Log ind

The Future of European Defence

It is a pleasure to be in Copenhagen once more, and I am honoured by the  invitation to initiate a discussion on European defence at this distinguished  gathering. I interpret my task, more specifically, as being to consider the  current condition and future prospect of the European Union’s drive to  establish itself as a serious actor in the defence field.

I should make clear at the outset that though I spent most of my working  life as a United Kingdom official in the defence field, including a great deal of  NATO business, I am now quite long retired, I do not speak for the UK  Government, and I do not have any sort of policy brief from them. But I have a  long and particular interest in collective European defence going back to the  early 1970s when I was in effect almost the secretary of the Eurogroup within  NATO – with, as I recall, admirable support from a distinguished Danish  colleague, Ambassador Erling Quaade ‐ and much more recently I undertook a  special study of European defence cooperation at the Woodrow Wilson Center  in Washington. In addition, I still maintain some informal contact with those  who now carry responsibility, in order to help me understand particular issues  as they emerge and develop.  

In opening our discussion I want primarily to look forward. But it may be  helpful to begin with a brief reminder of relevant past history, because this  plays a substantial part in shaping attitudes and possibilities as well as in  illustrating both opportunities and constraints.  

After the Second World War the first major attempt at defence  cooperation among Europeans was the European Defence Community project  of the early 1950s, designed primarily to create a framework for German rearmament without reviving historic fears which were still fresh in memory. It  proposed what was almost a permanent supra‐national army, and that proved  too ambitious politically for the times, especially in London and ‐ even though  at first the initiative had come from the French Government – also in Paris. The  effort did leave behind, among other features, a new security institution,  Western European Union, but for a long time that was of virtually no practical importance in defence terms. (In a long bureaucratic career I attended a good  many meetings of little value, but none of them ranked lower than the  quarterly meetings of the WEU Standing Armaments Committee.) The next  real cooperative effort came at the beginning of the 1970s when the informal  Eurogroup, comprising all the European members of NATO’s integrated  military structure, managed for a short while to generate increased resources  for NATO, mainly because we were all afraid that the Americans might be so  dissatisfied about burden‐sharing within the Alliance that they would go home.  That fear however receded fairly soon, largely for the perverse reason that the  initiation in 1972 of negotiations on conventional arms control in Europe – you  may remember the acronym MBFR (Mutual and Balanced Force Reductions) ‐  meant that no‐one wanted unilaterally to make reductions which they might  later want to exploit in bargaining trade‐off with the Warsaw Pact. After that,  the Eurogroup’s main output became just a range of efforts to get countries to  work slightly better together in unglamorous fields like logistics, training and  medical services.  

The Eurogroup was very careful to operate transparently within the full  NATO structure, as was plainly necessary and wise. That did however carry the  consequence that France stood aside, because of her distinctive Gaullist  political posture, and this imposed in practice a substantial limitation on what  could be achieved. That remained largely true also of Western European Union  when, in the middle 1980s, there was a drive to inject more political energy into  it. The achievement remained modest, and there was always an underlying  tension between the French approach and that of most other countries – in  shorthand, between Gaullism and Atlanticism, between the desire to parade  European independence and the desire to stay close to NATO and the United  States. That tension persists to this day – it is indeed, as I shall illustrate, at the  heart of some of the issues in European defence still not finally resolved.  

A certain amount was done during these Cold War years in collaborative  equipment procurement – perhaps not always very efficiently, since more often  than not we would probably have got better military value for money (if,  politically, Ministries of Defence had still been given the money) simply by  buying from the United States. There were for example an attack aircraft (the  Jaguar) and various helicopter types produced jointly by Britain and France,  there was joint production and support of the Leopard tank, Franco‐German  collaboration on maritime patrol and transport aircraft, and the Tornado strike  aircraft produced by Britain, Germany, Italy and Spain. And there were a  number of more or less integrated multinational forces set up, like the UKNetherlands amphibious force, the LANDJUT army corps in which Denmark  cooperated with Germany, and the Franco‐German brigade which later developed into the larger and wider Eurocorps. In 1987 Western European  Union actually undertook a collective operational task, providing mineclearance vessels to help protect shipping in the Gulf during the Iran‐Iraq war.

