Click here to see the full document.
Press Release
Brussels (20-11-2000) 
Press: 435 - Nr: 13430/00

2308th Council meeting
Brussels, 20 November 2000






  1. Since the Cologne European Council, and in particular thanks to the work carried out by the Finnish and Portuguese Presidencies, it has been a priority of the Union to develop and introduce the civil and military resources and capabilities required to enable the Union to take and implement decisions on the full range of conflict-prevention and crisis-management missions defined in the Treaty on European Union ("Petersberg tasks" ( 1)). The Union has in this respect highlighted its determination to develop an autonomous capability to decide on and, where NATO as a whole is not engaged, to launch and conduct EU-led military operations in response to international crises. For that purpose, Member States have decided to develop more effective military capabilities. This process, without unnecessary duplication, does not involve the establishment of a European army. These developments are an integral part of strengthening the Common Foreign and Security Policy. The Union will thus be able to make a greater contribution to international security in keeping with the principles of the United Nations Charter, the OSCE Charter and the Helsinki Final Act. The Union recognises the primary responsibility of the United Nations Security Council with regard to international peace-keeping and security.  
  2. In the field of military capabilities, which will complement the other instruments available to the Union, at the Helsinki European Council the Member States set themselves the headline goal of being able, by 2003, to deploy within 60 days and sustain for at least one year forces up to corps level (60,000 persons). These forces should be militarily self-sustaining with the necessary command, control and intelligence capabilities, logistics, other combat support units and, as required, air and naval elements. In Helsinki the Member States also decided rapidly to develop collective capability goals, particularly in the field of command and control, intelligence and strategic transport. At the Feira European Council the European Union also encouraged the countries which have applied for membership of the EU and the non-EU European members of NATO to contribute to improving Europe's capabilities.  

  3. The work conducted since the Feira European Council has enabled the European Union to define the variety of measures needed successfully to carry out the full range of Petersberg tasks, including the most demanding among these. It has made it possible to specify the EU's needs in terms of the military capability and forces required to attain the headline goal. The needs identified are outlined in a capability catalogue. As agreed at the Feira European Council, NATO's military expertise has helped in drawing up this catalogue. 
  4. On 20 November in Brussels the Member States took part in a Capabilities Commitment Conference, making it possible to draw together the specific national commitments corresponding to the military capability goals set by the Helsinki European Council ( 2). The conference also made it possible to identify a number of areas in which efforts will be made in upgrading existing assets, investment, development and coordination so as gradually to acquire or enhance the capabilities required for autonomous EU action. The Member States announced their initial commitments in this respect.  

