EU foreign ministers have agreed Europe's first constitution will be signed in Rome on 29 October.
Italian PM Silvio Berlusconi had said last week that the document would be signed on 20 November.
The new date would allow the outgoing EC President Romano Prodi to join in the ceremony two days before the end of his mandate, AFP news agency reports.
The treaty will then have to be ratified in each country, either by referendum or a vote in parliament.
The signing will take place in the same room where the original treaties which founded the EU were signed almost 50 years ago - in the Campidoglio Palace.
In 1957, six nations signed the Treaty of Rome. The EU now has 25 members.
After months of wrangling, the constitution was agreed at a hard-fought EU summit in mid-June.
Wednesday, 9 October, 2002, 13:20 GMT 14:20 UK Historic year for Europe BBC News
The EU could become the world's biggest single market
By Chris Morris
BBC Europe correspondent
It has been quite a year for the European Union.
It began with the euro becoming a common currency across 12 member states and much of western Europe.
It should end with invitations being issued to 10 countries to join the 15 current members of the EU. By any standards, 2002 will be a landmark.
Hang on to your hats - there could be some dramatic moments ahead
Because whatever your view - whether you passionately support European integration, whether you believe it is a disaster about to happen, or whether you find it all hopelessly dull - this is a real turning point for Europe. Nothing will be quite the same again.
If enlargement goes ahead on schedule, with the 10 new members joining in 2004, the EU will become the biggest single market in the world with more than 500 million consumers.
The continent will finally - and peacefully - be united, more than a decade after the fall of the Berlin Wall.
For the candidate countries themselves, it has been a long time coming.
They have had to carry out reforms in all walks of life in order to adopt a mammoth 80,000 pages of EU legislation - from taxation to transport policy, from company law to consumer protection.
For the former communist states, in particular, the transformation from heavily-centralised economies to the liberal pro-market system has not been without pain.
There is still plenty to be done.
The European Commission has warned that it expects further progress in judicial reform, for example, and in the fight against corruption and economic crime.
Ireland is to hold a second referendum on enlargement
A monitoring system will be set up to ensure that the would-be new members focus on the task in hand even after membership negotiations have been completed.
The EU itself will also have to rethink fundamentally the way it does business.
That is why it has set up a Convention on the Future of Europe, chaired by the former French President Valery Giscard d'Estaing.
It is trying to work out how the union will function in its enlarged form and what its priorities should be. It also needs to re-engage an apathetic European public.
There will be some form of European constitution and there are also proposals for a high profile EU president to better represent Europe on the world stage.
There is also a fearsome battle going on behind the scenes to decide the balance of power between individual member states and trans-national institutions like the Commission and the European Parliament. The looming deadline of enlargement has been the catalyst for all these debates.
But there are several hurdles to jump before the EU can pat itself on the back at the end of this year.
The final negotiations on the financing of enlargement have not been completed.
Ireland could vote "no" later this month in a second referendum on the treaty which makes enlargement possible.
The prospect of Cyprus joining the EU while it is still divided and disputed between Greeks and Turks makes everyone very nervous.
So hang on to your hats - there could be some dramatic moments ahead.
But this is history in the making, and no-one ever pretended it would be easy.
Jean-Yves Haine assesses the evolution of the European Security and Defence Policy and the military transformation for Europe to become an effective crisis manager
High five: The bulk of the latest EU initiatives in ESDP are focused on the post-stabilisation phase (© NATO)
Europe is once again facing a series of existential questions: how to deepen its integration process without limiting its external action; how to reconcile its process-oriented nature with actual foreign-policy results; how to combine a constitutional debate and the implementation of a more coherent security and defence policy? The EU Constitution's precarious ratification process will in all likelihood propel the European Union into an introspective exercise in which Europe's identity and end-state will be the focus of debate rather than its policies. In short, there is a serious danger that Europe becomes ever more inward looking at the very time that an uncertain and fragile international environment demands it play a more responsible and active role in foreign affairs.
Despite this, the European project provides the fundamental basis of the continent's prosperity, and increasingly, of its security. Moreover, huge progress has been made in the realm of security and defence since the launch of the European Security and Defence Policy (ESDP) in the wake of the 1998 St Malo meeting between French President Jacques Chirac and UK Prime Minister Tony Blair. Ironically, in spite of divisions over Iraq, 2003 was the year in which ESDP moved forward most decisively following agreement of a groundbreaking EU-NATO Declaration on ESDP at the end of 2002. It was also the year that the European Union launched both its first peacekeeping operation and its first police missions in the Balkans, paving the way for the European Union to take responsibility from NATO for peacekeeping in Bosnia and Herzegovina at the end of last year. And it witnessed the European Union's first autonomous military operation, in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
In the field of intelligence and counter-terrorism, new efforts towards integrated actions have been launched. In the area of proliferation, the European Union has adopted a clear framework of actions and pressures to strengthen non-proliferation regimes and initiated an unprecedented, coordinated effort vis-à-vis Iran. Most importantly, an EU Security Strategy was formally endorsed in December 2003. In this historic paper, the European Union laid out a foreign-policy framework based on effective multilateralism and preventive engagement to bring stability and prosperity to its neighbourhood, while recognising the necessity of the use of force in certain circumstances. All of this would have been unthinkable just five years ago. In many ways, ESDP has been one of the European Union's greatest recent successes. Indeed, the European soft-power approach to world politics has been praised on both sides of the Atlantic in several recent publications – including books by T.R. Reid, Jeremy Rifkin and Mark Leonard – as the emerging model for international behaviour in the 21st century.
Yet obvious failures and crucial limits tarnish these very optimistic assessments of European influence and power. Firstly, and most fundamentally, although international security challenges demand collective answers, in practice, as both the war in Afghanistan and responses to the Madrid bombings have demonstrated, terrorist attacks are met with national rather than international responses. In times of crisis, nation states, not international institutions, remain the key actors. Moreover, the divide over Iraq, the ghosts of the project to build an autonomous EU military headquarters in Tervuren, the deep mistrust between some EU members and the game of hijacking institutions to protect national interests continue to cast a shadow over the European Union's entire common foreign policy.
Secondly, where foreign-policy coordination is concerned, larger European countries, more often than not, maintain the illusion of acting alone while smaller countries tend to pass the buck to the European Union without providing the necessary resources to enable it properly to undertake these new responsibilities. The current battle over the diplomatic service of the future EU Foreign Minister is emblematic of the recurrent tension between small and large countries and between the Commission and the Council. Vis-à-vis the rest of the world, the need for a common approach is crucial. Yet most members prefer to develop their own special relationships with Washington and other key capitals, even though this undermines their collective impact because it invites the other side to adopt a "divide and conquer" approach.
Thirdly, following the European Union's recent enlargement, formerly distant theatres like Moldova or the Caucasus have become the immediate neighbourhood. While the European Union demonstrated its crisis-management capacity in the case of Ukraine, with significant contributions from Lithuania and Poland, other areas remain beyond European influence. Indeed, even in the Balkans, where the European Union has been engaged for more than a decade, the quest for a long-term solution in Kosovo requires the kind of special effort that Europe is currently unable or unwilling to undertake.
Lastly, the European Union is often long on declaratory principles, but short on action. Worse still, even when member states agree a common approach, they are frequently unable to achieve concrete results, as diplomatic failure in Cyprus, ongoing chaos in the Congo, inaction in Darfur and passivity in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict have shown.
These limitations are also reflected in the European Union's strategic posture. By opposing regime change, the European Union emphasises the pre-eminence of stability over democratisation. By rejecting pre-emption – Germany had the wording of the draft Security Strategy changed to remove this – the European Union looks to diplomacy and preventive engagement to resolve international crises. By stressing effective multilateralism, the European Union relies more on international institutions than on its own capacity for action. In short, Europe, by and large, remains a status quo-oriented power, prompt to emphasise international law and ethics. Commission President José Manuel Barroso said recently: "We [Europeans] are in many ways a superpower. We are a moral power." Maybe, but it is a morality proclaimed by decree, rather than a conviction demonstrated by action.