At the beginning of the 1990s, as the Cold War plainly came to an end,  there was some attempt – led essentially from Paris – to push back NATO and  create new security space which, so it was hoped, European cooperation would  fill. But this attempt soon lost credibility, for three reasons which remain  relevant today. First, NATO adapted itself rather quickly and successfully to the  new environment. Second, the United States made clear, in unusually robust  political warnings to its allies, that it was not prepared to have NATO used  merely as a rather unwelcome last resort. And thirdly and probably most  important, the hard experience of events like the Gulf War of 1991 and then all  the problems in the Balkans brought home to everyone, not least France  herself, that in matters of military security ideas of doing major things without  the participation, leadership and underpinning of the United States were  utterly unrealistic.

There were some additional achievements in European cooperation during  the early 1990s. Some new multi‐national forces were established, some  further collaboration was undertaken in the equipment field, and an agreement  was reached, at a meeting of Western European Union at the Petersberg near  Bonn in 1992, on a range of types of mission that Europe ought to be capable of  undertaking on its own – “humanitarian and rescue tasks; peacekeeping tasks;  and tasks of combat forces in crisis management, including peace‐making”.  These are what are called the “Petersberg tasks”, still part of the Union’s  working vocabulary today. But the total cooperative achievement still did not  amount to very much; and some governments, notably my own, were made  increasingly uncomfortable by awareness that – to take the most conspicuous  example – Europe could not do much even on its own doorstep about the  deepening outrage of Milosevic’s actions in Kosovo.  

It was partly that awareness that led to an important change in the British  approach. That approach, which several other countries – a majority, indeed ‐  supported, had normally been opposed to letting the European Union get  involved in the defence business; we preferred that that business should be  done in NATO, alongside the United States. At a bilateral meeting in St. Malo  at the end of 1998, however, Mr. Blair agreed with M. Chirac and M. Jospin that  European defence effort needed to be more vigorous, more coherent and  better focused, and that this ought to be done through the Union, in line with  the language – though it had been very general language – of the 1991  Maastricht Treaty about “the long‐term perspective of a common defence  policy”.

This shift by Mr. Blair did not mean that he had suddenly become a  Gaullist, any more than M. Chirac had become an Atlanticist. There is no doubt  that they held significantly different long‐term visions – and they still do today  – about Europe’s role and posture as a defence actor. But in essence they  recognised that there were valuable practical steps about which they could  agree for the near and medium term without prejudice to their eventual  aspirations. For Mr. Blair, in particular, the deal reflected acknowledgement,  firstly, that Europe needed to do better; secondly, that this required enlisting  France as a full player, and accepting some compromises in order to achieve  that (though France had to make compromises too); and thirdly, that the Union  was the only political framework that had much chance of fully engaging and  mobilising the interest and commitment of heads of governments.  

The Franco‐British initiative of St. Malo was adopted by the Union as a  whole at Cologne in mid‐1999 as the European Security and Defence Policy –  ESDP – and later that year, at the Helsinki summit, the Union set unusually  specific goals for the collective military capability that was to be provided by  the end of 2003. The central feature was to be the ability to put into the field  within sixty days, and sustain for at least a year, a force of up to 60,000 troops,  with supporting maritime and air elements, capable of the full range of the  tasks described at the 1992 Petersberg meeting.  

So much by way of basic history. Let me now review where the project has  got to, and consider what issues remain outstanding and what the future may  hold. I shall organise what I have to say under three main headings – military  capability, planning and actual use.  

