North Atlantic Assembly

Committee Reports

Crisis Management: the Contribution of the "European Pillar" 

Mr Volker Kröning (Germany) 

General Rapporteur * 


12 April 2000 

* Until this document has been approved by the Civilian Affairs Committee, it represents only the views of the Rapporteur. 





      1. Political Integration 
      2. The "frontiers of Europe" 








1. Building on the Alliance's experience in Bosnia and anticipating on NATO's role in Kosovo, the 1999 Strategic Concept placed crisis management in the Euro-atlantic area at the core of NATO's missions. Stability in Europe and on its periphery is, indeed, a shared interest of North America and Europe, and 50 years of experience in security co-operation make the Atlantic Alliance an evident forum for continued consultation and, when necessary, action in this field. However, as the post-Cold War security environment has changed the Alliance's role, it has also created conditions for other institutions or mechanisms to assume partial responsibility in building, maintaining, or re-establishing security and stability in Europe. Thus - remaining in the European region and leaving aside economic fora - the OSCE, the European Union, the Contact Group, and in some domains, the Council of Europe have all developed their activities in the past ten years. 

2. The remit of each of these institutions, including that of the Alliance, nevertheless remains uncertain, as do their real capabilities and their future potential. If one had to summarise ten years of European security developments in a snapshot, one could say that, collectively: (i) we know how to use force; (ii) we know how to provide humanitarian assistance (even if we do not always do it perfectly); (iii) we do not know how to manage conflicts politically. In the successive Yugoslav crises - as well as in other conflicts - the use of military force on the one hand and massive humanitarian assistance operations on the other were largely substitutes for the lack of policy. In addition, the use of force had consequences that we were unable to assume politically. Thus today such questions arise as: despite Dayton, can Bosnia be considered a politically meaningful and sustainable entity? or, is there really a "third way" between Kosovo's independence and its integration in Serbia, as Resolution 1244 would have it? 

3. Another aspect of crisis management through military means is that NATO has found itself taking the lead over other institutions both in Bosnia and Kosovo, with the United States necessarily playing a defining role. This should not be taken as an indictment of American policies. Rather it is a reflection of European weakness. Europe's inability to define a common line and act upon it in Bosnia is well-documented.1 The Europeans did better in Kosovo, but nevertheless remained unable either to propose alternative policy options to the use of force or to deploy sufficient means to significantly influence the course of the military strategy. 

4. It is the conviction of your Rapporteur that NATO, being first and foremost a military organisation, cannot be the reference institution for European security management. He is equally persuaded - and this is the logical consequence of the first proposition - that the Europeans should take greater responsibility for the security and stability of their continent. Without neglecting the part that the OSCE, the United Nations and others can play, he will therefore focus on the respective roles of NATO and the EU. The report will begin with a set of remarks on the possibilities and limitations of NATO as an instrument of crisis management. It will proceed with an analysis of current EU enlargement and foreign and security policies, trying to answer two questions: 1) to what extent are EU enlargement and partnership policies conceived as security policies? 2) how well is the EU doing in implementing the decisions of the 1999 Helsinki Council to develop military and non-military instruments of crisis management and integrate the two components? 

5. A few remarks on these two questions. A conviction, rather, as regards the first one: in the eyes of your Rapporteur it is essential that - whatever the detours and setbacks - the EU never lose sight of the fact that its primary purpose lays in the ideal of the founding fathers, i.e. preventing war among the countries of Europe. This must be its guiding principle not only in its enlargement policy, but also in devising relations with peripheral countries that have no, or only a distant, prospect of becoming members. As NATO is "projecting stability" toward Central, Eastern and South-Eastern Europe, the EU should "project peace" in the same direction. On the first question above, the Rapporteur wishes to make it clear that he has no intention of duplicating the work done elsewhere (in the Defence and Security Committee, the Political Committee and by the President in particular) on the European Security and Defence Identity/Policy (ESDI/P) and its relationship with NATO. Rather, the question he wants to raise is: to what extent can the EU address the gaps in our collective capability to manage conflicts by integrating the diplomatic, economic, humanitarian, military, and other components of political action? In the short run, the answer is, of course, partly speculative. However, your Rapporteur hopes that by the time of the autumn session, a clearer picture will emerge. 


6. The fact that NATO has assumed such an important role in the management of conflicts in Europe over the past ten years is the result of two factors: first, our collective failure to act early enough and energetically enough by other than military means to tackle emerging and potential crises; second, the fact that once a crisis had escalated, NATO was the sole organisation to possess the military means to bring it under control. However, as Bosnia and Kosovo have demonstrated, and as alluded to above, NATO is a very coarse instrument to deal with the complex types of crises that are typical of the contemporary strategic environment - whether in Europe or elsewhere. There are several reasons for that. 

7. First, if NATO knows how to use force, it is, however, unable to carry out many of the political, humanitarian, cultural, and economic tasks that comprehensive crisis management requires. As discussed in detail by the Subcommittee co-rapporteurs, NATO forces have de facto begun to assume some of these tasks in Kosovo and Bosnia. But this must be considered at best as a stopgap, not as a model. Resistance in the US Congress to American forces taking up "civilian" responsibilities, as expressed clearly by Senator John Warner2 this spring, should stem the potential temptation for NATO as a whole to take such a direction, should some European partners show an interest in it. 

8. Second, the type of coercive use of force that NATO resorted to in Bosnia and Kosovo does not lend itself to the nuanced treatment of conflicting parties which is necessary in managing modern ethnic, religious or nationalist strife. As demonstrated in Kosovo, it was difficult for NATO to remain "above the fray" and not appear as an objective ally of the Kosovo Liberation Army, conversely being depicted as an enemy of Serbia - despite all assurances to the contrary. A complicating factor is that more often than not, more than two groups are involved in modern conflicts: Bosnia pitted at least three against one another, not to mention Mogadishu which is said to have counted as many as 31 guerrilla armies in 1992! In addition, the risk is high in such situations that the oppressed of yesterday become the oppressors of tomorrow. Rwanda is one such case, with Hutus and Tutsis having swapped roles as the other's persecutor. Although the situation is not so clear-cut in Kosovo, recurrent acts of vengeance by Albanians against Serbs are a sad reminder that ethnic violence in the province did not disappear with NATO's intervention. 