The real failure of this ill-named, post-modern Europe, however, relates to its incapacity to reform its defence structure. ESDP capabilities continue to lag. The original objective of up to 60,000 troops deployable within 60 days, set at the 1999 Helsinki meeting of the European Council, has not been met. To be fair, a significant number of European troops are deployed all over the world on national, EU, NATO and UN missions. The point, however, was to place at the European Union's disposal a reserve of forces, not simply to add another demand on national forces. Several problems have plagued the Helsinki Headline Goal. First, it was merely a quantitative target set on the basis of the international experience in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and therefore, ill-suited to today's new strategic imperatives. Second, it consisted solely of a catalogue of forces, only a tiny percentage of which were actually rapidly deployable. Third, if deficiencies were identified, there were no real incentives to remedy them. Efforts on capabilities had to shift from the quantitative to the qualitative. Several initiatives have recently taken this necessity into account.
First, the establishment of a European Defence Agency to "support the member states in their effort to improve European defence capabilities in the field of crisis management" was finally agreed last year. The Agency is to promote equipment collaboration, research and technology projects and procurement. All this should bring invaluable synergies and economies of scale to European defence spending. In particular, the Agency should be able to coordinate efforts to fill gaps identified by the European Capabilities Action Plan (ECAP). In order to have a real impact, however, the Agency must be properly funded.
Second, the principle of permanent structured cooperation for defence is now formally recognised in the EU Constitution. The criteria governing this cooperation are stringent, at least on paper. Among other things, member states must have an adequate level of defence expenditure , take concrete measures to enhance the availability, interoperability, flexibility and deployability of their armed forces , and commit resources to address shortfalls identified by the ECAP mechanism. The real novelty lies in the encouragement to coordinate the identification of military needs, to specialise national defence and to pool capabilities. Given the weakness of defence budgets and the chronic under-investment in research and technology, collective procurement and multinational forces are obvious solutions. If implemented, permanent structured cooperation could offer a precious framework in which to change the dynamics of European defence.
Lastly, the European Union endorsed the Battle Group concept last November. This initiative is a direct result of the experience of Operation Artemis in the Democratic Republic of Congo in 2003. The Battle-Group concept is based on a "quick-in, quick-out" capability to restore order, especially in Africa, which would be carried out "explicitly but not exclusively" under a UN Security Council mandate. In the second stage, African or other peacekeepers would be expected to take over.
This strategy of providing a quick fix and then devolving longer-term responsibility for peace-building to others is, however, difficult to put into practice. It is not obvious why Battle Groups would be the adequate force package for such operations. Entry force will not be that quick, especially given the European Union's strategic-lift shortfalls. Exit may be delayed by many months, and the African Union is unlikely to be able to come up with sufficient peacekeepers afterwards. Today in Congo, the UN mission has about 16,000 members, making it the largest of the organisation's peacekeeping operations. Moreover, the political consensus in Europe for the continent to play a greater role in Africa is limited as revealed all too clearly by the indifference towards events in Darfur. Despite this, Battle Groups of 1,500 troops, including support and service-support elements, represent a more flexible force package capable of higher-intensity operations. Deployable within five days, they will be fully manned, equipped and trained, and have adequate strategic-lift assets. Member states have committed to deliver 13 such Battle Groups by 2007, nine of which will be multinational, including a contingent from non-EU Norway. This new target of nearly 20,000 men – a third of the headline goal – appears more achievable, but its real efficiency will depend on the transformation of European forces.
European force transformation only started very recently and in the usual uncoordinated manner. The term itself is notoriously vague. Indeed, this is the case even in the United States where embracing the revolution in military affairs has both produced positive results and revealed serious shortcomings. The strengths and weaknesses of US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld's plan to build light, highly mobile and technologically advanced US Armed Forces have been evident in Afghanistan and Iraq. In both instances, the war-fighting capabilities deployed were impressive, but the post-conflict stabilisation forces were crucially lacking. The assumption that transformation would help reduce the overall size of the armed forces that was one of the driving factors behind the process has turned out to be wrong and led to a reassessment of the US transformation project.
Transformation is about spending better and more efficiently, but it requires greater expenditure in the short term
In Europe, US difficulties were quickly seized upon to cast doubt on the need for transformation and to emphasise the actual requirements of peacekeeping. The bulk of the latest EU initiatives in ESDP, including new civilian commitments and the gendarmerie initiative, are focused on the post-stabilisation phase. Yet if one looks at the missions where European peacekeepers are currently deployed, most of them were made possible by the use of hard power. There would have been no peace to keep in the Balkans without NATO intervention.
In Europe, transformation means essentially two things. The first is the end of conscription and the strategic culture of territorial defence. In the wake of the failure to act decisively in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the need for expeditionary forces has been recognised, yet military structures in Europe have not undergone sufficient change. Conscription remains in place in many countries; heavy infantry units are still far too numerous; obsolete equipment is over-abundant; and strategic lift is still lacking. Putting this right demands political will and strategic clarity. For now, however, in a majority of European countries, both are lacking.
The second aspect of transformation is the actual process by which modern war-fighting techniques are introduced into European forces. At present, in any hostile environment, the risk of casualties and the range of acceptable collateral damage remain too high. EU members must speed the modernisation of their capabilities to be able to fight according to criteria demanded by modern democracies. Even if the current focus of possible EU military actions lies in the post-conflict phase or in preventive deployment in failing states, the lack of adequate capabilities severely restricts the room for manoeuvre in the event of any degeneration. Effective C4ISR capabilities, i.e. command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance, are an absolute must in such an event. Currently in Europe, only a handful of countries, notably France and the United Kingdom, have started to introduce network-enabled capabilities in their arsenal. The chief obstacle in this effort is not the availability of European technology, but the level of the defence budget. Transformation is about spending better and more efficiently, but it requires greater expenditure in the short term. This is, nevertheless, in the longer-term interest of European force structures, since they currently suffer from a surplus of redundant capabilities. Yet any increase in defence budget is a political non-starter in most countries.
Defence spending consequences
There are several consequences of this state of affairs. First, medium-sized European countries will probably have to specialise if they want to modernise their forces. This, in turn, must be decided in a coherent manner in a top-down framework rather than the classic bottom-up approach embodied in the ECAP. Yet this is a step that European countries are still reluctant to take. Second, cooperation with NATO remains crucial. Since Europe is likely to focus on network-enabled operations rather than the full spectrum of network-centric warfare, it becomes critical for Europe to be able to plug in to US interoperable C41SR capabilities. If not, the ability to work with Washington will be lost. In that respect, the NATO Response Force and the EU-NATO Working Capability Group are key components of transatlantic cooperation. Lastly, because Europeans have only one pool of forces, efforts in both the ESDP and the NATO frameworks, the Battle Groups and NATO Response Force respectively, must be congruent.
In practice, this is the case. There are, however, two caveats. The first is political. Since the NATO Response Force is essentially made of European troops, Europeans are understandably keen to have a large say in deciding on how it is used. NATO cannot become the cleaning lady for military operations decided only by Washington. But the conditions surrounding decision-making have changed radically in recent years, Since NATO has moved beyond the Euro-Atlantic area, agreement about the basic structure of world order, in particular the use of force, is a necessary precondition for effective Alliance decision-making. Given the increased significance of global issues on the transatlantic relationship, there is an urgent need to assess the extent of the common ground and the nature of differences in a greater number of areas than was once the case. As the question of lifting the arms embargo on China demonstrates, Europe and the United States cannot agree on everything, everywhere, because the factors involved are no longer limited to a specific problem like the Soviet threat. While it is unrealistic to expect complete agreement, it is also unrealistic to refuse common action because of one disagreement on a specific issue. The latter cannot become an obstacle for the former. In this framework, consensus is far more difficult to achieve. Moreover, it is especially demanding since both the Battle Groups and the NATO Response Force are supposed to be deployable at 5 to 30 days' notice. Current efforts for rapid deployment may be jeopardised by still inadequate and protracted decision-making processes.
The second difficulty is more operational. One of the desired results of transformation is both an increase in the size of headquarters and a reduction in the size of the forces on the ground. The new NATO structure with an Allied Command for Operations at Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE) in Mons, Belgium, and an Allied Command for Transformation in Norfolk, Virginia, in the United States, means in effect that SHAPE is at the nexus of both NATO and EU operational planning. If the row over an autonomous EU military headquarters has been settled for now, the long-term question remains: should the large European countries rely indefinitely on the Berlin-Plus framework even after agreeing a broadened framework for ESDP operations and increasingly transforming their military capacity? Conversely, for autonomous EU operations: should small and medium-sized European countries rely on national, that is French, German or UK headquarters, to carry out these missions? Since Europe has only one pool of forces, the more Europe transforms its capabilities, the sooner the question of an EU headquarters will resurface.