I put capability first, because the prime point of the whole enterprise is not  to strike political attitudes but to provide more effective military power to help  underpin Europe’s contribution and influence as an international actor. That is  the aim of those Helsinki goals. The picture of achievement so far in meeting  them is a mixed one. The numbers called for have readily been forthcoming,  but that is not surprising. Though maintaining 60,000 troops in the field for at  least a year means in practice having something like three times as many  available to allow for rotation, that is still not a very high proportion of the total  armies of EU members, which add up to well over a million even before the  Union’s imminent enlargement. The bigger task is getting the declared forces  organised, trained and above all equipped for the job; and in those respects  there is still a considerable way to go. There have been valuable improvements  in the four years since Helsinki, but the goals were by no means fully met in  terms of all‐round quality for the complete range of the Petersberg tasks by the  end of last year, as was the original aspiration. Frankly, no informed defence  professional ever supposed that they would be; I recall that distinguished German soldier General Klaus Naumann, whom many of you will remember as  Chairman of the NATO Military Committee, estimating that even if the effort  were sustained full achievement would probably take until about 2010. Though  the Petersberg tasks do not envisage full‐scale war‐fighting, they can still mean  that forces have to be prepared for serious combat, perhaps far away from  their home bases. Against that standard there remain important shortfalls,  notably for example in long‐range heavy airlift and sea‐lift, secure and interoperable communications, surveillance, intelligence‐gathering and capability  for suppressing hostile defences.  

There is a lot of sensible practical work going on in various planning groups  to tackle the main shortfalls, for instance by pooling resources in multi‐national  ways; and plans are being developed for a European Defence Agency to give  fresh coherence and impetus to the business. I am sure all this could be very  constructive. But there are two aspects of the effort about which I am at  present cautious.

The first is about resources. I have no doubt that Europe can and should get  better output from its defence spending by coordinating, pooling,  standardising and sharing, for example in setting up multi‐national logistics or  medical services or air transport or air‐to‐air refuelling fleets. Doing such things  requires long‐term political commitment to partners and trust in their longterm like‐mindedness – that is, trust that they will always want to engage in the  same operations as we want to ‐ but that is not my main point. That main point  is that none of this will remove the need for fresh investment up front, to  finance change and to modernise equipment. We cannot expect major  improvement in capabilities if the real value of defence budgets, and also of the  investment share within them, continues to slide as it has in most years of the  past decade across most of the European Union. And I am under no illusion  about the political difficulty of stopping that slide, let alone reversing it, in  almost all our countries (especially in Germany, which because of its size,  wealth and centrality is inescapably the most crucial case).

The second aspect of my caution centres in some degree on that idea of a  new agency to drive the collective effort. There will be some people – you can  probably guess where I believe they are most likely to be found – who in their  hearts want it to be primarily a mechanism for helping European armaments  industries. It may be significant that, I am told, France wanted the team initially  setting up the Agency to be led by their National Armament Director. In the  event, to my relief, it has been headed by a British official with wide experience  in strategic planning and capability development. I am not against helping our  industries, especially by stimulating them to work better together; but if we let  that become the main driving theme of what we do we shall run a double risk: the risk of a sort of European protectionism becoming yet another point of  friction with the United States, and the risk (of which I have some experience)  of letting domestic political temptations make us spend our scarce defence  money in ways that prop up local firms and employment rather than yielding  the best possible military output.

The present position is that EU Ministers are about to be asked to approve  the plans for the Agency and formally bring it into existence. One of the  interesting aspects still not settled, I understand, is whether the collective work  of National Armaments Directors should be regarded as within the scope and  oversight of the new Agency, as a part of what it deals with, or should remain a  separate affair. It would seem very desirable that it should fall within the ambit  of the Agency and thus be viewed constantly in the wider perspective of  enhancing effective capability.