9. A third, related drawback of the coercive use of force is that it does not sit easily with the humanitarian goals which are directly or indirectly associated with most contemporary crisis management attempts. That tension (also spelled out by the Subcomittee co-rapporteurs) was experienced very acutely by humanitarian NGOs who had to deliver assistance to embattled "safe havens" under NATO protection in Bosnia or later, in Northern Albania, to rely on Alliance support to build refugee camps whilst NATO was trying to sweep Serb forces out of Kosovo. In the case of Kosovo, the dilemma was exposed in even more graphic terms as NATO's intervention in the short run significantly worsened the situation of the people it was supposed to protect. 

10. Fourth, as alluded to above, relying exclusively or primarily on NATO has the weakness that it subordinates crisis management in Europe to the priorities of American policy. Let us not forget that a solution began to emerge in Bosnia only in 1994 when Washington, reversing its previous position that its interests were not involved, became seriously engaged. In Kosovo, not only the decision to intervene, but the particular form of the intervention and the means to carry it out were strongly influenced by American political and military decisions. However, Washington will always want to tailor its military commitments very carefully, taking into account its interests in Europe but also a whole series of other factors linked to its other priorities as a global actor. This means, one, that there is no guarantee that the United States will want to be involved in every European conflict situation in the future, and two, that the American engagement will most likely always come late, at a time when the conflict has reached such intensity that the massive use of force remains the sole solution. Your Rapporteur is convinced that a greater European engagement would contribute to alleviate this kind of vicious circle of escalation - military reaction. 

11. Fifth, heavy reliance on NATO has the unfortunate consequence that it alienates Russia. But for the sake of Europe's security as a whole, Western countries have no choice but to consider Russia as a security partner. Experience shows that this is easier said than done (also taking into account that Russia is not helping its case with policies such as the war in Chechnya). Despite strenuous Western efforts to involve Moscow in the management of the Kosovo crisis - through the Contact Group, the G8, the Chernomyrdin-Ahtissari mission, the eventual return to the Security Council with Resolution 1244, and Russia's subsequent participation in KFOR - in the eyes of the Russians, NATO's unilateral military operation against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY) basically meant that their opinion could be discarded. Indeed, the crisis in Kosovo dealt a very hard blow to the already deeply wounded pride of the former superpower. The development of the EU's ESDP does not seem to elicit the same type of negative reactions on the part of the Russians, at least for the time being. 

12. Sixth and finally, as graphically demonstrated by the cases of Serbia and Iraq, the use of force, if it can reverse the most damaging consequences of a political adventurer's murderous folly, cannot eliminate the "root causes" of the crisis, i.e. unseat his criminal regime. On the contrary, in both cases, undemocratic and aggressive regimes seem to have succeeded in exploiting the military operation against them to reinforce their power. 

13. These observations do not lead the Rapporteur to conclude that NATO has no role in European conflict management, but to propose that: 1) NATO's role must remain limited, appearing as a last resort option; 2) NATO's military intervention must always be conceived as part of a comprehensive policy of crisis management. The latter is, as of yet, missing. In the Rapporteur's view, the EU, working with other institutions (including NATO itself, the United Nations, the OSCE, the Council of Europe, etc.), should develop the "missing links" in European crisis management. It should do so in two ways: by conceiving its enlargement and association policies as security-enhancing policies; and by endowing itself without delay with the instruments foreseen in the December 1999 Helsinki Council conclusions. Your Rapporteur will tackle these two aspects in turn. 


14. Most countries in Central, Eastern and South-Eastern Europe want to join the EU because they are persuaded that this will usher them into an era of prosperity and seal their membership in the Western community of values. These hopes seem to match the EU's ambitions, as expressed anew at the beginning of this year in a Commission communication spelling out its "Strategic objectives" for the period 2000-2005. Thus, the Commission states its determination to "pursue our enlargement strategy, which offers a unique opportunity to expand our area of freedom, stability, prosperity and peace", making it clear that "we are not just enlarging a trading area but an unprecedented regional entity whose peoples share the same values and the same ambitions". Furthermore, "strategic partnerships with the countries adjoining the enlarged Europe" must be pursued, based on the conviction that "our borders must not become a new fault-line separating stability and prosperity on one side from instability, conflict and development lags on the other."3 

15. Congruent with these principles, EU enlargement and partnership policies were significantly overhauled in the course of 1999, the most significant steps being: 

  • the decision of the December 1999 Helsinki Council to launch membership negotiations from February 2000 with Bulgaria, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Romania, and Slovakia, thereby instantly doubling the number of countries engaged in the accession process (Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Poland and Slovenia has begun membership negotiations since 1998). This reflects a new philosophy of enlargement which no longer sets exacting preconditions for the beginning of accession talks, but places all candidates on the same starting line, with the accession date of a country depending on its actual degree of political and economic reform and its integration of the acquis communautaire in national laws and practices; 
  • the confirmation by the Council at the same date that Turkey was destined to join, while accession negotiations could only begin once a number of conditions had been met, especially in terms of political reform; 
  • the overhaul of the EU’s relations with South-Eastern Europe through the superposition to the former "Regional approach" (dating back from 1997) of a new "Stabilisation and Association Process" (SAP) targeting Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY), and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. The aim of the SAP is to further the political, institutional, economic and legal transformation of those countries before they can be part of a formal EU accession process. The SAP was endorsed by the Cologne Council in June 1999; 
  • the endorsement, in the context of the same Cologne Council, of a “Stability Pact for South-Eastern Europe” federating the efforts of some 30 countries and a large number of international political organisations and financial institutions in order to address the root causes of the recurrent crises in the Balkans. At the core of the Stability Pact is the concept of regional co-operation, both as a tool and as a set of values destined to anchor the countries of the region in Europe. From the very beginning it was made clear that the EU was expected to take the lead in the Pact’s implementation, as it proceeded very much from the same philosophy of regional co-operation and step-by-step integration into European structures as the SAP; 
  • the launching, at Helsinki, of a Common EU Strategy on Ukraine, complementing the Common Strategy on Russia adopted in June 1999. 



