EU — Council conclusions on Military Capability Development

3055th For­eign Affairs (Defence) Coun­cil meet­ing
The Coun­cil adopt­ed the fol­low­ing con­clu­sions:
1. “The Coun­cil stressed the need to turn the finan­cial cri­sis and its impact on nation­al defence bud­gets into an oppor­tu­ni­ty, to give a new impe­tus to Euro­pean mil­i­tary capa­bil­i­ty devel­op­ment in order to meet its lev­el of ambi­tion, to address remain­ing short­falls and to safe­guard the defence capa­bil­i­ties required to sup­port the EU’s Com­mon Secu­ri­ty and Defence Pol­i­cy (CSDP) as well as to achieve nation­al capa­bil­i­ty tar­gets, while avoid­ing unnec­es­sary dupli­ca­tion between Mem­ber States.

2. Build­ing on exist­ing process­es, the Coun­cil high­light­ed in par­tic­u­lar the fol­low­ing solutions:

Coop­er­a­tion as a force multiplier

3. The Coun­cil encour­aged Mem­ber States to exchange infor­ma­tion, as appro­pri­ate, and enhance trans­paren­cy on cur­rent and forth­com­ing defence bud­get cuts, and to exam­ine the impact of these bud­get cuts on capa­bil­i­ty development.

4. With a view to strength­en­ing mil­i­tary capa­bil­i­ties in Europe for sus­tain­ing and enhanc­ing CSDP, the Coun­cil called on Mem­ber States to seize all oppor­tu­ni­ties to coop­er­ate in the area of capa­bil­i­ty devel­op­ment. It par­tic­u­lar­ly stressed the need to devel­op pool­ing and shar­ing options, build­ing on suc­cess­ful mul­ti­lat­er­al exam­ples such as the Euro­pean Air Trans­port Com­mand launched in Sep­tem­ber 2010, and to explore role specialisation. 

5.The Coun­cil wel­comed the input by the Euro­pean Defence Agency (EDA) and the Ger­man- Swedish ini­tia­tive as con­tri­bu­tions to the fol­low-up to the infor­mal meet­ing of Defence Min­is­ters in Ghent (Sep­tem­ber 2010). It encour­aged Mem­ber States to sys­tem­at­i­cal­ly analyse their nation­al mil­i­tary capa­bil­i­ties and sup­port struc­tures, tak­ing into to account cri­te­ria such as oper­a­tional effec­tive­ness, eco­nom­ic effi­cien­cy and sus­tain­abil­i­ty. This would form the basis for Mem­ber States to con­sid­er: mea­sures to increase inter­op­er­abil­i­ty for capa­bil­i­ties to be main­tained on a nation­al lev­el; explor­ing which capa­bil­i­ties offer poten­tial for pool­ing; inten­si­fy­ing coop­er­a­tion regard­ing capa­bil­i­ties, sup­port struc­tures and tasks which could be addressed on the basis of role- and task-sharing.

6. The Coun­cil encour­aged the EDA to inten­si­fy its work to facil­i­tate the iden­ti­fi­ca­tion of areas for pool­ing and shar­ing, includ­ing poten­tial­ly through the estab­lish­ment of a Wise Pen Team, tak­ing into account the diver­si­ty of expe­ri­ences across the Mem­ber States, and to sup­port Mem­ber States in their vol­un­tary efforts to imple­ment pool­ing and shar­ing ini­tia­tives. The Coun­cil under­lined that such a Wise Pen Team would rely on an active engage­ment of the par­tic­i­pat­ing Mem­ber States.

7. The Coun­cil tasked the Polit­i­cal and Secu­ri­ty Com­mit­tee to remain seized of this mat­ter, and agreed to exam­ine progress by mid 2011.

8. In this con­text the Coun­cil also not­ed the exist­ing bilat­er­al and mul­ti­lat­er­al ini­tia­tives and the sig­na­ture of agree­ments between Mem­ber States, such as the recent UK-France Defence Coop­er­a­tion Treaty, which promise to con­tribute to improv­ing Euro­pean defence capa­bil­i­ties. These ini­tia­tives should help cre­ate a dynam­ic for stim­u­lat­ing fur­ther oppor­tu­ni­ties for coop­er­a­tion between the Mem­ber States.

Civ­il-mil­i­tary synergies

9. The Coun­cil under­lined the poten­tial ben­e­fits of devel­op­ing civ­il-mil­i­tary syn­er­gies in capa­bil­i­ty devel­op­ment and the added-val­ue of dual use capa­bil­i­ties. In this regard, it empha­sized the need for fur­ther coop­er­a­tion between the Euro­pean Defence Agency and the Euro­pean Com­mis­sion, notably in research and technology.

10. With a view to avoid­ing unnec­es­sary costs and dupli­ca­tion, the Coun­cil under­lined the need for the Mem­ber States and oth­er rel­e­vant EU actors, to chan­nel as appro­pri­ate mil­i­tary require­ments, stan­dards and oth­er ongo­ing devel­op­ments to those civil­ian bod­ies whose activ­i­ties may have impli­ca­tions for the defence community. 

EU-NATO coop­er­a­tion in capa­bil­i­ty development

11. The Coun­cil reit­er­at­ed the need for con­tin­u­ing to devel­op coop­er­a­tion with NATO regard­ing the devel­op­ment of mil­i­tary capa­bil­i­ties, adher­ing to the prin­ci­ples of inclu­sive­ness and auton­o­my of deci­sion-mak­ing. The Coun­cil wel­comed progress in the areas of Counter- Impro­vised Explo­sive Devices and Med­ical Sup­port, two essen­tial domains for the pro­tec­tion and sus­tain­abil­i­ty of troops. It looked for­ward to the rapid imple­men­ta­tion of the pro­pos­als and stressed the need to con­tin­ue staff-to-staff con­tacts on capa­bil­i­ty devel­op­ment, with a view to iden­ti­fy­ing pos­si­ble addi­tion­al areas of con­crete coop­er­a­tion under the polit­i­cal guid­ance of the PSC, the out­comes of which will be avail­able to all Mem­ber States.

Poten­tial of the Lis­bon Treaty

12. The Coun­cil under­lined the need to take advan­tage of the post-Lis­bon con­text, includ­ing the estab­lish­ment of the Euro­pean Exter­nal Action Ser­vice, as a cat­a­lyst for rein­forc­ing coor­di­na­tion lead­ing to a bet­ter and more coher­ent uti­liza­tion of resources. Pos­si­bil­i­ties for the use of Per­ma­nent Struc­tured Coop­er­a­tion shall be explored in order to enhance defence capa­bil­i­ties with a view to strength­en the EU’s abil­i­ty to respond to crises.

Way ahead

13. The Coun­cil invit­ed the High Rep­re­sen­ta­tive to take for­ward work on these solu­tions, coop­er­at­ing close­ly with Mem­ber States through the Polit­i­cal and Secu­ri­ty Com­mit­tee, the EU Mil­i­tary Com­mit­tee and the EDA, and in con­sul­ta­tion with rel­e­vant stake­hold­ers. The Coun­cil invit­ed the High Rep­re­sen­ta­tive to present a report on the state of play by mid 2011.” 

Coun­cil of the Euro­pean Union 

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