What I have just said relates mostly to the equipment aspect of capability –  the hardware aspect. But the software dimension can be at least equally  important – compatible organisation, training together, common doctrines and  procedures, joint exercises. The EU Military Staff in Brussels has led some good  work in these fields. That prompts me however to bring out another point  about the ESDP project. It would in the long run be bad for Europe’s influence  and credibility if the effect of ESDP were that countries concentrated their  attention and their defence resources on a small proportion of their forces that  became elite elements dedicated to ESDP, while letting the remainder fall  away to lower standards – I am tempted in some areas to say even lower, less  usable standards ‐ than at present. Countries contributing towards the Helsinki  Goals already differ in that some declare specific and permanently earmarked  units and others simply commit themselves to provide, from within their forces  as a whole, a given amount and type of contribution. There are legitimate  arguments in either direction about that choice, and it largely depends on  particular national circumstances. But however the commitment is made, it is  very desirable for Europe, and essentially helpful to member countries, that  ESDP should become a stimulus to make all our defence forces (including  reservists, I suggest) more modern, more flexible and more inter‐operable.  They do not have to be bigger – it will often make sense actually to reduce their  total size – but we do need to make them all more relevant to the likely tasks of  the future. In Britain, I am sure, that is one of the reasons why our military  leaders have welcomed ESDP as an agenda and stimulus; and I believe that it  could apply at least as strongly in other countries.  

This is perhaps the most convenient point at which to touch on one of the  particular defence issues that has been debated among governments since M.  Giscard’s Constitutional Convention made its report. That is the matter of what is called “structured cooperation”. It may seem a remote and dry bureaucratic  issue, but it could matter considerably in practice.

All EU members are sovereign states, free to cooperate with whomever  they choose, and my historical summary earlier mentioned several examples of  such cooperation in different groupings for military purposes. But in the  context of the Convention and its report the adjective “structured” has a semitechnical significance. It means that the cooperation in question is formally  recognised by the Union and is free to draw upon the collective institutions,  staffs, facilities, procedures and status of the Union. Now any cooperation that  improves the Union’s military capability and effectiveness is in principle to be  welcomed; but the crux of the debate was that some members, including the  United Kingdom, were concerned that structured cooperation – which was  being urged in particular by France and Germany ‐ should not mean that a  limited group of countries became a semi‐permanent inner core, able to decide  for themselves whether to include or exclude others either generally or on  specific issues. It is important that the cooperation should be open and  transparent, and that every member country should continue to have the right,  provided it is relevantly qualified and willing to carry the burdens, to join in the  cooperation on a particular subject or for a particular operation, and not be  kept out by inner‐core members either on some general political ground or  because it does not wish or is not qualified to join the group on some other  matters. There could otherwise be risks of divisiveness, of refusing willing  countries the opportunity to make a contribution – or, conversely, risks of  providing an excuse for those who might be tempted to look for reasons to  avoid effort and responsibility.

Late last year a deal was reached about what structured cooperation in  defence was to mean. I shall come in a moment to the practical idea that was at  the centre of the deal, but I should perhaps note first a point about how the  deal was formulated. The key event was an informal trilateral meeting between  France, Germany and the United Kingdom; and that gave rise to a good deal of  disquiet, especially in countries like Italy and Spain, who were worried that  perhaps some sort of exclusive inner directoire was being set up to lay down the  law to the rest of the Union. The three countries have firmly denied having any  such concept, but I understand the sensitivities, and I am sure that the three  will need to be careful about how they operate. As a matter of practical realism,  however, the best way of getting things moving will sometimes be through  getting these three biggest players – biggest in terms of defence capability, at  least – to agree; and that may be especially so in situations where, as has  happened more than once in the evolution of ESDP, the key disagreement  needing to be resolved is actually among these three.

I noted that the deal made late last year had at its centre a new practical  proposal. That was the idea of setting up, within ESDP, a batch of what were to  be called battle‐groups. This is not in replacement of the Helsinki Goals –  alongside this new concept the Goals are indeed to be re‐stated in an updated  and developed form for the year 2010. Nor is it in competition with the NATO  Rapid Response Force – it could, rather, be a useful complement to that  project. Despite the term “battle‐group”, which may have overtones of  classical war‐fighting, these new entities will still relate to the spectrum of  Petersberg tasks, but they are to be capable of use for tough enforcement  missions at the top end of that spectrum; and, crucially, they are to be available  for rapid deployment. The time bracket currently envisaged, though the detail  is still not finally settled, is between five and thirty days. Typically, the battlegroups would each comprise around 1,500 personnel with a full range of  combat and logistic support, and with capability for movement to and within  the operational theatre. The groups could be contributed by a single nation, or  built around a lead or framework nation, or be fully multi‐national (though I can  foresee some tough problems of coherence in making formations of this small  size truly effective on a multi‐national basis unless perhaps, as I imagine might  be the case in Scandinavia, there is already a close affinity).  