    16. At this stage in his inquiry, the Rapporteur is not able to pass definitive judgement on whether these EU enlargement, association, and partnership decisions conform to the lofty goals stated by the Commission above. Rather, his remarks are intended to spell out the requirements which, in his view, would have to be met for the EU to be a magnet for peace in the Euro-atlantic region. Some of them pertain both to enlargement stricto sensu and to partnership and association policies writ large, whereas some are more specific. Regarding the latter, he has chosen to concentrate on the Balkan region, considering that the regional closeness to the EU, plus the magnitude of the problems to be confronted, make success there an obligation. This does not mean that he is neglecting the importance of Russia, Ukraine or the Mediterranean in the shaping of an EU regional stabilisation strategy, but these issues are just too broad to be tackled in the context of the present report. 


    17. Acceding to the EU is a demanding task. It means accepting painful economic reforms, adapting national laws and norms to almost 50 years of acquis communautaire, and tangibly demonstrating one's commitment to democratic values inside and good neighbourly relations outside. To what extent candidates and would-be candidates are aware of these requirements is uncertain. However, one cannot but notice the diminishing enthusiasm of public opinion in many candidate countries, even as they progress toward membership. Obviously, the economic, and, for some, the political costs are beginning to sink in, whereas the benefits will only become tangible in the more distant future. 

    18. The Rapporteur wishes to make his position clear on this matter: First, if one speaks of enlargement, any dilution of the EU acquis is unacceptable, whether in terms of economic integration, social norms, health standards, or political cohesion. In this, he can only praise the frankness of the Commission's Director General for Enlargement, Eneko Landaburu, who declared last March: "I am not ready to sign for enlargement that would result in weakening the EU's rules of the game. We cannot give things away for nothing. We can only be more stringent".4 This obviously places a heavy burden on the candidates to "conform". Second, and the Rapporteur is equally firm on this: it is not good enough to say that one will welcome new members or reach out to outlying partners and at the same time refuse to recognise that there is a "solidarity cost" to pay for it. To its merit, the EU adopted an asymmetric approach in its trade relations with the candidate countries of Central and Eastern Europe in the early 1990's, opening its markets to their products before they could reciprocate, and the Council endorsed the same approach vis-à-vis the Balkan countries engaged in the SAP in March 2000. Nevertheless, too often EU markets remain highly restricted to imports of goods that are important for the economies of the partners or applicants, such as agriculture, steel or textile for example. As well-documented in the work of the Economic Committee, the combined GDP of the five SAP countries, plus Bulgaria and Romania, is only about 1% of that of the EU. Granting them liberal access to European markets would therefore be unlikely to have a destabilising effect on the EU itself.5 

    19. Two other aspects are important to your Rapporteur. The first is the nature and extent of the political integration taking place in the context of EU accession, pre-accession and association policies. This is important if one considers that the EU is a community of values and that it aims to become a cohesive political actor. The second is the nature of the relationship between the "ins" and "outs" of Europe. 

    1. Political Integration 

    20. Political integration can become reality through two vehicles. The first is the bilateral political dialogue foreseen as part of each enlargement negotiation and each association or partnership agreement. The Rapporteur does not have sufficient information at this stage to draw definite conclusions on the quality of this dialogue. He hopes to be able to document the matter in the autumn version of his report. 

    21. The second pertains to the participation of EU candidate countries in the elaboration and implementation of the ESDP, including its defence components. As members are well aware,6 this is a controversial issue because it involves not only the relationship of the EU with its future members but with the present members of NATO, that may or may not be EU candidates. A European integration logic would suggest a similar level of involvement in the ESDP of all applicant countries, whether they belong or not to NATO, whereas a logic stressing ESDP's contribution to the Alliance would argue for a narrower association of European NATO members, regardless of their future EU membership prospect. A Portuguese presidency paper circulated at the beginning of the year proposes to bridge that gap by creating a "European Security and Defence Framework" (ESDF). The ESDF would be a kind of "variable geometry" structure by which EU Defence and Foreign Ministers would meet on a bi-annual basis with counterparts from non-EU NATO members and EU candidates ("ESDF - Enlarged format"), and non-EU NATO members only ("ESDF - Restricted format"). More frequent meetings at ambassadorial level would be held in both formats as needed. The proposal looks sound. To your Rapporteur, it is important that it safeguard an at least equal involvement of EU future members as of NATO members in the non-military aspects of ESDP. 

