Sixth Franco-German council of ministers statement by the Franco-german defence ans security council.
France and Germany welcome the substantial progress since the last Council in Paris in April 2005 both in bilateral cooperation and in the framework of the European Security and Defence Policy (ESDP) and NATO.
France and Germany note with satisfaction that in the field of security and defence the European Union is today a fully-fledged international player and greatly called upon, taking up increased responsibilities at world level.
Our two countries are making a major contribution to both civilian and military and civil-military European Union crisis-management missions and operations. France and Germany welcome the extension to the duration of the ESDP monitoring mission tasked with monitoring the peace process in the Indonesian province of Aceh which is playing an essential role in re-establishing normal, peaceful living conditions in that region severely hit by the tsunami. We consider our active participation in the ESDP Border Assistance Mission in Rafah and the ESDP police mission tasked with reforming the Palestinian police an essential contribution both to the European Union’s efforts to end Gaza’s isolation and ensure it builds a sound administration, and to the European Union’s more general efforts to further the peace process.
France and Germany are supporting the African Union Mission in Sudan (AUMS) both at bilateral level and in the European Union framework. They express their desire to contribute to the harmonious handover of the African Union’s operation in Darfur to the United Nations, if the African Union so wishes. France and Germany would like the European Union, which has supported the African Union’s action, to seek ways of supporting the United Nations’ efforts to organize the UN operation.
France and Germany support the European Union’s Africa Action Plan and the setting- up, in the ESDP framework, of a European programme to help strengthen African crisis- prevention and crisis-management capabilities in the region.
France and Germany pay tribute to the work of the UN Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUC), which is making a decisive contribution to that country’s stability. Together with our European Union partners, we are supporting the United Nations peacekeeping activities. The European Union support missions for security reform (EUSEC) and reform of the Congolese police (EUPOL) are making a concrete contribution to the transition process in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
France and Germany are keen to see the European Union respond positively to the United Nations’ request to support MONUC during the general and presidential elections in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Provided there is joint responsibility and fulfilment of the known criteria, including, in particular, involvement of the other European Union member States, they would be willing to make a significant contribution to this military operation.
As part of the European Union’s comprehensive political approach to the stabilization and reconstruction of Bosnia-Herzegovina, France and Germany are, with their partners, contributing to stabilizing the country through Operation Althea, using NATO collective assets and capabilities. On 1 December 2006, Germany will take command of EUFOR in Bosnia-Herzegovina. The EU civilian police mission (EUPM) is continuing with a slightly modified mandate, focusing even more in the future on supporting the Bosnian police in the fight against crime.
In Kosovo, together with their European partners, France and Germany are preparing the European Union police mission which will take over from that of the UN. The establishment of this mission reflects the EU’s growing involvement in the stabilization of the Balkans.
By responding to the tsunami disaster in southern Asia, France and Germany signalled their commitment to the European Union being able to react swiftly after the onset of a disaster, drawing on European Union member States’ capabilities and the European Union’s coordination instruments. We are committed to the strengthening of the European Union’s disaster response capacity and, in the field of disaster relief and civil protection [includes disaster and emergency services], to improving coordination, learning from past experience, particularly between the EU’s first and second pillars.
France and Germany will pursue their efforts to enable the European Union to react even more efficiently and swiftly to crisis situations in the world. They are conscious of the fact that this requires mobilization of both financial resources and the necessary capabilities. France and Germany committed themselves to this at the informal European Council at Hampton Court on 27 October 2005.
France and Germany are making a major contribution to the European Union’s Battlegroups Concept developed to provide a rapid response to crises. In 2006 France and Germany are successively providing joint military elements commanded by them alternately. In 2008 the Franco-German Brigade (FGB) will form the nucleus of a battlegroup to which the Eurocorps nations will contribute. The two countries have decided to make other national and multinational battlegroups available to the European Union. France and Germany are also convinced of the need to develop further the European Union’s rapid military response concept including its battlegroups concept so as to integrate within it the necessary air and naval components. They will be submitting concrete proposals on this subject to their European Union partners. The two countries have decided to contribute to the establishment of a naval group (MTG û Maritime Task Group) in order to provide appropriate assistance to the battlegroups in which they will already be participating, starting in the first half of 2007.
By successfully carrying out the joint European Union/NATO initiative to find an interim solution for strategic air transport (SALIS û Strategic Air Lift Interim Solution), the two countries have made an essential contribution to the efforts to achieve full operational capacity for the battlegroups of both the European Union and the NATO Rapid Response Force (NRF).