I should stress that I am not suggesting that multi‐nationality is an  undesirable concept. On the contrary, I believe that at the level of participation  in specific operations it needs to be seen as an important advantage, not a fallback to be tolerated only if national capability is insufficient on its own. But we  do need to take a hard‐headed view of how well it is likely to work within small  units for particular functions.  

I am not quite sure how far declarations to fulfil the battle‐group concept  have progressed – though the UK will certainly contribute nationally at least  one group – but the hope is to have a substantial set of groups (perhaps  between seven and nine) available by about the end of next year.

I turn now to the matter of planning. I need to draw a distinction between  two sorts of military planning below the highest and most general level of  strategic planning – that is, below the level of concepts about what sorts of  scenarios and tasks should be envisaged and prepared for. There is force  planning – planning for what forces and equipment are to be provided – and  there is operational planning, concerned with how they are to be deployed and  used in particular situations. The EU has a Military Committee and a Military  Staff rather like the military staff in a Ministry of Defence, and, broadly  speaking, the EU Military Staff at present does strategic and force planning.  (There is, I know, an Operations division within it, but the current task of that is  primarily to provide briefing for the Military Committee and the EU political authorities.) The EUMS, located in central Brussels alongside the Council  Secretariat, is quite small as international staffs go, and there are now  generally good arrangements for coordinating its force‐planning work with  that of NATO to avoid wasteful duplication or conflicting demands upon  nations. Non‐NATO EU members can fit into all this perfectly well; the first  Chairman of the EU Military Committee in fact came from Finland, though he  has just handed over to an Italian successor.  

Operational planning is a different activity, carried out differently, and  normally by different staffs. It has been agreed between NATO and the EU,  under what are called the “Berlin‐plus” agreements for EU access to NATO  assets of various kinds, that the EU should be able to call upon the help of  NATO operational planning staffs at SHAPE, and the Deputy Supreme  Commander there, who is always a European, is recognised as having a double  role: alongside his NATO functions he is also head of EU operational planning.  In addition to this collective capability, some of the larger EU countries have  their own permanent operational planning headquarters which can be  reinforced by staff from other EU countries in order to make them multinational for the conduct of particular EU tasks, and this is a natural option for  smaller operations – just for example, the recent EU operation at Bunia in the  Congo was run from France’s operational headquarters. All this makes good  practical sense.  

There was however a year or so ago a political initiative which made a good  deal less sense. France, Germany, Belgium and Luxembourg held a meeting at  which they decided to advocate setting up at Tervuren, in the outskirts of  Brussels some way away from either NATO or EU Headquarters, a small  separate EU operational planning headquarters. So far as I know no other EU  member, and certainly not the United Kingdom, regarded this idea with  enthusiasm. There was no practical military need for it – the other  arrangements I have just described cover the ground perfectly adequately. It  annoyed the Americans, who regarded it as a deliberate move to deepen  separation from NATO; and though I do not mind displeasing the Americans  when some good practical purpose is served – they did not indeed initially  much like the ESDP concept itself ‐ no such purpose would have been served by  this notion. It was also a vivid example of what critics on both sides of the  Atlantic often claim to believe about the EU in the defence field, that it is better  at setting up institutions and staffs for political demonstration than at  providing front‐line capability. And it was odd, to say the least, that any  European country should imagine that it had high‐quality military staff and  related funds to spare for manning yet another headquarters in addition to  providing for the ones already in existence, and doing so moreover in a place where there were no adequate back‐up staff and facilities on the scale that  would be needed if such a headquarters ever really had to run a substantial or  difficult operation.  