    22. Arguments about the mechanisms of association nevertheless beg the question of whether a Europe in which 30 or 35 countries are supposed to take part in foreign policy decisions is still an operational structure. Foreign policy is one of these areas in which the principle of majority voting is least likely to make inroads. To your Rapporteur, "variable geometry" is an inevitable development. Should, however, a fairly stable core of countries demonstrate readiness to co-operate in a majority of fields of EU action, the re-creation of a new, more cohesive entity within the Union would become inescapable. Considering present EU enlargement policy unrealistic, former EU Commission President Jacques Delors suggests to build on a concept originally tabled by French President Mitterrand in the early 1990s, when he proposed that European integration be managed through the deepening cohesion of a core represented by the EU, which would work in partnership with a wider circle of countries through the looser structure of a "European Confederation".7 The Mitterrand proposal was taken by emerging democracies as a rebuke of their aspiration to "join Europe" quickly, and was therefore rejected. But ten years later, the problem of EU cohesion is re-emerging - whatever the result of the next Intergovernmental Conference. Although few European leaders would want to admit that the present enlargement policy has to a large extent escaped their control, some rethinking will be necessary of what the EU is for, and how it works. The fact that the EU is seriously examining options for "reinforced co-operation" is a testimony to that need. Mr Delors suggests the Union should proceed differently, i.e. distinguish economic integration, which he believes is achievable on a wider European scale, and political integration, which can only be the feat of a "hard core" of like-minded countries, it being understood that this "hard core" would always remain open to those who want to join if they are ready to satisfy the conditions. Even if the proposal sounds like the Confederation model is returning through the backdoor, one wonders whether there is really another solution. 

    2. The "frontiers of Europe" 

    23. By using this phrase, the Rapporteur does not want to enter into the controversial debate about the geographic boundaries of Europe. Rather, what he means is the type of rapport the EU should entertain at any point in time with outlying regions and future members. Mr Delors, whether one agrees or not with his analysis and proposal, points to that rapport as a particularly important component of EU policy and of the EU's perception by the rest of the world. The core concept here the negative one of "fortress Europe". "Fortress Europe" understood not in the narrow economic sense in which the United States used it in the late 1980s and early 1990s, but in the broader sense that Europe, by reinforcing its cohesion inside, would at the same time be erecting an increasingly daunting wall between itself and non-members. 

    24. To some extent, this is inescapable: the larger the EU acquis, the more difficult it becomes to fulfil the requirements for access to its markets in terms of technical standards, health norms, quality control, etc. But the obstacles to the free flow of goods are only part of the problem. Perhaps more serious are the barriers to the free flow of people because they are more tangible to the average citizen. The integration of Schengen into the EU and the acceleration of the co-operation in justice and home affairs (JHA), provided for by the Amsterdam Treaty and reaffirmed at the special Summit of Tampere in October 1999, while necessary to allow for the total free movement and establishment of people within the EU, necessarily force a stronger distinction between "insiders" and "outsiders". This also has the consequence that, as candidate countries are gradually integrated into the process of JHA co-operation, they have to erect new barriers with their own neighbours, such as new visa requirements. Moldova, to cite one example, is one of these countries that dreads the prospect of being isolated by the integration of a neighbour, Romania, into the EU

    25. To your Rapporteur, there is little escape to that dilemma: as he asserts above, the depth of EU integration must not be allowed to be watered down by enlargement. This means that: 

  • applicant countries have to accept that belonging to the EU has a price and that this imposes a political choice in the sense that it obligates them to demonstrate through concrete measures that they do belong to the world of highly developed democracies; 
  • the EU must take concrete measures to alleviate the consequences of its own deepening on candidate and neighbouring countries by: 
    • generously applying an “asymmetric approach” in the economic field (cf. above); 
    • making JHA co-operation a priority in its relationship with all candidates and special partners. This involves not only keeping the pressure on them so that they better police their borders and rein in their criminals, but implementing active assistance programmes to improve customs, police training and equipment, the fight against organised crime and corruption, anti-fraud legislation, and the establishment of an effective and fair justice system in those countries. Because it is in their well-understood self-interest, EU members have been relatively active in these fields. In May 1998 they launched a “Pre-Accession Pact on Organised Crime between the Member States of the European Union and the Applicant Countries of Central and Eastern Europe and Cyprus”. As the joint report of the High Representative on the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) and the Commission of March 2000 recommended, this model should be transposed to South-Eastern Europe as part of the Stabilisation and Association process and in the context of the Stability Pact. 
  • strengthened border controls, which are necessary to combat organised crime and fraud and illegal immigration, be conceived in such a way that they do not hamper contacts for trade development, and the types of technical, scientific, educational and cultural exchanges that are necessary to bring Central, Eastern and South-Eastern European countries and their people into the European mainstream. 

    26. Because of the importance of stability in South-Eastern Europe to the stability and well-being of Europe as a whole, your Rapporteur would like to dwell for some time on the EU's efforts to help the region recover its bearings. As alluded to before, these efforts are considerable. The main building blocks are: 
  • the Stability Pact, officially launched in Cologne in June 1999 and substantiated in more concrete form at a 29 March 2000 Funding Conference which resulted in the commitment of 2.4 billion euros (some US$2.3 billion) in bilateral and multilateral funding for the implementation, within a year, of some 140 projects; about one fourth of that amount (530 million euros) was pledged by the EU; 
  • the Stabilisation and Association process, the most concrete achievements of which, since its launching in June 1999, have been the beginning of negotiations on a Stabilisation and Association agreement (SAA) between the EU and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia on 7 March 2000, and the establishment, following the change of regime in Croatia, of an "EU/Croatia Consultative Task Force" intended to pave the way to future negotiations on an SAA. SAAs should lead to the establishment, within ten years, of a free trade area between the country concerned and the EU, and eventually within the region itself; 
  • the disbursement of substantial humanitarian aid to Kosovo and the neighbouring regions by ECHO during and after the war in 1999 (200 million euros, or almost double the total ECHO funding for the region over 1991-98) and, subsequently, the creation of a Reconstruction Agency for Kosovo with dual location in Thessaloniki and Pristina; the Agency was inaugurated on 25 March 2000; 
  • beyond Kosovo, the provision of massive humanitarian, reconstruction, development, and macro-economic assistance to the whole region since 1991: taking into account national contributions, the EU invested almost 8 billion euros into the five SAP countries over 1991-1999; if Romania and Bulgaria are included, the total for the region is 17 billion euros; 
  • a pledge to pursue the effort over 2000-2006 by investing some 12 billion euros in the region’s rebuilding, including 6 billion euros for Romania and Bulgaria and 5.5 billion euros for the five SAP countries; 
  • efforts to reach out to democratic forces in the FRY through: 1) the devising of exceptions to international funding rules to permit support to non-sovereign Montenegro; and 2) the implementation of differentiated policies vis-à-vis Serbia combining the reinforcement of sanctions against the Milosevic regime and measures to support the democratic opposition (through initiatives such as the “Energy for Democracy” programme). 