Setting up the European Defence Agency and getting it up and running have been important steps in the effort to improve the European Union’s crisis-management capabilities, increase the efficacy of the Europeans’ defence efforts and strengthen the European Defence Technological and Industrial Base (DTIB) through closer cooperation between the European partners.
The creation of a European defence equipment market presupposes cooperation based on complementarity between member States and a level playing field for the industry. In this respect, France and Germany are "natural partners" in the future in-depth European consultations and cooperation under the auspices of the European Defence Agency. They are going to harmonize their essential defence technology capabilities with the aim of providing an efficient and competitive European Defence Technological and Industrial Base, based on cross-border complementarities, in order to guarantee equipment tailored to the needs of the armed forces. With their partners’ help, they are also going to endeavour to provide an even more level playing field for European defence industry companies.
France and Germany attach crucial importance to the work on the prospects of developing capabilities in the long term ("Long Term Vision" û LTV), being carried out in the European Defence Agency and the European Union Military Committee. The aim is to develop capabilities in line with future capacity needs and encourage their convergence at European level. France and Germany are expressly supporting the Code of Conduct on Defence Procurement which the Defence Ministers adopted in November 2005 in the European Defence Agency.
In order to make the best use of this essential instrument both at the bilateral cooperation level and in the European Union framework, France and Germany have decided to adapt the relevant armaments bodies of the Franco-German Security and Defence Council to the structures of the European Defence Agency.
France and Germany are convinced that, because of the dynamism it injects into the European States in this area, the development of the European Security and Defence Policy is helping to strengthen the European pillar of the Atlantic Alliance on which depends our collective defence. We consider that the establishment of a small European Union planning cell in SHAPE and liaison arrangements between NATO and the European Union Military Staff are making an essential contribution to the development of the strategic partnership between the European Union and NATO in crisis management.
The European Union and Atlantic Alliance do not only share common values and interests, but also face common threats. France and Germany take the view that a substantive dialogue on security matters of common interest, in the approved framework, will enhance the European Union’s contribution to NATO. Informal meetings, like that of European Union and NATO Foreign Ministers in December 2005 in Brussels, are also a means of reinforcing the transatlantic dialogue on security issues.
France and Germany are very closely cooperating in the Alliance. In Kosovo, Germany will take command of KFOR on 1 September 2006. Given the still difficult regional context and the situation determined by the ongoing negotiations on Kosovo’s status, we urge our allies to maintain their commitment to KFOR.
In Afghanistan, both our countries are making an essential contribution to restoring security in the country and its reconstruction, with France active particularly in the Kabul region and Germany in the North of the country.
By preparing the Franco-German Brigade and the Eurocorps HQ for the NATO Response Force stand-by period in the second half of 2006 (NRF-7), France and Germany took on a special responsibility, since this mission is also to be used to certify the NRF’s full operational capability. Eurocorps will take command of the land component and head the Franco-German Brigade. Looking ahead to Eurocorp’s scheduled stand-by period in NRF-7, a multilateral operational medical services unit is being formed, under French command.
Similarly, France and Germany welcome the decision to organize in late 2007 a joint crisis-management exercise (CME-CMX) involving a European Union operation using NATO’s collective resources and capabilities in line with the Berlin Plus agreement.
France and Germany are convinced that Europe must strengthen its space observation capabilities. To this end, we shall continue the task of building a network formed by our two countries’ satellite reconnaissance systems û the SAR-Lupe system in Germany and Helios II system in France. These two systems are complementary and could serve as a nucleus for a European satellite reconnaissance network. The two countries agreed to pursue this cooperation in the framework of the future systems.
France and Germany are determined to harmonize their approaches to the acquisition of an Alliance Ground Surveillance (AGS) capability and agree to pursue their close dialogue on this issue in order to achieve a consensual solution in the Atlantic Alliance framework.
France and Germany are pursuing the objective of establishing a solid operational European Airlift Command, based on the European Airlift Centre (EAC Eindhoven).
France and Germany are looking at the possibilities of cooperating when the A400M plane is in service, including on training.
France and Germany commit themselves in favour of making the European Union Satellite Centre and the European Union Institute for Security Studies increasingly operational, in the framework of the forthcoming review of the Joint Actions which provided the legal framework of these EU agencies.
Our two countries want to step up training exchanges between officer cadets in the different forces. We are also going to look into setting up more joint training centres, like the existing helicopter training schools. Indeed, following delivery of the first Tiger helicopters, the corresponding training began in April 2005 at the Le Luc Franco-German Tiger helicopter crew training school.
France and Germany are continuing to encourage the emergence of a European security and defence culture. They welcome the holding of the first session of the European College for Security and Defence (ECSD), founded in July 2005, which is ending successfully this week./.