Europe has developed a comprehensive approach to security, from police missions to crisis management. Deepening the integration through the ratification process might once again distract the European Union from its geopolitical responsibilities. Fulfilling the less demanding aspects of peacekeeping operations, like the current mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina, must not be allowed to slow the necessary transformation of European forces. On both grounds, the credibility of the European Union as a strategic actor is at stake.
Jean-Yves Haine is European Security Fellow at the International Institute for Strategic Studies in London. His most recent book, “Les Etats-Unis ont-ils besoin d’alliés ?”, (Payot, 2004) received the France-Amérique Prize 2004.
Europeans prefer Russia as EU member over Turkey
30.11.2005 - 17:44 CET | By Mark Beunderman
BRUSSELS - European citizens would rather see Ukraine and Russia enter the EU than Turkey, a French poll suggests - but less than half of Ukrainians themselves back EU membership.
A survey conducted by French polling firm TNS Sofres for the Ukrainian Yalta European Strategy network, a lobby group promoting Kiev's accession to the EU, was published on Wednesday (30 November).
Around 1,000 people in each of the EU´s six largest countries - Germany, France, Italy, Poland, Spain and the UK - were asked the following question:
"Imagine that the following countries were to apply to join the European Union and met all the conditions for accession. Personally, would you be for or against each of these countries joining?"
The question was asked with regard to Turkey, which opened EU accession talks in October, as well as Ukraine, Russia and Morocco, all of which cannot expect membership talks in the near future, Brussels has signalled.
But non-candidate states Ukraine and Russia appear to enjoy more popularity among Europeans than Turkey.
Kiev and Moscow got a "yes" from 51 and 45 percent of respondents respectively, as opposed to just 40 percent backing Turkish membership.
A majority of 46 percent said they are against Turkey joining the EU, compared to 41 percent opposing Russian accession and 34 percent rejecting Ukraine's EU bid.
In the case of Morocco, 31 percent of Europeans would say "yes" while 51 would say "no".
Enlargement blues The French researchers found that, compared to a similar survey conducted last March, "there is a strong tendency towards decreasing support for enlargement in all of the six countries, irrespective of who the candidate to accession might be."
The finding is in line with recent statements by European enlargement commissioner Olli Rehn, who observed the emergence of "enlargement blues", particularly in France and Germany.
In the TNS poll, the French and the Germans were the biggest opponents of any of the countries - Turkey, Ukraine, Russia or Morocco - joining the EU.
The Poles were most supportive of further EU enlargement, with 64 percent of respondents backing Ukraine's EU ambitions.
But even the Poles seem to be suffering from enlargement blues, given the fact that this figure was much higher (77 percent) in March.
Minority of Ukrainians want EU accession Despite the fact that Ukraine is the favourite candidate in each of the six EU countries, support for membership of the EU in Ukraine itself is less than 50 percent, TNS reported.
Analysing this figure, the French researchers noted that many Ukrainians said 'don't know' or 'no answer' when asked whether they want to see their country in the EU.
Olga Shumlya, an expert at Kiev's International Centre for Political Studies (ICPS), also highlighted the widespread ignorance about the EU among Ukrainians, stating:
"The problem is that people really don't know what the EU is: a promise of peace and prosperity. If you ask, the same person may want to join the EU and have a union with Russia at the same time, not knowing that this is impossible."
Majority of Austrians in favour of EU army
20.02.2004 - 09:58 CET | By Honor Mahony
A large majority of Austrians are in favour of a common European army, a poll has found.
The survey, presented on Thursday (19 February) by the Austrian society for European Politics, found that 75% of those asked would like such an army.
Of these, 42% would be in favour of just having a European army to replace all national armies.
Austria, along with Finland, Sweden and Ireland, is one of the neutral member states of the European Union.
The survey asked around 1000 Austrians by telephone.
Bush welcomes new Nato members
Mr Bush said the new members bring "moral clarity" to Nato
US President George W Bush has welcomed seven former communist eastern European countries as new members of Nato, during a ceremony in Washington.
He said Bulgaria, Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia joined as "full and equal partners".
It is the biggest expansion in the history of Nato, created in 1949 to defend western Europe against the Soviet Union.
A second ceremony will be held at Nato's HQ in Brussels on Friday.
With the admission of the seven new countries, Nato now has 26 members.
Mr Bush welcomed to the White House the prime ministers of all seven new members as well as Nato Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer.
US calms Russia's 'Nato fears'
"As witness to some of the great crimes of the last century, our new members bring moral clarity to the purposes of our alliance," he said.
"They understand our cause in Afghanistan and in Iraq... because tyranny for them is still a fresh memory."
"And so now as members of Nato they are stepping forward to secure the lives and freedoms of others," he added.
Earlier, US Secretary of State Colin Powell presided over a formal ceremony at the State Department.
He said the new members would form the vanguard of Nato's determination to support the "yearning for freedom" of people around the world.
Romania and Bulgaria have been two of the most enthusiastic pending Nato members, with the majority of the population in both countries supporting admittance to the alliance.
Nato plans to expand operations in countries such as Afghanistan
In Bulgaria, there will be a national holiday on Friday when the Brussels ceremony takes place.
Albania, Croatia and Macedonia are also seeking to join the alliance and Mr Bush will also meet the prime ministers of those states on Monday.
Since the end of the Cold War, Nato's frontiers have moved steadily eastwards; first taking in Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic, now extending to Romania and Bulgaria's Black Sea coast and - with the three Baltic republics - northwards almost to Finland.
The Baltic republics - Lithuania, Estonia and Latvia - used to be part of the Soviet Union and Russia has expressed irritation over their inclusion, fearing threats to its security and US interference in the region.
Nato has agreed to include the Baltic states under its air defence shield and is enforcing it by stationing four F-16 fighter planes in Lithuania.
New US bases
BBC central Europe correspondent Nick Thorpe says that despite its resistance to the inclusion of the Baltic states, Russia has done little more than grumble and its complaining has not caused significant debate.
BBC defence correspondent Jonathan Marcus says that alliance membership is a rite of passage, providing the new member countries with a confirmation of their own transformation into democratic, market-oriented states.
Nato itself is changing, taking on new missions in Afghanistan and possibly in Iraq and is looking towards its southern flank with North Africa amidst growing concerns about terrorism, he adds.
And Washington is already eyeing the territory of some of the new Nato members as potential locations for military bases from which to project US power into the greater Middle East, our correspondent adds.
Tuesday, 5 December, 2000, 15:54 GMT
How the EU was built
The decision to establish a European Parliament came n 1975
The Nice summit is expected to be a pivotal meeting in the history of the EU, setting the future course and character of the European community and prepare it for expansion. BBC News Online looks back at some of the key moments in the history of the union.
1946 Winston Churchill calls for a "kind of United States of Europe" in a speech given at the Zurich University. Was it all Winston Churchill's idea? The European Federalists Union is established in Paris.
1948 The International Co-ordination of Movements for the Unification of Europe Committee, meets in the Hague. It is chaired by Winston Churchill and attended by 800 delegates. The meeting recommends the creation of a European Deliberative Assembly and a European Special Council, in charge of preparing political and economic integration of European countries. It also proposes the adoption of a Human Rights Charter and a Court of Justice.
1951 A meeting to consider the creation of a European Community of Defence is held in Paris. Belgium, France, Italy, Luxembourg and Germany attend the meeting alongside six observer countries - the United States, Canada, Denmark, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom.
1955 General Charles de Gaulle said "non" to UK membership of the EC The Council of Europe adopts as it emblem the blue flag with 12 golden stars on it.
1957 The treaties establishing the European Economic Community (EEC) and the European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom) are signed by Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands in Rome - from then on referred to as the "Treaty of Rome". The treaty became the foundation stone of the modern-day European Community.
1962 The Council of Europe adopts the first directive. It establishes the EEC global foodstuff regulation by defining which colourants can be added to food.
1963 French President General Charles de Gaulle doubts the political will of the United Kingdom to join the community - giving rise to his famous "non" to British membership of the EEC.
1966 The EEC enters the third and last phase of the transition to the Common Market. This included the replacement of the unanimity vote by the majority system for most of the decisions of the Council of Europe.
1967 The United Kingdom re-applies to join the Community, followed by Ireland, and Denmark. General de Gaulle is still reluctant to accept British accession.
1970 The EU's darkest hour: Commission headed by Jacques Santer forced to resign in 1999 Member states approve the Davignon Report on political co-operation. The objective is to get Europe to speak with a single voice on all major international problems.