    27. Daily reports of violence in Mitrovica, renewed crackdowns on the press in Serbia, the emergence of new drug or prostitution rings run by the Albanian mafia, or yet another strike by destitute minors in Romania are a sad reminder that these efforts, however massive, have yet to bear fruit. The magnitude of the task, no doubt, is huge, and major reform efforts will have to be consented by the countries of the region and their people to lift themselves to European standards of living and patterns of behaviour. This, however, should not exempt the international community from addressing the flaws in its approach. As for the EU, many of these flaws have been courageously recognised in an analysis paper jointly produced by the office of the High Representative on the CFSP and the European Commission in March 2000 - perhaps the first signal that the December 1999 Helsinki decisions on the ESDP are beginning to make a difference.11 

    28. The most obvious is the "plethora of actors" involved, and of processes meant to contribute to, Balkan stabilisation and reconstruction. Thus the Stability Pact came on top of the SAP and the accession strategies (for Bulgaria and Romania), the SECI (South East Europe Co-operation Initiative), the Royaumont process for regional co-operation, the Central European Initiative, and various other regional initiatives such as the Black Sea Economic Co-operation and the South-Eastern European Defence Ministers (SEDM) group. At the level of actors, in addition to national EU embassies, each Balkan country has a European Commission Office, an OSCE office, one or more United Nations offices, plus special envoys such as the High Representative in Bosnia and Herzegovina or the Head of UNMIK in Kosovo. To add one more layer of complexity one should include ad hoc co-operation frameworks such at the Peace Implementation Conference and the Contact Group. This does not make for clarity in the international community's role, to say the least. Rather, it leads to a lot of duplication and overlaps and to a tendency among local governments and population either to discard the whole effort as theatre or to play one actor against another. As evident by the range of its policies described above, the EU itself is involved at several different levels. But this involvement occurs in a very uncoordinated manner. 

    29. Another weakness affecting European action is the complexity and slowness of the EU's decision-making and funding processes, the latter having been made even worse following the management scandals that led to the downfall of the Commission in 1999. But sluggishness in the response is not the feat of the Commission only. It is also a shared attribute of the EU member states, often at the root of American criticism that the Europeans are not "doing enough" for the region. As demonstrated by the data above, they are, but there is often so much delay between the pledge and the delivery that the magnitude of the effort gets lost. 

    30. Another component of others' failure to recognise European efforts - these "others" being the US Congress or the countries concerned themselves - is the fact that bilateral assistance, the cost of diplomatic missions, military efforts and common EU funding (itself scattered through several budgets) are seldom aggregated, whereas US data generally encompass all of these elements. European leaders, meeting in Lisbon at the end of March and again on the occasion of the Stability Pact Funding Conference on 29 March, have made it clear that they were no longer willing to let their efforts be underrated. Their statements on these occasions appear as a direct response to the motions discussed at the time in the US Congress to begin withdrawing the US KFOR contingent if the Europeans kept lagging in delivering on their pledges of humanitarian and reconstruction assistance, and of police deployment to Kosovo.12 In this, they received strong support from US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright who reminded Congress in an open letter that the US contributed to less than 15% of the total troops deployment and less than 15% of the non-military assistance to Kosovo.13 

    31. Similar doubts about the effectiveness of the Stability Pact itself have surfaced as for about nine months, few tangible results emerged out of its "Regional Table" or the meetings of its three "Working Tables" (on democratisation and human rights; economic reconstruction, development and co-operation; and security). The 29 March Funding Conference was meant to rekindle faith in the Pact through the launching of "Quick Start" projects whose short implementation time frame would ensure a tangible difference for the local population. Your Rapporteur hopes to be able to assess whether that goal is being achieved in the autumn version of this report. 

    32. One of the difficulties that have affected EU policies in the past and will similarly affect the Stability Pact is the implementation of the principle of "conditionality". Indeed, the problem of how to "balance carrots and sticks" is not specific to the EU nor to the Balkan region: it affects all international assistance programmes in the world (viz. Russia). But it takes perhaps greater salience in this context because "conditionality" is a keyword in EU enlargement and association policies. The "Copenhagen criteria" have become a benchmark in that respect. They spell out that: 

    33. Membership requires that the candidate country has achieved stability of institutions guaranteeing democracy, the rule of law, human rights and respect for and protection of minorities, the existence of a functioning market economy as well as the capacity to cope with competitive pressure and market forces within the Union. Membership presupposes the candidate's ability to take on the obligations of membership including adherence to the aims of political, economic and monetary union.14 

    34. Formulated as part of the EU's enlargement policy, conditionality has been made an integral component of the EU's "Regional Approach" for the Balkans developed in 1996-97 and of the SAP. This means that, like the candidate countries, the "would-be candidates" have to measure up to a number of political, economic, legal, and to some extent cultural conditions before they can move to the next step in their European integration. But they also have to abide by additional conditions, in particular the demonstrated willingness to co-operate with neighbours before they can count on EU assistance. Your Rapporteur can only commend this approach, which is fully in the spirit of European integration and can only be a school for future co-operation within European structures. 