There was a great deal of argument about this in the course of 2003.  Ideally, in my personal view, it would have been best simply to forget the  notion; but politically some compromise was found necessary. Under this  compromise there is to be a small EU operational planning cell at Mons  alongside SHAPE, and some even smaller reinforcement of the EU Military  Staff to give it slightly more capability in reserve for something like an  operations centre if for some reason other options were not thought necessary  or suitable; and there will also be provision for resident SHAPE liaison  representation in Brussels alongside the EU Military Staff.. Though these  arrangements might be mildly helpful for coordinating civil and military  instruments, I remain somewhat sceptical of whether they really add much  value; but they should at least be much less harmful and wasteful than the  original idea, provided – and this is an important proviso – that firm resistance  is maintained against the pressures there will almost certainly be from some  directions gradually to inflate the numbers of staff and find extra tasks to fill  their time.  

I come now to the matter of actually using the ESDP collective capability.  The Union has not attempted to state, beyond the very general words of  the Petersberg tasks, exactly how it would use its capability, for example in  geographical terms; and I have no doubt that this is wise. To attempt to define  this in the abstract might well be divisive and unproductive, given the diverse  backgrounds of the various EU members in terms of history, location and  political tradition about the use of military force. There are indeed already, I  hear, sensitivities about illustrative references to Africa as a likely area of  application, natural though that surely is in practice given the widespread  conditions there and the concern of the United Nations to deal with dangerous  instabilities. It seems to me both desirable and likely that the pattern and  doctrine of ESDP application will be built up pragmatically through a  combination of three factors – what the growing capability of ESDP can do;  how the Union chooses to respond to specific crises as they present  themselves, case by case; and what its actual experience of action turns out to  be.  

We have so far seen two military operations undertaken. (I am not in this  talk attempting to discuss police capability or police operations, though they  are conventionally regarded as an element of ESDP, and the Helsinki Goals did  include a separate police component.) One operation, recently concluded, was  in Macedonia, still within a wider NATO framework, to help provide reassurance of order as the structures of civil governance are strengthened.  The other, under United Nations auspices and not involving any NATO  resources, has been a fairly brief deployment in Bunia, the chief town of the  Ituri province of the Democratic Republic of Congo, to help hold the ring until,  as has now happened, a more direct UN presence could be established. The  Bunia operation was interesting because of its distance from Europe ‐ it  demonstrates that the Union will not necessarily limit its security effort to its  own immediate neighbourhood. Both these operations have gone  satisfactorily, in comparatively benign conditions. There has been discussion of  two further possible operational tasks which might in different ways provide  sharper challenges. One would be to take over from NATO the military security  role in Bosnia, and though there are issues still to be resolved about this – for  example over the command chain in relation to NATO – it seems likely to go  ahead. The other idea (much less fully defined and developed) would be a  contribution to maintaining order in Moldova while a new political settlement  is put in place there under the auspices of the Organisation for Security and  Cooperation in Europe. This latter project could be awkward vis‐à‐vis NATO,  and it looks now a good deal less probable.  

The two actual operations have yielded some useful practical lessons, for  example about procedures and communications, but neither these two nor the  Bosnia prospect have posed any severe test of political attitudes within the  Union; aside from one or two slight early hesitations about Bunia none of them,  so far as I am aware, has generated serious misgivings from any member  country about whether the Union ought to get involved in this sort of way. The  real test may come – indeed, it must sooner or later come if ESDP is ever to  become a truly serious instrument in Europe’s collective acceptance of  international responsibility – when the EU is asked to undertake something  significantly larger, more dangerous and in more complex and precarious  settings. We shall see then whether member countries attach enough  importance to the idea of a common foreign and security policy to be willing to  give political support, and to make practical contributions, to military action  when the circumstances are uncomfortable, or unfamiliar in terms of domestic  tradition and outlook. I am optimistic that members, widely though they differ  in some ways, will increasingly want to act together in sharing wider  responsibilities. But that will depend in large measure both upon external  developments in the global scene, in the Middle East and elsewhere, and upon  whether within the Union itself the follow‐up to last year’s unsuccessful InterGovernmental Conference and other tasks like the management of  enlargement can maintain a sense of positive and successful momentum in the  development of the Union as an international actor in security issues.