1972 Denmark, Ireland, and the United Kingdom sign the treaties of accession to the European Communities.
1975 At a meeting of the European Council in Rome, ministers decide to establish a European Parliament elected by universal suffrage.
1986 The Single European Act, modifying the Treaty of Rome and extending majority voting, is signed.
1988 The community ratifies the Vienna Convention for the protection of the environment.
1991 The venue of the Nice summit
The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development is inaugurated in London. A European Council Summit is held in Maastricht. It reaches an agreement on the draft treaty on the European monetary union. Then British PM John Major negotiates a British opt-out. "Europe Agreements" signed with Poland, Hungary and Czechoslovakia.
1997 The European Council meets in Amsterdam and reaches a consensus on a draft treaty for a new phase of economic and monetary union and adopts a resolution on growth and employment.
The single currency, the euro, was launched on 1 January. Eleven member states adopted the new currency but three countries - Denmark, Sweden, and the UK - decided to defer a decision. The new currency has not been a resounding success - in its first year its value fell by about 30% in relation to other leading currencies.
The union was thrown into turmoil. After a scathing report suggesting corruption and mismanagement in the European Commission, all 20 commissioners were forced to step down.
1 Jan. 2002: Launch of the Euro notes and coins in 12 of the 15 EU member states forming the Eurozone.
2004: Ten new member states join the EU bringing its enlarged membership to 25 nations. The next enlargement is planned for 2007 when Romania and Bulgaria join. Further enlargements planned for the Balkans, Turkey and possible the Ukraine. (Russia to join the EU eventually?)
Friday, 13 December, 2002, 23:27 GMT
EU gets its military fist
The EU force could replace S-For as early as next year
Nato has approved a deal on military partnership with the European Union, paving the way for a European rapid reaction force. We are now able to conduct operations where Nato does not want to get involved
UK Prime Minister Tony Blair
Nato said the EU would now have access to Nato military planning facilities with immediate effect.
The accord - which had been held up for two years by Turkish opposition and the row with the EU over Turkey's accession talks - was forged at an EU summit in Copenhagen.
The EU now plans to set up the 60,000-strong force for peacekeeping operation in Macedonia and Bosnia, which could be operational as early as next year.
Correspondents say that the EU needs its own military capability if its foreign policy is to become more effective.
The Nato Secretary General, George Robertson, hailed the deal as a vital breakthrough in relations between Nato and the EU.
EU aims to be able to deploy its troops within 60 days
"Today Nato and the European Union have taken a major step forward in putting into effect the strategic partnership between the two organisations," he said in a statement.
While EU foreign policy envoy Javier Solana said he now looked forward to relations on a "different footing" between the two organisations.
British Prime Minister Tony Blair said the agreement was reached after "very difficult" negotiations.
"We are now able to conduct operations where Nato does not want to get involved. It is complementary to Nato," Mr Blair said.
The long-awaited deal was agreed in principle in October, but was held up by a row between Turkey and Greece over control of Nato's military assets.
Turkey - a member of Nato but not the EU - has balked at the prospect of the EU having access to Nato assets when they then might be used against Turkish interests.
But on Friday, Turkey said it worries had been resolved.
In a concession to Ankara, the EU leaders agreed that Cyprus - which is due to join the EU in 2004 - would not take part in any EU military operation that uses Nato assets.
The delay forced the EU to acknowledge last month that it would miss a 15 December deadline to take over from about 700 Nato peacekeepers in Macedonia - planned as the EU's first military operation.
In November, Nato agreed to extend its mandate in the Balkan state, but said it would greatly scale it down.
In a draft text of the conclusions of the Copenhagen summit, the EU said it could take over the operations in Macedonia "as soon as possible in consultation with Nato".
The EU also asked Mr Solana to start talks with the UN envoy in Bosnia, Paddy Ashdown, on the EU succeeding the Nato-led S-For troops.
Mr Robertson said that while details of the deal had to be worked out, there was a determination to complete the task by March next year.
Last Updated: Tuesday, 13 May, 2003, 10:26 GMT 11:26 UK
Nato salutes ties with Russia
Warm words from Robertson at Nato-Russia session
Nato and Russia need each other "more than ever", Nato Secretary-General General George Robertson has told a meeting of the Russia-Nato Council in Moscow.
The meeting marks the first anniversary of the creation of the body which Russia hopes will consolidate its ties with the Atlantic Alliance.
Lord Robertson noted that during its first year the council had achieved "important practical results" as well as making "important political commitments", in particular in Afghanistan.
Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov noted that holding the Russia-Nato Council meeting in Moscow was "a new proof of our determination to face threats together".
The objective should be to "achieve a security architecture of the Euro-Atlantic type", he said.
However, he stressed the Russian view that the United Nations should have the central role in ensuring world security.
The council was set up to give Moscow a voice in decisions by Nato, which is set to expand to include seven ex-communist states next year.
But Russia remains staunchly opposed to Nato's eastward expansion plans.
A Russian foreign ministry spokesman, quoted by the Interfax news agency, said the organisation's enlargement was "not the road on which the problem of security in the Euro-Atlantic can be resolved".
The Nato-Russia Council was created in May 2002 in Rome, and has previously always met at ambassador level in Brussels.
The current talks are expected to pave the way for a meeting of foreign ministers in Madrid next month.
Lord Robertson said on arrival in Moscow that the meeting would also give the council an opportunity to exchange views on current security issues, including the situation in Afghanistan and Bosnia, where Russia participates in the peacekeeping operation.
Last Updated: Saturday, 1 May, 2004, 13:00 GMT 14:00 UK
Leaders hail new EU
Street parties have been held across the new EU
Leaders from the EU's 10 new member states have been marking their countries' entry into the European Union with speeches and televised addresses.
Here is a selection of what they and other European leaders have been saying.
European Commission President Romano Prodi:
Welcome to the new Europe. Five decades after our great project of European integration began, the divisions of the Cold War are gone once and for all and we live in a united Europe.
Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern, President of the European Council:
To the people of Europe who are joining us today in the European Union I extend the hand of friendship. It was your democratic choice and your own efforts that made this day happen. Today marks the triumph of your determination and perseverance over the legacy of history. For Europe, today marks the closure of one chapter and the opening of another new and exciting chapter in its long history.
Former Polish president and Solidarity trade union leader Lech Walesa:
I fought for our country to recover everything it lost under communism and the Soviets... and now my struggle is over. My ship has come to port.
Polish President Aleksander Kwasniewski:
We have passed the test of being Europeans.
Slovenian President Janez Drnovsek:
Dreams from 1991 are becoming reality. We will build good relations between nations and people. We will strive towards mutual respect and equality of every individual, sex, race and national or any other minority.
Lithuanian President Arturas Paulauskas:
History will rectify its greatest mistake tonight: Lithuania, the geographical centre of Europe, is returning to Europe. Today, we are saying to the old continent: Hello Europe, we are coming. We are coming to live together, to work together, to create together, yet to remain ourselves.
Hungarian Prime Minister Peter Medgyessy:
We used to be the gate to Europe and will continue to be so, but there is a crucial difference; we are now inside the gate.
Slovak President Rudolf Schuster:
We should take care to see all our citizens boarding the (EU) train - not to turn it into a privilege for only the richest. This is one of the reasons why the responsible politicians in our country should choose for our train into the future a speed which will take into account that not all of us are equally strong and fast. Let us, therefore, wish each other a happy journey towards our better and more beautiful future.
Czech President Vaclav Klaus:
As from midnight today the Czech Republic will no longer exist as an independent state entity and it will become a part of the EU... Today we are gaining something, but also at the same time losing something.
Estonian Prime Minister Juhan Parts:
We are returning to where we belong, to a community that shares the same values and visions.
Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos:
We don't want to celebrate the joys and fortunes of EU accession on our own, we want to share it with the Turkish Cypriots. As legal citizens of the Cyprus Republic they have every right to this joy and prosperity. We wait for them. Their place is with us.
Latvian President Vaira Vike-Freiberga:
We have passed all the tests, we have met all the requirements, we have achieved what many, including ourselves, did not believe we would be able to attain.
Malta's Archbishop Joseph Mercieca:
Malta in Europe should not consider only material benefits, it should also take into account its Christian roots of our country and Europe. Through its words and deeds it should assist so that the community of people in the EU understand and feel the need of God and religion.
French Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin:
I have tears in my eyes about this subject. I am part of a generation that believes in Europe. Europe is the force that prevents hate from being eternal. We must open our hearts to this new Europe.
German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder:
Enlargement will not make us poorer, but richer in the future.