  5. This conference constitutes the first stage of a demanding process of reinforcing military capabilities for crisis management by the EU with the purpose being to achieve the overall goal set by 2003 but continuing beyond that date in order to achieve the collective capability goals. At the Helsinki European Council the Member States had also decided rapidly to identify the collective capability goals in the field of command and control, intelligence and strategic transport, and had welcomed decisions of that nature already announced by certain Member States: 
  • to develop and coordinate monitoring and early warning military means;  
  • to open existing joint national headquarters to officers coming from other Member States;  
  • to reinforce the rapid reaction capabilities of existing European multinational forces;  
  • to prepare the establishment of a European air transport command;  
  • to increase the number of readily deployable troops;  
  • and to enhance strategic sea lift capacity.  
This effort will continue. It remains essential to the credibility and effectiveness of the European security and defence policy that the European Union's military capabilities for crisis management be reinforced so that the EU is in a position to intervene with or without recourse to NATO assets. 
  1. At the Capabilities Commitment Conference, in accordance with the decisions taken at the Helsinki and Feira European Councils, the Member States committed themselves, on a voluntary basis, to making national contributions corresponding to the rapid reaction capabilities identified to attain the headline goal. These commitments have been set out in a catalogue known as the "Force Catalogue". Analysis of this catalogue confirms that by 2003, in keeping with the headline goal established in Helsinki, the European Union will be able to carry out the full range of Petersberg tasks, but that certain capabilities need to be improved both in quantitative and qualitative terms in order to maximise the capabilities available to the Union. In this respect, Ministers reaffirmed their commitment fully to achieve the goals identified at the Helsinki European Council. To that end, they will aim to identify as soon as possible the complementary initiatives which they may implement, either on a national basis or in cooperation with partners, to respond to the needs identified. These efforts will be in addition to the contributions already identified. For the countries concerned, these efforts and those deployed as part of NATO's Defence Capabilities Initiative will be mutually reinforcing. 
A. Concerning forces 
In quantitative terms, the voluntary contributions announced by Member States make it possible to achieve in full the headline goal established in Helsinki (60 000 persons available for deployment within 60 days for a mission of at least a year). These contributions, set out in the "Force Catalogue", constitute a pool of more than 100 000 persons and approximately 400 combat aircraft and 100 vessels, making it possible fully to satisfy the needs identified to carry out the different types of crisis-management missions within the headline goal. 
By 2003, once the appropriate European Union political and military bodies are in a position to exercise political control and strategic management of EU-led operations, under the authority of the Council, the Union will gradually be able to undertake Petersberg tasks in line with its increasing military capabilities. The need to further improve the availability, deployability, sustainability and interoperability of forces has, however, been identified if the requirements of the most demanding Petersberg tasks are to be fully satisfied. Efforts also need to be made in specific areas such as military equipment, including weapons and munitions, support services, including medical services, prevention of operational risks and protection of forces.

B. Concerning strategic capabilities 
As regards command, control and communications, the Member States offered a satisfactory number of national or multinational headquarters at strategic, operational, force and component levels. These offers will have to be evaluated further in qualitative terms so that the EU can, in addition to possible recourse to NATO capabilities, have the best possible command and control resources at its disposal. The Union pointed out the importance it attaches to the speedy conclusion of ongoing talks on access to NATO capabilities and assets. The European Union Military Staff, which will acquire an initial operating capability in the course of 2001, will bolster the European Union's collective early warning capability and will provide it with a predecisional situation assessment and strategic planning capability. 
In regard to intelligence, apart from the image interpretation capabilities of the Torrejon Satellite Centre, Member States offered a number of resources which can contribute to the analysis and situation monitoring capability of the European Union. Nevertheless, they noted that serious efforts would be necessary in this area in order for the Union to have more strategic intelligence at its disposal in the future. 
As regards the strategic air and naval transport capabilities at the European Union's disposal, improvements are necessary to guarantee that the Union is able to respond, in any scenario, to the requirements of a demanding operation at the top of the Petersberg range, as defined in Helsinki 

  1. In accordance with the decisions of the Helsinki and Feira European Councils on collective capability goals, the Member States also committed themselves to medium and long-term efforts in order to improve both their operational and their strategic capabilities still further. The Member States committed themselves, particularly in the framework of the reforms being implemented in their armed forces, to continue taking steps to strengthen their own capabilities and carrying out existing or planned projects implementing multinational solutions, including in the field of pooling resources. 

  2. These projects as a whole relate to: 
  • improving the performance of European forces in respect of the availability, deployability, sustainability and interoperability of those forces;  
  • developing "strategic" capabilities: strategic mobility to deliver the forces rapidly to the field of operations; headquarters to command and control the forces and the associated information and communication system; means of providing them with information;  
  • strengthening essential operational capabilities in the framework of a crisis-management operation; areas which were identified in this context were: resources for search and rescue in operational conditions, means of defence against ground-to-ground missiles, precision weapons, logistic support, simulation tools. 
The restructuring of the European defence industries taking place in certain Member States was a positive factor in this. It encouraged the development of European capabilities. By way of example, the Member States concerned cited the work they are engaged in on a number of vital projects which would contribute to bolstering the capabilities at the Union's disposal: Future Large Aircraft (Airbus A 400M), sea transport vessels, Troop Transport Helicopters (NH 90). Some Member States also announced their intention to continue their efforts to acquire equipment to improve the safety and efficiency of military action. Some undertook to improve the Union's guaranteed access to satellite imaging, thanks in particular to the development of new optical and radar satellite equipment (Helios II, SAR Lupe and Cosmos Skymed). 
  1. In order to ensure the durability of European action to strengthen capabilities, the Member States agreed on the importance of defining down an evaluation mechanism enabling follow-up to be made and progress to be facilitated toward the realisation of the commitments made with a view to achieving the headline goal, in both quantitative and qualitative terms.  