    35. He also believes that conditionality is the right approach, politically because it makes it clear that belonging to the EU means adhering to a community of values, and economically because money thrown at structures that do not have the capacity to absorb it leads to waste, the distortion of economic activity, and widespread corruption. The widely publicised reports on large scale corruption in Bosnia in 1999 are a reminder of that danger. Another, related risk of disbursing money without corresponding effort on the part of the benefiting country is that it encourages a dependency culture. Bosnia again is a case in point, as recognised by former High Representative (and now special representative of the UN Secretary General for the Balkans) Carl Bildt himself.15 That dependency culture is the exact opposite of the reform "ownership" dynamics that the international community purports to instill into the region. 

    36. But the conditionality policy also has some drawbacks. In addition to the fact that it is often difficult to know what actually happens on the ground, conditionality risks discouraging rather than encouraging local initiatives if it is not properly targeted, and then closely monitored. One of the problems, stressed by the High Representative/Commission Report on the Western Balkans is that the conditions are formulated in a somewhat vague manner. This is perhaps inevitable as, beyond the adoption of the EU acquis, enlargement and association are eminently political processes. But it makes it at times difficult for candidates and partners to know what is expected from them. 

    37. Another area where EU policy could gain in clarity, according to the same report, would be in defining better the relationship between the SAP and enlargement, as the EU "has not clarifed sufficiently what it means by offering 'the perspective of integration' to the countries of the region".16 How one country moves from the launching, or the partial implementation, or the full realisation of an SAA - the latter only a distant prospect for most of those concerned - to an accession process remains unclear. 

    38. As for the Stability Pact, whether it will make a difference in the economic development and political stability of the region remains to be seen. The precedent of the 1994-95 Pact on Stability in Europe (PSE) suggests cautious optimism. Conceived as a means to reduce ethnic and border tensions between the countries of Central and Eastern Europe (especially Hungary, Romania and Slovakia) prior to their integration into the EU, the PSE did lead to limited but tangible progress in their mutual relationships. This relative success is attributable mainly to three factors: 1) its limited ambitions; 2) its clearly preventive character, whereas the Balkan Stability Pact must prove its capacity to de-escalate tensions; 3) the fact that the incentive of EU and NATO membership was looming in the background (even if no direct link was made). One of the often underestimated positive elements of the PSE, however, is that the EU remained actively engaged in the process until its target completion date. By contrast the "unfinished part" of the PSE's agenda remained unfulfilled once the process was transferred into the fold of the OSCE in March 1995. This points to the need of attentive political nurturing of stabilisation processes. In this respect, the decision of the Lisbon European Council in March 2000 to entrust the co-ordination of European action in the Balkans - and that includes the funding consented by the EU as part of the Stability Pact - to the High Representative for the CFSP, working together with the European Commission, comes as a welcome sign of political commitment.17 

    39. Regardless, most analysts agree that the Stability Pact will not bear all its fruit unless Serbia is reintegrated into the mainstream of Balkan political and economic co-operation. This cannot be done as long as the Milosevic regime is in place. There is no quick fix to that problem. The only realistic approach seems to be for the Western community to continue along current policy lines, but with greater determination: more efforts to isolate the regime, and more efforts to make it tangible to the people of Yugoslavia that they can expect Western support if they are willing to walk the democratic path. 


    40. Beyond its specific policies towards the Balkans - which nevertheless provide a challenging terrain of experimentation - what can be expected from the EU is that it fulfils its bold ambitions set out in Helsinki. These ambitions concern not only the military "headline goals" of deploying 50-60,000 troops within two months and sustaining them for a year, but also the development of a capacity for non-military crisis management. This actually implies two things: 1) the streamlining of existing means and procedures; 2) the creation of new, specific tools. 


    41. Over the years, the EU has developed a number of capabilities, building a considerable potential for conflict prevention and post-conflict political and economic rehabilitation. Among the tools for conflict prevention, one can list the EU's democracy programmes (PHARE and TACIS); the ECMM (European Community Monitoring Mission), deployed on many terrains across the entire Balkans region since the early 1990s (some 500 monitors at present); the funding of many cross-border projects, including the Royaumont initiative; and the substantial funding for regional economic development and reform discussed earlier. Post-conflict reconstruction includes again major efforts in the economic field, but also the support to institutional rebuilding through election organisation and supervision (programmes partly carried out by the OSCE), support for media development programmes, support for police training (programmes partly carried out by the WEU), and contributions to the overall management of stabilisation and reconstruction programmes trough such institutions as the High Representative in Bosnia and Herzegovina or the "EU pillar" of UNMIK in Kosovo. 

    42. These efforts are many, but as the March 2000 joint report of the High Representative/Commission concluded, they are scattered among many budget lines, there is little co-ordination between them, and most member states keep running their own programmes in parallel, again without any concern for ensuring the cohesion of the whole. Another problem is the frequent delays in policy formulation caused by the EU heavy decision-making machinery (most decisions in the field of foreign action have to go back to national capitals), and the lengthy budgetary procedures which do not allow for the implementation of quick impact measures at short notice. Finally, the report stresses the deficit in the consolidation of information as a lot of data is still gathered on a national basis, and information assembled by Commission delegations, EU special envoys and other international organisations is not collated in a systematic fashion for exploitation in the CFSP framework. 