Former German Chancellor Helmut Kohl:
We never want to wage war again against each other. We want to honour the dead and tend to the graves but we never again want to have soldiers' tombs in Europe. That is the most important reason for a united Europe.
Swedish Foreign Minister Laila Freivalds:
There was a time when Europe's countries negotiated with each other by sending tanks. The enlargement we see today is fantastic. The Cold War's division of Europe into east and west is melting away once and for all.
ZENIT - The World Seen From Rome
On "Strengthening the United Nations System"
Archbishop Migliore Addresses U.N. General Assembly
NEW YORK, OCT. 6, 2004 (Zenit.org).- Here is the address delivered Monday to the U.N. General Assembly by Archbishop Celestino Migliore, permanent observer of the Holy See to the United Nations, during the Joint Debate on "Revitalization of the Work of the General Assembly" and "Strengthening of the United Nations System."
* * *
The Holy See looks at the process of strengthening the United Nations with hope, great interest and willingness to submit its contribution. It is a complex but much needed endeavor, which involves three different objects: structures, means and ends.
During these last months, both public opinion and member states have rightly focused on the structure of the bodies of the United Nations. Implicit in such a discussion there was always a question about how the organization's structure and functioning are adequate to the Charter's goals and on what means we can count to implement them. It is precisely this meaning that we attach to the ongoing discussion on "effective multilateralism": the capacity to fulfill the tasks set out in the Charter, some of which have been highlighted in the MDGs.
Characterized by its universal membership, this organization must be adapted to equally universal goals. We know from experience that the shape of political life and the influence exercised by public authority are not always up to the task of promoting the common good. Today the universal common good is confronted with problems of worldwide dimensions; problems, therefore, which can be solved only by an authority possessed with power, organization and means co-extensive with these problems and whose sphere of activity is worldwide. Thus, the bodies of the international community should be shaped so that they are capable of realizing the common good by ways and means adequate to the changing historical conditions.
Till now, the debate has laid emphasis on a wealth of reasons, motivations and valuable reflections about the institutional engineering of the United Nations. In this respect, perhaps the main point we wish to restate is that structures must reflect functions. As for the reform of the bodies, my delegation would like to suggest some terms of reference.
First of all, we should keep in mind that the United Nations is a community of states that shares fundamental values, well outlined in the Millennium Declaration: freedom, equality, solidarity, tolerance, respect for nature and shared responsibility.
Strengthening the United Nations system implies the acknowledgment that this is a system founded on cooperation rather than on competition among states and actively nourished by constructive will, trust, keeping of commitments and collaboration among equal and reciprocally responsible partners. Making these founding principles irreversible is a primary task.
In the process of reforming and adapting this institution it is important to identify guiding principles, as well as objective, just and fair criteria, acceptable to all member states, that will in turn pave the way towards a constructive reflection on the composition of the different bodies.
The bottom line is the recognition of the principle that all states are by nature equal in dignity. We know very well in this institution that even though nations may differ widely in material progress and military strength, they are all conscious of their juridical equality. It is true, however, that the nations that have attained a superior degree of scientific, cultural and economic development have the responsibility to make a greater contribution to the common cause.
On a more practical note, the essential criteria that should be taken into account for reshaping the structures and revisiting the procedures of this organization are as follows: for the structures: representation and inclusiveness; for the procedures: impartiality, efficiency and efficacy; for the outcomes: accountability and responsiveness.
The legitimacy of the decisions taken in the United Nations, including the Security Council, ultimately derives, as for any political body, from two pillars: degree and scope of representation, and process of decision-making. Decision-making will therefore tend, in general, towards a greater consensus of opinions in the deliberations.
It is clear that, for practical reasons, not all the bodies of the United Nations can be arranged on the model of the General Assembly. This does not mean however that the set of principles and criteria just mentioned are not applicable to the Security Council, quite the opposite. In restructuring this body, one might consider that its composition should reflect, as far as possible, a representation of the world population, of geopolitical regions, of various levels of economic development and of different civilizations.
This list may not be complete, but it includes criteria that are essential in order to improve the credibility and efficacy of a reformed Security Council. Finally, it is important to consider the actual capacity and political will to contribute substantially to reach the goals that constitute a priority for the overall majority of the member states.
At the same time, as the panel on United Nations-Civil Society Relations recommended in its report to the secretary-general, the United Nations needs to become a more outward-looking organization capable of listening more carefully to the needs and demands of the global community.
In this context we are reminded of the recommendation of the same panel to "connect the global with the local." This criterion can be read as a modern version of the well-known notion of subsidiarity, which is another landmark for the process of reform. In fact, most problems in today's world, because of their gravity, breadth and urgency, are often simply too difficult for the rulers of individual states to solve with any degree of success.
At the same time, we must make it clear that the United Nations' essential purpose is to create world conditions in which the public authorities of each nation, its citizens and intermediate groups, can carry out their tasks, fulfill their duties and claim their rights with greater security.
It is our hope that some of these ideas may help to ensure that the reform of this institution will not only help to realize our common goals, but that it will invest the United Nations with the necessary authority, in terms of credibility and moral legitimacy, to act for the good of the global community. That is surely the primary reason for the United Nations' existence.
Thank you, Mr. President.
Last Updated: Friday, 16 June 2006, 16:24 GMT 17:24 UK
Leaders chart future for Europe
The leaders said there were no new criteria for further enlargement
EU leaders have set 2008 as a target for making changes to the EU rule book, which are needed for further expansion. A constitution setting out a series of such reforms was rejected by France and Holland last year, and the EU is split over whether it can be revived.
Germany will suggest ways of continuing the reform process next year, with the "necessary steps" being taken in 2008.
The leaders also proposed a list of practical policies designed to show the EU makes a difference to voters' lives.
In other decisions, the 25 leaders:
agreed to televise meetings of EU ministers
said they would honour commitments made to countries that want to join the EU
asked the European Commission to draw up a report on the EU's ability to absorb new members
urged Bulgaria and Romania to carry out crucial reforms that will enable them to join the EU on time in January
said Slovenia can introduce the euro in January
backed a plan for donors to release emergency aid to the Palestinians, bypassing the Hamas-led government
On the question of enlargement, the summit debated how much weight to give to the EU's capacity to "absorb" new members, amid signs that public opinion in some Western European countries is cool towards further expansion.
It (Turkish membership) will be a very difficult task
Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso
Analysis: Not a dull summit Slovenia gets green light
Austrian Chancellor Wolfgang Schuessel said the leaders had dropped the idea of making "absorption capacity" an additional criterion for further enlargement.
The leaders asked the European Commission to produce a report this year to define exactly what absorption capacity is.
The President of the European Commission, Jose Manuel Barroso, told the BBC on Thursday that all democracies had to take account of public opinion.
He added that it was possible for Turkey to join the EU, but it would be very difficult.
"First of all (it will be) very demanding for them but also demanding for us here to be ready to accommodate such an important big country that is seen by so many of us as culturally different from, let's say, mainstream Europe," he said.
On the constitution, EU members are split between those who would like to bury it and those who would like to revive it, in one form or another.
I think what citizens want out of Europe is to concentrate on the bread and butter key issues
UK Prime Minister Tony Blair Some countries, including the UK and Poland, opposed the idea of setting a timetable for institutional reforms.
But UK Prime Minister Tony Blair said there was an obvious need to look at how Europe can operate more effectively when it is expanding "so greatly".
He said the timetable for expansion gave the EU "effectively another couple of years" to do this.
The leaders' decision to approve a list of practical policies, aimed at regaining voters' trust after the failure of the constitution, stems partly from a UK initiative launched at a summit in Hampton Court last year.
"I think what citizens want out of Europe is to concentrate on the bread and butter key issues - about the economy, about illegal immigration, about security - that really worry them," Mr Blair said.
If the EU was seen to be delivering real change for the better, he added, voters would be more likely to say Yes when asked to approve to institutional reforms.
Annan asks US and EU to act on global security
14.02.2005 - 09:56 CET | By Lucia Kubosova
The United Nations Secretary General, Kofi Annan, has called on the US and the EU to do more for the world's long-term collective security.
Speaking at a security conference in Munich on Sunday (13 February), the UN chief praised co-operation between American and European allies in post-war Iraq, but suggested that they should "do something more this year: to think ahead, and to help plant the seeds of long term collective security".
The request was related to Mr Annan's own blueprint for "the most far-reaching reform of the international security system since the establishment of the United Nations in 1945".