  2. The mechanism, the broad outline of which will be approved at the Nice European Council, will provide the Union with an assessment and follow-up mechanism for its goals (based on the HTF Headline Goal Task Force) on the basis of a consultation method between the Member States. In order to avoid unnecessary duplication, it will, for the Member States concerned, rely on technical data emanating from existing NATO mechanisms such as the Defence Planning Process and the Planning and Review Process (PARP). Recourse to these sources would be had, with the support of the EU Military Staff (EUMS), via consultations between experts in a working group set up on the same model as that which operated for the drawing up of the capabilities catalogue (HTF plus). In addition, exchange of information and transparency would be appropriately ensured between the EU and NATO by the Working Group on Capability set up between the two organisations, which would take steps to ensure the coherent development of EU and NATO capabilities where they overlap (in particular that arising from the goals set out at the Helsinki European Council and from the NATO Defence Capabilities Initiative).
This mechanism would be based on the following principles: 
(a) preservation of the EU's autonomy in decision making, in particular in the definition, evaluation, monitoring and follow-up of capability goals; 
(b) recognition of the political and voluntary nature of the commitments made, which implies that the Member States are responsible for any adjustment of the commitments in the light of the evaluation made; 
(c) transparency, simplicity and clarity, in order among other things to enable comparisons to be made between the commitments of the various Member States; 
(d) a continuous and regular of evaluation of progress made, on the basis of reports enabling ministers to take the appropriate decisions;
(e) the flexibility necessary to adapt the commitments to newly identified needs. 
Regarding relations with NATO: 
The arrangements concerning transparency, cooperation and dialogue between the EU and NATO should be set out in the document on permanent arrangements between the EU and NATO. The evaluation mechanism will take account of the following additional principles: 
(f) the need, for the countries concerned, to ensure the compatibility of the commitments taken on in the EU framework with the force goals accepted in the framework of NATO planning or the PARP; 
(g) the need for mutual reinforcement of the EU's capability goals and those arising, for the countries concerned, from the DCI;
(h) the need to avoid unnecessary duplication of procedures and of information requested 
Concerning relations with third countries: 
(i) the mechanism will ensure that the contributions of European States which are members of NATO but not part of the EU, and of the applicant countries, are taken into account, in order to enable an evaluation to be made of their complementary commitments which contribute to the improvement of European capabilities, and to facilitate their possible participation in EU-led operations in accordance with the Helsinki and Feira decisions.
The examination of the work carried out within the EU will benefit from the support of EUMS, in the framework of its mandate, and will be the subject of reports to the Council.


The Member States welcomed the intentions expressed with a view to the ministerial meetings on 21 November by the countries applying for membership of the EU and the non-EU European NATO Members in reply to the invitation made to them at the Feira European Council to make their contribution, in the form of complementary commitments, to improving European capabilities. 
Contributions received at the ministerial meetings on 21 November will extend the range of capabilities available for EU-led operations, thus enabling the EU's intervention capability to be strengthened in the manner most appropriate in the circumstances. They would be welcomed as significant additional contributions to those capabilities offered by the Member States. In this context, the Member States signalled their agreement for those contributions to be evaluated, in liaison with the States concerned, according to the same criteria as those applied to the Member States. 

( 1) The Petersberg tasks include humanitarian and evacuation missions, peace-keeping missions and combat-force missions for crisis management, including missions to restore peace (Article 17(2) TEU). 
( 2) Denmark drew attention to Protocol No 5 annexed to the Treaty of Amsterdam.