    43. Recognising these shortcomings was a first step. The next one is to remedy them. A number of promising measures have been announced in this respect: 

  • first, fwe have mentioned the decision of the Ministers of Foreign affairs, meeting in Lisbon at the end of March, to entrust Mr. Solana working together with Mr Patten, with the responsibility of ensuring the coherence of EU policies towards the Western Balkans; 
  • second, the Commission was scheduled to adopt a new Regulation in April with a view of creating a single budget line for all EU’s assistance programmes to the Balkan region; 
  • third, again in the financial realm, but going much beyond the Balkans, the Commission is working on the creation of a Rapid Reaction Facility with the purpose of enhancing the EU’s ability to respond to crises in the non-military domain, but also its capability to react more quickly generally in the framework of the CFSP; 
  • fourth, the "quick start package" of the Stability Pact is expected to instill a sense of timeliness in the international response to Balkan reconstruction needs, and particularly in the contribution of the EU; 
  • fifth, ECMM reporting is in the process of being radically restructured to make a better use of these "EU eyes" in crisis-ridden regions for the purpose of the CFSP; 
  • sixth, and again, this is a general policy measure, the creation of an interim Political and Security Committee (iPSC) as part of the new ESDP should go some way in "cutting through the red tape" of decision-making. At least day-to-day CFSP management decisions should be taken by the body resident in Brussels, instead of waiting for meetings of national Political Directors or for a slot to become available on the always crowded agenda of the General Affairs Council. 



    44. Whether these measures will succeed in alleviating existing shortcomings remains to be seen. Some of the new regulations have just been passed. The iPSC began to meet at the beginning of March and it will take some time to see whether its presence in Brussels instils new momentum to the CFSP. Further, how much leeway governments will leave Mr Solana in formulating and implementing the CFSP remain to be seen. Whether the initial confidence they seem to have put in him will last, and be passed on to his successor, is an open question. Similarly, the cohesion of EU action in the international arena will depend on how well the new Policy Unit and the services of the iPSC (and of the Military Committee accompanying it) work together with the Commission. Relations between Messrs Patten and Solana are reported to be good. Whether this will remain true as the stakes become higher is one more question for the future, as is the transferability of current co-operation patterns to successors, once the instruments of the ESDP are fully developed and the Commission has overhauled its structures to deal with external action. In the end, "cultural" problems may be the most difficult to overcome: the EU is a slow-moving, fairly legalistic, and often bureaucratic structure; for it to be effective in the field of crisis management (whether military or not) means changing the way it operates in a fairly fundamental manner. This probably means a fair amount of decentralisation in decision-making. This decentralisation will have to be reconciled with the other "cultural" change needed, which is the ability to handle confidential information in a way that the EU has not be accustomed to. National governments, and at times NATO will have to be confident that they can pass on sensitive information to the Policy Unit or the PSC without that information immediately appearing in newspapers or on television screens. This presumably requires the establishment of a complete set of clearance procedures on a "need to know" basis, possibly cutting across hierarchical lines. 


    45. In addition to the measures just spelled out, that can be termed "capabilities improvement", the EU is looking into new instruments to enhance its general crisis management capacity. Two proposals are in the offing. The first is the creation of a "Committee for Civilian Crisis Management" (CCCM), to be established by the latest at the Feira Council (June 2000), and the second, put forward by Commissioner Chris Patten, the definition of "non-military headline goals". 

    46. The role of the CCCM and how it will relate to the PSC remains uncertain. Presumably, the two Committees will be made up of the same members (national representatives at Ambassador's level in Brussels), meeting with a different "hat" depending on the agenda. It would seem, however, that the role of the Commission would be more developed in relation with the CCCM than it is with the PSC, as many of the tools of civil crisis management will have to rely on means managed by the Commission.18 

    47. The "non-military headline goals" would be performance objectives for non-military action corresponding to those in the military sphere. Again, the purpose would be to speed up European reaction to a crisis. However, the Helsinki Council conclusions also specify that these EU capabilities could be put at the disposal of the United Nations or the OSCE. According to Mr Patten the domains covered would be:19 

  • emergency assistance, which would include not only humanitarian assistance as currently managed by ECHO, but also search and rescue operations and population protection. Mr Patten suggests the need for the EU to develop logistical capabilities in that regard. Your Rapporteur believes that the definition of goals and their implementation should, to some extent, be co-ordinated with the work of NATO’s Civil Emergency Planning division, which has been active in this field for years; 
  • the deployment of civil and military police in peace-support operations, and the related area of police training and equipment. As argued by the Sub-committee co-rapporteurs, greater EU efforts as regards the deployment of police are definitely a must. In the field of training and equipment, there is room for improvement on the type of action currently carried by the WEU in Albania. The particular contribution of a European Police Academy, the concept of which has been floating for some time, should be given urgent attention in this respect; 
  • mine clearance, with the particular goal of accelerating demining after conflicts, to the benefit not only of the peacekeepers, but of the local population as a whole; 
  • the resources for rehabilitation and reconstruction, including areas that are often neglected, but essential to long-term stabilisation, such as "micro-disarmament"; 
  • experts, monitors and staff for human rights monitoring, electoral observation, media advice, customs management, and administration-institution-building. Given the (negative) experience of Kosovo, civilian administrators should be given priority in the view of your Rapporteur. 



    48. The Situation Centre created within the Council's Policy Unit (Mr Solana's staff), has begun work to identify these goals and develop an inventory of corresponding national assets. The news, reported in March, that it had established a preliminary database on Member States civil police capabilities, is very welcome. The Commission, in turn, as part of the reorganisation of its external services, is creating a Crisis Centre meant to ensure the operational interface with the Situation Centre in the domains covered by the "non-military headline goals". There are therefore good reasons to hope that one could see greater cohesion in EU's non-military crisis management in the near future. 


    49. In the past, Europe's contribution to the continent's security has been lacklustre, to say the least. US complaints that the European allies were not doing enough were, to a large extent, justified - even if American criticism often failed to consider that economic co-operation and integration into EU structures contributed at least as much to security as military means. Conscious of its failings, Europe is now determined to do more, both to be true to a certain idea of itself, and because it has understood that generosity to neighbours and the willingness to assume greater political responsibilities are also in its own self-interest. The string of decisions in the foreign policy and security fields that culminated in December 1999 in Helsinki provide a road map. Now, it is time to implement the measures, following that road map, that will give the Union a better grip on the management of security in its environment, beginning with the Balkans. 