The changes should match a transformed security environment in the world and make the UN more capable in tackling new global threats. Mr Annan suggested that given the cross-border and instant character of the current dangers, the participating states should realise their mutual vulnerability.
"So, in this era of interdependence, let us banish from our minds the thought that some threats affect only some of us. We all share a responsibility for each other's security, and we must work together to build a safer world. Indeed, in strengthening the security of others, we protect the security of our own".
New UN strategy against terrorism
The UN chief proposed action in strengthening world collective defences – mainly in relation to nuclear proliferation, where the plan is to introduce tougher inspection rules and other concrete steps on disarmament.
He is also set to present a new UN strategy against terrorism, including a proposal to set up a trust fund for member states to meet their anti-terrorism obligations and a new globally accepted definition of terrorism.
Mr Annan is planning to introduce the strategy in March in Madrid, a year after the deadly terrorist attacks in the city.
The UN reforms will also include proposals for new collective tools to "win peace" in post-conflict areas and improve the body’s capability of peacekeeping.
A serious situation in Sudan was singled out as on the highest alert for the international community.
"Those organizations with real capacity – and NATO as well as the EU are well represented in this room – must give serious consideration to what – in practical terms – they can do to help end this tragedy", said Mr Annan.
The annual security conference in Munich was dominated by the relationship between the United States and Europe, with a focus upon future links between NATO and the EU's developing security capability.
Speaker: Annan, Kofi A.
Funktion: Secretary General, United Nations, New York
Nation/Organisation: United Nations
2005 Munich Conference on Security Policy
A More Secure World: The Future Role of the United Nations
Thank you very much, Professor Teltschik, for inviting me to address this famous conference, which has long been a leading forum for discussion of international security. I am greatly honoured to be the first Secretary-General of the United Nations to do so.
Excellencies and dear friends,
Anyone who looks at the global security situation today can see that we face many daunting challenges. But we can also see hopeful signs in humanity's endless quest for peace.
Old foes have agreed to share power in Sudan. The Israelis and Palestinians have committed themselves to a ceasefire. The Afghan people are in charge of their destiny. And the Iraqi people, with heads bloodied but unbowed, have begun the long march in that direction too.
A stable and democratic Iraq, at peace with itself and its neighbours, is vital - for Iraqis, for the region, for the entire international community. The United Nations must play its full part in helping to achieve that goal. We are proud of the role the United Nations played in helping the Iraqis conduct the recent election. And we are determined to help them in the important next steps in the transition.
The key to success in Iraq is inclusiveness. The United Nations is already engaged in efforts to reach out to those groups - mainly Sunni Arabs - who stayed away from the elections, for whatever reason, but are willing to pursue their goals through peaceful means.
We will also, if the Iraqis ask us, provide them with all the technical assistance we can - in preparing the constitution, in organizing October's referendum to approve it, and in holding the subsequent parliamentary elections. Meanwhile, 23 UN agencies, fund and programs are working today to coordinate international aid and help rebuild the country.
I am greatly heartened by the efforts of long-time allies to come together to nurture the fragile shoots of peace in Iraq. I have come here today to call on Europe and America to do something more this year: to think ahead, and to help plant the seeds of long term global collective security.
Next month, I will be placing before the Member States of the United Nations a blueprint for the most far-reaching reform of the international security system since the establishment of the United Nations in 1945. My report will draw heavily on the recommendations of the 16 eminent men and women who served on the High-Level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change. One of the most eminent members of the Panel is here with us today and it gives me great pleasure, once again to salute and thank my good friend Brent Scowcroft.
Their message is simple: our global security environment has been transformed, and our global collective security system, including the United Nations, must be transformed too.
We all know that today's threats can cross borders in an instant, and can appear, sometimes literally, from a clear blue sky. But what is less understood is just how mutually vulnerable we are:
If New York or London or Paris or Berlin were hit by a nuclear terrorist attack, it might not only kill hundreds of thousands in an instant. It could also devastate the global economy, thereby plunging millions into poverty in developing countries.
If a new deadly disease broke out in one country, international air travelers could quickly and unwittingly spread it to every corner of the earth.
If a country is engulfed in civil war, it can destabilize whole regions, radicalize populations, become a haven for terrorism and organized crime, and hasten the spread of disease.
And if perpetrators of mass atrocities are allowed to get away with their crimes, it only emboldens others to do the same.
So, in this era of interdependence, let us banish from our minds the thought that some threats affect only some of us. We all share a responsibility for each other's security, and we must work together to build a safer world. Indeed, in strengthening the security of others, we protect the security of our own.
I believe we must act, in four areas, to give effect to this vision.
First, we must strengthen our collective defences, to give us the best chance of preventing latent threats from becoming imminent, and imminent threats from becoming actual.
Take the threat of nuclear proliferation. For decades, the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty has helped prevent a cascade of nuclear proliferation. But unless new steps are taken now, we might face such a cascade very soon. The High-Level Panel has made many forward-looking recommendations, including:
Tougher inspection rules;
Incentives for States to forgo domestic uranium enrichment;
A fissile material cut-off treaty;
A tighter timeline for the Global Threat Reduction Initiative;
Broader participation in the Proliferation Security Initiative;
Closer cooperation between the IAEA and the Security Council;
And concrete steps on disarmament.
Member States must summon the will to act to strengthen the non-proliferation regime.
In the fight against terrorism, the United Nations must put its convening power, normative strength and global reach to good use. Next month in Madrid, I intend to outline an anti-terrorism strategy for the United Nations. The Panel recommends the creation of a trust fund to help Member States meet binding anti-terrorism obligations imposed by the Security Council, and greater UN assistance to help them do so.
The United Nations must show zero tolerance of terrorism, of any kind, for any reason. The Panel was able to reach consensus on a definition of terrorism - something that has eluded Member States until now. States should now use that definition to finalize and adopt a comprehensive anti-terrorism convention, making clear that any targeting of civilians or non-combatants is totally unacceptable.
Our world must also take bio-security much more seriously. As the Panel report shows, it would be comparatively easy for terrorists to cause mass death by using agents such as anthrax or weaponized smallpox. We saw with SARS how quickly a new infectious disease can spread. Let's not wait until something has gone terribly wrong to act collectively to meet this threat. I encourage the Security Council to begin work now, in consultation with the World Health Organization, to strengthen global public health defences.
Second, when prevention fails, and peaceful means have been exhausted, we may have to consider the use of force.
The decision to use force is never easy. It is among the gravest decision anyone can ever be called upon to make. The Panel has proposed an approach to help all States, and the Security Council, to think through such decisions, and their consequences, and to reach consensus.
The Panel sees no need to amend Article 51 of the United Nations Charter. Article 51 preserves the right of all States to act in self-defence against armed attack. Most lawyers recognize that this includes the right to take pre-emptive action against an imminent threat.
However, as the Panel points out, in today's world we may also face threats that are not imminent, but which could become actual with little or no warning, and might culminate in nightmare scenarios if left unaddressed. The Security Council is fully empowered by the Charter to deal with such threats. It must stand ready to do so.
We must also remember that State sovereignty carries responsibilities as well as rights - including the responsibility to protect citizens from genocide or other mass atrocities. When States fail to meet their responsibilities, the Security Council must be prepared to assume them - including, if necessary, by authorizing the use of force to save innocent life. I therefore welcome the report's emphasis on the responsibility to protect. I believe Member States should embrace this carefully formulated principle - and that the Security Council should act on it.
Third, we must equip ourselves with the collective tools we need to succeed in building lasting peace in war-torn lands - a task in which the United Nations and regional organizations are engaged today in a wide range of countries. Our success in winning the peace is decidedly mixed. Half of the civil wars that appear to have been resolved by peace agreements tragically slide back into conflict within five years.
To help the international community succeed in this vital work, the Panel recommends the creation of a new intergovernmental organ in the United Nations: a Peacebuilding Commission. The Commission would give Member States, international financial institutions regional organizations, donor countries, troop contributors and the country being helped a forum for consensus and action: to agree on strategy, provide policy guidance, mobilize resources, and coordinate the efforts of all involved.
The United Nations also needs more operational capacity to respond to State failure Today, we have more than 75,000 personnel deployed in 18 peace operations on four continents, and a 19th operation in Sudan is in the pipeline.
Our resources ate stretched to the limit. Indeed, for the foreseeable future, the global demand will outstrip the capacity of the United Nations to respond -- particularly when only one in five of our uniformed personnel comes from developed countries.
