under SOCRATE to the benefit of those four nations, and on this basis
agreed to sign the necessary Amendments to the SOCRATE MOU.
Concerning the future of WEAG and WEAO,
Defence Ministers had tasked NADs, at their special meeting in Porto, to
commence work on examining the practical issues necessary to assure the
immediate future of WEAG and WEAO and to establish a phased work plan for
further in-depth studies on the long-term future. Defence Ministers noted
with satisfaction that NADs have agreed on the way forward on the immediate
future of WEAG and WEAO and that work has commenced based on the agreed
phased work plan. Defence Ministers had a fruitful exchange of views on
the initial report presented by NADs and provided guidance for the continuation
of work towards a final report to be presented at their Autumn 2001 meeting.
Defence Ministers further took note
of the work accomplished by the WEAG Panels and Groups. They expressed,
in particular, their satisfaction with the finalisation and recent endorsement
by NADs of a Manual on Principles, Procedures and Methods for the Harmonisation
of Military Requirements and the Facilitation of Armaments Cooperation
in Europe', and on the way forward agreed by NADs on the Masterplan for
a European Armaments Agency.
Finally, Defence Ministers expressed
their satisfaction to the Western European Armaments Organisation (WEAO)
which has achieved its targets for launching EUCLID and THALES Research
and Technology projects, including notifying research and technology contracts
to European industry under the EUCLID programme. A 10% higher target has
been set for launching new projects in the forthcoming period, with at
least seventeen EUCLID contracts, amounting to a total value of 119 million
euros, including 34 million from industrial self-investment.
The Chairmanship of WEAG, which rotates
among its members, will be handed over from Greece to Italy for the years
2001 and 2002, while the WEAO Board of Directors will be chaired by Italy
for one year starting from 1 January 2001.
The WEU Council (members of WEAG) adopted
the conclusions of the WEAG Defence Ministers.