    50. As with any other political endeavour, there will be periods of fast advance and others of slow motion, successes and failure. What matters is that progress, overall, continues. In the process, the EU will have to be careful not to leave anyone belonging to its close environment on the sidelines. But this does not mean that everyone will have to be involved and integrated to the same degree. Your Rapporteur has made it clear that, in his view, quality matters more than quantity. What is important is that the Union, both through its policies and its structures of association, be a true force for peace and stability in the Euro-atlantic region. This will be its most valuable contribution to the transatlantic Alliance. Indeed, as commissioner Chris Patten declared to the members in February, what the Europeans are trying to do is "to be a stronger and more effective ally in return for all [American] bold help in the past".20 


    1. For details, see Nicole Gnesotto, Lessons of Yugoslavia, WEU Institute for Security Studies, Chaillot Paper 14, March 1994; Catherine Guicherd, "The Hour of Europe: Lessons from the Yugoslav Conflict", The Fletcher Forum on World Affairs, Vol.17, No.2, Summer 1993, pp. 159-181. 

    2. See Senator Warner's explanatory statement to the presentation of his amendment on the "Overseas Contingency Operations Transfer Fund", Congressional Record - Senate, 9 March 2000. 

    3. European Commission, "Shaping the New Europe", Strategic Objectives 2000-2005, Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions, in Bulletin Quotidien Europe, 17 February 2000, Annex. 

    4. Quote in editorial of Bulletin Quotidien Europe, No. 7680, 20-21 March 2000, p. 4; for a fuller statement of Mr Landaburu's argument, see Bulletin Quotidien Europe, No. 7676, 15 March 2000, p. 11. 

    5. Developing the Economies of South-Eastern Europe, Rapporteur: Harry Cohen, Economic Committee, Sub-committee on East-West Economic Co-operation and Convergence, [AT 115 EC/EW (00) 5], 24 March 2000, par. 54. This report contains a number of proposals to accelerate the economic integration of the region into the EU, par. 54-58. 

    6. For details of the argument, and in particular of the US and Turkish positions, see Steering Group on ESDI, "Summary Overview of the Discussions of the ESDI Steering Group Meetings", Madrid, 17 December 1999 [AT 10 ESDI (00) 2]; "Joint Meeting of the NATO PA and the European Parliament Committee on Foreign Affairs", Brussels, 22 February 2000 [AT 70 GEN (00) 25]. 

    7. Mr Delors's ideas were spelled out at a hearing organised by the French Senate Delegation for the European Union on 16 June 1999, as summarised by Bulletin Quotidien Europe, No. 7520, 2-3 August 1999, p.4; for a full statement of his ideas, see Mr Delors's statement to Europartenaires, 13 January 2000, Europartenaires (Paris), No. 15, February 2000. Similar ideas are also included in Mr Delors's lecture to the Aspen Institute entitled "Reunifying Europe: Our Historic Mission", Berlin, on 14 November 1999. 

    8. Report on the Western Balkans presented to the Lisbon European Council by the Secretary General/High Representative together with the Commission, 24 March 2000, on (hereafter: Report on the Western Balkans, 24 March 2000). 

    9. Source: European Commission, on : 

    10. The Rt Hon Chris Patten, Member of the European Commission responsible for External Relations, Speech to the South-Eastern Europe Regional Funding Conference, 29 March 2000, on : 

    11. "Report on the Western Balkans", 24 March 2000. The remaining part of the section draws on the report. However, many of the comments and illustrations are the Rapporteur's own. 

    12. For the US motions, see the similarly worded amendments submitted by Senator John Warner for the Senate on 9 March and Hon. Kasich for the House on 30 March under the Heading "Overseas Contingency Operations Transfer Fund", Congressional Record - Senate, 9 March 2000, S1376; Congressional Record - House, 30 March 2000, Vol. 146, No. 38. 

    13. Madeleine K. Albright, "Our Stake in Kosovo", The New York Times, 28 March 2000. 

    14. European Council of Copenhagen, 21-22 June 1993, "Conclusions of the Presidency", par. 7.A.iii 

    15. "As I see it, we have failed in Bosnia, at the economic level, no doubt because we have paid too much money out. The Bosnian officials concluded that we would do everything for them. They did not even have to concern themselves with rebuilding the economy", Carl Bildt, quoted by Fernando Riccardi in Bulletin Quotidien Europe, No. 7685, 27-28 March 2000, p. 4. 

    16. Report on the Western Balkans, 24 March 2000, Section "The EU Policy Response". 

    17. Presidency Conclusions, European Council, 23-24 March 2000, par. 55, Bulletin Quotidien Europe, No. 7685, 27-28 March 2000, p. 12. 

    18. For the decision to create the CCCM, see Presidency Conclusions, European Council, 23-24 March 2000, par. 45. For (limited) additional information, see the conclusions of the General Affairs Council of 21 March, see Bulletin Quotidien Europe, No. 7681, 22 March 2000. 

    19. This list of items has been consolidated from various statements by Mr Patten: "The EU's evolving Foreign Policy dimension - the CESDP after Helsinki", speech to the Joint meeting of the European Parliament Foreign Affairs Committee and the NATO Parliamentary Assembly, pp. 4-5; speech to the Berlin conference on "The Development of a Common European Security and Defence Policy", 17 December 1999, as reported by Bulletin Quotidien Europe, No. 7618, 18 December 1999, p. 4.; Hearing at the European Parliament on 22 March 2000, as reported by Bulletin Quotidien Europe, No. 7682, 23 March 2000, p.6. 

    20. The Rt Hon Chris Patten, "The EU's evolving Foreign Policy dimension - the CESDP after Helsinki", speech to the Joint meeting of the European Parliament Foreign Affairs Committee and the NATO Parliamentary Assembly, p. 6. 

    (C) 1999 North Atlantic Assembly