To help redress this situation, the Panel report calls for:
Developed countries to move faster to transform existing force capacities into contingents suitable for peace operations; The strengthening of the UN's strategic deployment stockpiles, standing arrangements, trust funds, and civilian police capacity; And closer cooperation between the United Nations and regional organizations, to divide labour and reinforce each other's work. These are not dry or academic issues. Look at the situation in Sudan today. Millions have been killed over many years in north-south violence. The United Nations under very challenging conditions, is going to deploy a peacekeeping operation in the south in support of the recent peace agreement.
And in Darfur, a United Nations Commission of Inquiry found last month that the civilian population has been brutalized by war crimes, which may well amount to crimes against humanity. The Security Council is now considering how to ensure that those responsible are held to account for their crimes. And I salute the African Union for taking the lead in deploying peacekeepers in Darfur.
But even with the help so far given by the UN, the EU, the US and other donors, the AU's capacity to meet the requirements in the area of security is dwarfed by the size of the challenge. People are dying, every single day, while we fail to protect them.
Additional measures are IONS UNIES urgently required. Those organizations with real capacity -and NATO as well as the EU are well represented in this room - must give serious consideration to what, in practical terms, they can do to help end this tragedy. Together, working in close cooperation, we must come up with an effective strategy that halts the killing and protects the vulnerable. Otherwise, we shall have failed the people of Darfur. I am ready to play my full part in working out such a strategy.
So when I speak of our responsibility to protect -- and when I say we must be able to deploy robustly and quickly, and that we need an integrated approach to crisis management and long-term peacebuilding ~ remember this: our current collective shortcomings are measured in lives lost.
Of course, it would have been far better if the chronic problems of governance that have long plagued Sudan had been addressed earlier. So let me stress a fourth and final point about collective security: our eventual goal must be a world of peaceful and capable States, able to exercise their sovereignty responsibly, and to deal with internal stresses before they erupt in conflict, harming their own citizens and threatening others.
We cannot build a safer world unless we take democratization, development and human rights seriously. The United Nations advances these causes every day. For example, UN reports draw attention to human rights concerns in many countries. We have helped to foster a long overdue debate on the state of human development in the Arab world. And our efforts to halve global poverty by 2015 are based on the need for good governance in developing-countries, matched with concrete assistance from developed countries.
More and more donor countries are now making concrete plans to meet the development promises made at key international conferences. In 2005, all rich countries should follow suit. A recent landmark UN study shows that, with the right mix of policy and resources, development can succeed. So as we support democracy and good governance, let us boost aid, provide debt relief, and promote free and fair trade. These efforts reinforce each other, and are the best investments we can make in our collective security.
In just over a month, Member States will have before them my agenda for renewal and reform. And in just seven months, world leaders will be called upon to make some momentous decisions.
If Member States act now, we will still have plenty of problems. But we will have a more efficient, more effective, and more equitable collective security system, a more serious plan to promote development, and a better United Nations.
And if you keep in mind the people who are losing their lives today in Sudan and elsewhere, that would be a precious gift to humanity.
Thank you very much.
Australian, Dutch forces to join under NATO umbrella
By Brendan Nicholson
April 3, 2006
AUSTRALIAN and Dutch troops could be involved in more joint operations under the NATO umbrella similar to that which begins in Afghanistan in July.
A 200-strong Australian provincial reconstruction team will be integrated into a Dutch force of about 1400 soldiers.
The Dutch will be responsible for protecting a reconstruction team of their own and the Australians, a reversal for the Australian troops of the role they play in southern Iraq where they protect 600 Japanese engineers.
Netherlands Prime Minister Jan Pieter Balkenende, who flew into Melbourne from Europe early yesterday, told The Age the operation would be a dangerous one but the Dutch troops were very professional and experienced from similar operations in Afghanistan, the Balkans and elsewhere and he was confident they would provide comprehensive protection for the reconstruction team in the southern province of Oruzgan.
In recent weeks security analysts have raised concerns about rising insurgent activity in Afghanistan with a fourfold increase in suicide attacks in the past year.
Dr Balkenende said countries such as Australia and the Netherlands had a responsibility to help bring peace to Afghanistan. "It is important that the people there get international support."
Dr Balkenende said the Dutch soldiers had a lot of respect for their Australian counterparts.
"We're very glad they'll be working together," he said.
"More and more we can see that countries are working together. That's why it is important that there is a good relationship between Australia and NATO to give an example."
While the Netherlands pulled its troops out of Iraq a year ago, the decision to send them to Afghanistan won the support of 80 per cent of MPs in the national Parliament.
The Netherlands has several hundred personnel in Afghanistan including special forces.
Australia has 190 special forces troops there and recently sent another 110 personnel with two Chinook helicopters.
Dr Elsina Wainwright, of the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, warned last month that the NATO expansion into southern and later eastern Afghanistan was necessary but would be dangerous for those involved, including the Australian troops.
Dr Balkenende's visit marks the 400th anniversary of the arrival in Australia of the Dutch East India vessel Duyfken, which was the first European vessel known to have landed in Australia.
By Daniel Dombey in London
April 2, 2006
Nato plans to strengthen its strategic and military ties with Australia, New Zealand, Finland and Sweden – a move that could give it a role far outside its traditional geographical influence.
The initiative, led by Washington and supported by Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, Nato secretary-general, would help reinforce the US-led alliance's political and military credentials at a time they have come under scrutiny.
The US would like to see regular Nato “forums” with other countries such as Australia, New Zealand and, later, Japan and South Korea. However, this plan has run into opposition from France, which sees the move as a gambit to bring in countries more likely to see strategic issues from Washington's point of view.
Last week, ambassadors from Nato’s member states discussed a US proposal to create a “global partnership” to rationalise Nato’s current web of partnerships and pave the way for “advanced partnerships” with Nordic, Asian and Australasian countries.
“We want one big box, so that countries can go at their own pace and not be the victims of their geography,” said a senior Nato diplomat, who also identified the possibility of an “advanced partnership” for developed democratic countries that helped with Nato missions.
We want to give those countries that are putting blood and treasure on the line with Nato a greater say at the table.”
Stronger ties with countries with established democracies and accomplished militaries could help Nato generate the troops it needs for difficult missions such as Afghanistan.
Nato’s James Appathurai said: “It makes sense to consider making this community stronger. We need as many countries as possible that share our values and have effective forces on the same team to face all the challenges we are seeing in places such as Afghanistan.”
The plans are set to be discussed at a Nato foreign ministers meeting in Sofia this month and at a summit in Riga in November, which Washington hopes will endorse the idea of a more flexible “global partnership” for countries that co-operate with Nato. But the idea of a special status for participating Asian and Australasian countries may have to wait until 2008.
The alliance already operates a Partnership for Peace programme with 20 countries, including several from the former Soviet bloc, and has formal ties to seven Mediterranean countries and six Gulf states.
But, while some partner nations such as Sweden and Finland provide troops for Nato's Afghanistan force, others such as Belarus and Uzbekistan have much frostier relations with the alliance.
By contrast, New Zealand and Australia, neither of which has formal partnerships with Nato, have sent troops to Nato operations and are present in Afghanistan, either as part of Nato forces or under the US coalition banner. Some Nato officials hope that Japan can also be persuaded to send troops to Afghanistan when it redeploys forces from Iraq.
By Daniel Dombey,Diplomatic Correspondent
April 3, 2006
Nato is planning to strengthen its strategic and military ties with Australia, New Zealand, Finland and Sweden in a move that could give it a role far outside its traditional geographical influence.
The initiative, led by Washington and supported by Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, Nato secretary-general, would help reinforce the US-led alliance's political and military credentials at a time when these have come under scrutiny.
The US would like to see regular Nato "forums" with other countries such as Australia, New Zealand and, later, Japan and South Korea.
However, this plan has run into opposition from France, which considers the move as a gambit to bring in countries more likely to see strategic issues from Washington's point of view.
Ambassadors from Nato's member states discussed last week a proposal from Washington to create a "global partnership" to rationalise Nato's current web of links and pave the way for "advanced partnerships" with Nordic, Asian and Australasian countries.
"We want one big box, so that countries can go at their own pace and not be the victims of their geography," said a senior Nato diplomat, who also identified the possibility of an "advanced partnership" for developed democratic countries that contributed to Nato missions. "We want to give those countries that are putting blood and treasure on the line with Nato a greater say at the table."
Stronger ties with countries with established democracies and accomplished militaries could help Nato generate the troops it needs for difficult missions, such as in Afghanistan.