I ought perhaps, in my final few minutes before the discussion is opened  up, to stand back from the detail of what I have been saying and offer some  overview of this European defence project. You will find people, including some  politicians in Britain, who criticise the whole idea as a mistake, on the ground  either that the European Union has no need to get into the military business or  else that such business ought all to be done in and through NATO. I believe  both of these views to be greatly misconceived.  

As regards the first, the reality is that if the Union wants to be a substantial  political actor in international security issues beyond its borders – a serious  partner listened to by the United States and respected by others in managing  problems and crises – it cannot continue to lack a proper range of instruments  for influencing events as they are, not as we might like them to be. The Union  has a fine array of the instruments of “soft” power – in some ways a better set  than the United States has, especially if we can make ourselves more efficient  at coordinating them and applying them promptly – but there are problems in  the world that cannot be tackled without a certain amount of harder power,  whether actually used or plainly available in reserve for deterrence or in case  things go wrong. The Union cannot opt out of such problems if it wants to be  the kind of political force it has committed itself to be, from Maastricht in 1991  onwards.

As regards the second criticism, the answer to why we cannot do  everything in NATO lies again in political realities, though of a different sort.  First, doing everything in NATO, with the United States there to lead or for  countries to hide behind, would simply not command the political attention  and commitment of European leaders in the way that the European  framework, where they are in a sense out on their own, can do; perhaps the  NATO route ought to do so, but it will not. Second, doing everything in NATO  would make it more awkward to mobilise the contribution of those EU  members – a significant group, in total – who do not belong to NATO. And  third, doing everything in NATO would mean losing the full commitment of  one of Europe’s major military powers – that is, France. Once more, we may  think that that ought not to be so; but it is so.

That last point however brings me back to something I noted earlier –  divergent long‐term visions about the point of ESDP. There is a group of  countries, led by France, which ultimately wants the central theme to be  Europeans together doing military things better, preferably without NATO and  the United States; and there is another group – rather larger, and including my  own country – which wants the central theme to be Europeans together doing  military things better, preferably with NATO and the United States. The  common ground between these two approaches is Europeans together doing military things better, and there is a large, constructive and demanding agenda  to absorb all our energies on that without having to make controversial longterm choices, so long as we do not meanwhile do things which narrow or  prejudice the eventual possible choices.

I believe that ESDP is a good and valuable enterprise, worth sustained  political effort ‐ and all that goes with that, including budgetary effort. There is  still a great deal of development to be done, and I have not been able to cover  even briefly all the aspects of that; but if it goes well, in both the provision and  the use of capability, Europe and the wider West will benefit. There are two  main dangers, two ways in which the enterprise might fail or do less well than  we need it to. The first is if we do not genuinely provide the capability – if we do  not carry right through the Helsinki goals, if we claim success too soon (which  everyone, especially in the United States, will quickly see through), if we think  that institutions and procedures and declarations will fill military gaps. The  other avenue to failure will be if we let ESDP be developed as a political vehicle  for Gaullist postures – let me be blunt: as a vehicle for anti‐Americanism, open  or implicit. So far, though with occasional difficulty and stress, the enterprise  has been conducted in ways that do not avoidably arouse too much suspicion  and objection from the United States, even though there remain some people  in and around the Bush Administration who do not really much like the idea of  an effective collective Europe at all. But we shall need to remain alert on that  front.

Please allow me one final sentence – forgive me if it is an impertinent one.  The full participation of Denmark in ESDP would, I believe, be good for the  Union, positive for Denmark, and – having regard to Denmark’s customary  stance within the Atlantic Alliance ‐ a useful contribution to fending off both  the two dangers I have just mentioned.