"It makes sense to consider making this community stronger," said James Appathurai, Nato spokesman.
The plans are set to be discussed at a Nato foreign ministers' meeting in Sofia this month and at a summit in Riga in November.
The alliance already operates a Partnership for Peace programme with 20 countries including several from the former Soviet bloc, and also has formal ties to seven Mediterranean countries and six Gulf states.
But while some partner countries such as Sweden and Finland provide troops for Nato's Afghanistan force, others, such as Belarus and Uzbekistan, have much frostier relations. By contrast, New Zealand and Australia, neither of which have formal partnerships with Nato, have sent troops to Nato operations and are present in Afghanistan.
Friday, 29 October, 2004
The treaty was signed where the old Treaty of Rome was signed
European Union leaders have signed the new EU Constitution in a lavish ceremony held in Rome.
Heads of state and government took it in turn to sign the text in the same room where the Treaty of Rome was signed to establish the EU in 1957.
The ceremony came amid a row about the views of prospective Italian EU commissioner Rocco Buttiglione.
Incoming Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso has withdrawn his entire team and is now considering changes.
"We need more time so I can go back to some of the prime ministers, so that I can get better choices... I'm sure I can get a better team," he told reporters in Rome on Friday.
Outgoing President Romano Prodi revealed after the ceremony that Mr Barroso plans to re-nominate a team of commissioners in time for a meeting on 17 November, the Reuters news agency reported.
"We are trying. There are some things to sort out," Mr Prodi was reported as saying.
Support for Barroso
EU leaders voiced their backing for Mr Barroso "to form a Commission that can count on widespread support," Dutch Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende said. His country currently holds the EU presidency.
The EU Constitution
A devout Catholic, Mr Buttiglione has been scorned by MEPs opposed to his conservative views on homosexuality and the role of women in society.
The EU leaders at the ceremony were joined by the leaders of Romania, Bulgaria, Turkey and Croatia - the four countries moving towards EU accession.
The signing ceremony was held in the Renaissance splendour of the Campidoglio, the city hall inspired by Michelangelo in the centre of the capital's historic district.
'More democratic union'
Europe's leaders put on a united front, even though disunity over the European Commission line-up still threatens to plunge Europe into institutional chaos, the BBC's Tamsin Smith reports.
EU countries holding referendums:
Signing the new treaty
UK referendum in 'early 2006'
And the celebration of a treaty designed to bring Europe closer to the people took place behind a formidable police cordon, she says.
Up to 7,000 police and security forces were on Rome's streets to protect EU leaders, while a squadron of F-16 fighters enforced a no-fly zone over the city centre.
Mr Barroso said in a speech before the signing that the EU constitution would give birth to a "more democratic union", and urged the 25 member-states to ratify it without delay.
"I hope that tomorrow the national parliaments and European citizens will take responsibilities and approve this constitution, opening the way to a new union."
"More than ever, we now need perseverance, an unfailing will and total confidence in the future in order to overcome the challenges faced by the European Union."
Mr Barroso held informal talks with EU leaders during the event, to seek support for his planned changes to the commission.
The signing ceremony was a triumph for attention to detail, Tamsin Smith reports.
Classic sculptures and Renaissance paintings were complemented by 30,000 Dutch flowers - a dazzling display of reds and yellows.
As dreamy music played in the background each leader and foreign minister stepped up in alphabetical country order to sign a giant tome. They shook hands with each other, with a beaming Mr Berlusconi, and then progressed along a line of dignitaries.
Each leader was then presented with a special platinum pen to keep after signing the treaty.
Despite the signing of the constitution, member nations still have to ratify the document individually before it comes into effect - either by referendum or parliamentary vote.
A number of countries, including France and the UK, will hold public votes, with the first vote expected to take place in Spain in February.
On Friday, UK Foreign Secretary Jack Straw said a referendum on the EU constitution in the UK would take place "early in 2006" if the ruling Labour Party won a third term in office.
There is intense scepticism in the UK, while the outcome of the French vote is by no means certain, says the BBC's Tim Franks in Rome.
The constitution intends to make the union function more smoothly.
But plans for an EU president overseeing the co-operation between member states, and a change in the voting system, have caused divisions in EU states.
The new treaty also sees a big expansion in the number of policy areas where countries will lose their national veto, and includes the creation of a foreign minister's post.
EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS – Russia does not rule out NATO membership at some point in the future, but for the moment it prefers to keep co-operation on a practical, limited level, Moscow's envoy to NATO Dmitry Rogozin told EUobserver.
"There is no such necessity at this moment, but we cannot rule out this opportunity in the future," Mr Rogozin said in a phone interview on Tuesday (31 March), one day after Polish foreign minister Radoslaw Sikorski said Russia should join the military alliance, if it meets the membership criteria.
"Great powers don't join coalitions, they create coalitions. Russia considers itself a great power."
"We need Russia for the resolution of European and global problems. That is why I think it would be good for Russia to join NATO," Mr Sikorski had said at an acacdemic symposium in Poland, as quoted by Polish daily Gazeta Wyborcza.
The same view was echoed on Wednesday at a civil society event in Brussels called the "Shadow NATO summit," aimed at feeding the debate around the future of the military alliance.
"The problem is not that NATO extended to Russia's borders, but that it stopped there," said Gareth Evans, President of the International Crisis Group, a Brussels-based advocacy group. "NATO should welcome Russia in its inner ring, provided it complies with the human rights criteria," he added, while admitting that this was not a short-term option, especially after the Georgian war.
However, Mr Evans stressed that allies should at least start to "conceptualise" Russia's potential NATO membership.
On the other hand, a British academic with the Loughborough University, stressed that such an option "had to be looked at soberly," pointing at Russia's membership of two other international organisations - the Council of Europe and the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) - where Moscow was hampering deployment of election monitors in Russia itself and in its neighbouring countries.
Russia's NATO membership has never been seen as a serious option, while Moscow maintains that it sees the alliance as a threat. NATO came about in 1949 as a US-led military alliance guaranteeing the security of the then Western European allies from any potential attacks by the Soviet Union.
Once the USSR collapsed, eastern European countries requested NATO membership and underwent major military, police and rule of law reforms before joining the alliance. Russia has fiercely opposed NATO enlargement to its neighbourhood, which it still considers under its sphere of influence.
"We don't consider it necessary to make any concessions in terms of our sovereignty and we are capable of solving all the threats in an independent way. What we are ready for is to create some temporary coalitions, but at the moment we are not happy about many things happening in NATO," Mr Rogozin said, adding that this was a reason why membership was out of the question at this point.
"Great powers don't join coalitions, they create coalitions. Russia considers itself a great power," the Russian ambassador stressed.
He said Russia wanted to be NATO's "partner," provided the alliance took into account Moscow's "interest" - a catchphrase alluding to NATO enlargement to its neighbouring Ukraine and Georgia, which it fiercely opposes.
Mr Rogozin strongly criticised NATO's solidarity with Georgia during and after Russia's invasion of its territory following Tbilisi's attack on South Ossetia.
"We are extremely frustrated and astonished by NATO's actions in August-September last year, when our soldiers were killed and instead of support, we only saw the hypocrisy of their policy. NATO turned out to be the only organisation that sided fully with the aggressor," he said.
"For the moment, we don't see any real change in the organisation, we only see the organisation getting ready for the wars of past Europe," Mr Rogozin concluded.
NATO's new concept to involve Russia
NATO leaders on Saturday are set to give a green light to the drafting of a new security concept, as the alliance celebrates 60 years of existence. Its current strategic concept dates back to 1999 and does not include new threats such as terrorism, cyberattacks or energy security.
NATO's relationship with Russia, now resumed after the Georgian war, is set to be developed in concrete areas of co-operation, a senior US official told journalists in Brussels on Monday, ahead of the NATO summit.
The new administration in Washington has pledged to "hit the reset button" with Russia, as it needs to cooperate with Moscow in order to achieve progress in difficult dossiers such as Afghanistan and Iran.
Mr Rogozin said the NATO-Russia council (NRC) was so far "a body where scholastic discussions were held."
The same view was shared on Monday by the US official. "The problem with the NRC so far was that it didn't focus on content. There was a lot of structure, but no content. We want now to structure cooperation more practically, in areas where you can achieve results, instead of insisting on things that won't happen," the US official said.
The Russian envoy said that in order for the NRC to work properly, NATO had to "take part in the discussion not from a bloc approach, but in our national capacities, not in the form of 26+1 but in the form of 27 members of the NATO-Russia council."
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