Our meeting today marks another milestone in NATO's transformation and an important turning point in the evolution of our political and practical cooperation with our 27 Partner countries. For today we met for the last time as the North Atlantic Cooperation Council and for the first time in our new Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council.
Over the last six years the North Atlantic Cooperation Council has played a key role in bringing us together and in enabling us to consult and cooperate on a wide range of European security issues. In this forum we have learned to know each other better and to deal collectively with the security issues that affect us all. In addition to our twice yearly NACC Ministerial meetings we have gradually built up a sophisticated network of regular diplomatic and military contacts in which the North Atlantic Council and all of NATO's major subordinate committees today participate. The annual NACC Work Plans have covered a wide range of cooperative topics alongside our activities in the Partnership For Peace. NACC created in 1991, has been an important symbol of NATO's new role in projecting stability to Central and Eastern Europe and in overcoming past divisions.
NATO's approach to security is inclusive and our concept of Partnership has always been dynamic and innovative. The offer of enhanced co-operation will be a key theme of NATO's Summit in Madrid in July which will be a Summit for security for the whole of Europe. In this spirit we have today launched two new initiatives which build on our past success and go an important step further.
La premire initiative est la cration du Conseil de partenariat euro-atlantique, qui a tenu sa premire runion il y a quelques instants. Ce Conseil constituera le cadre de nos consultations politiques et de nos activits de coopration pratique.
Le Conseil se runira aussi sous diffrentes formes : OTAN avec les 27 Partenaires, OTAN avec 1 seul Partenaire, OTAN avec certains groupes de Partenaires en fonction des besoins. Bref, le CPEA sera un instrument trs souple et adaptable permettant de mener des consultations rgulires sur des questions de fond.
Il traitera galement de grandes questions lies la scurit europenne aujourd'hui et des sujets plus spcifiques, comme les plans civils d'urgence et l'tat de prparation aux catastrophes, la coopration en matire d'armement, la sret nuclaire et les questions lies aux oprations de soutien de la paix.
The Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council has not been developed by NATO alone. Our 27 Partners have been participating throughout in the work of the Senior Level Group which has successfully developed this concept. It is a common creation reflecting NATO's determination to bring all of our Partners closer to the Alliance.
Our second decision today has been to endorse a new, enhanced Partnership for Peace as the essential complement at the practical level to the broader, intensified political consultations that we will be holding in the future with our Partners. The enhanced PfP will offer:
The Enhanced PfP will also offer our partners greater scope for regional cooperation activities.
Now that these new initiatives have been launched, our challenge will be to make them work effectively.
In our first meeting of the Euro Atlantic Partnership Council we focussed on regional security cooperation and in particular on Bosnia which is a special concern not least because all Allies and 15 Partner countries are involved in the SFOR mission. We exchanged views on how our cooperation in SFOR can contribute to stabilization in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and how the experience gained in IFOR and SFOR operations has already contributed to the development of enhanced cooperation in the PfP framework. This experience might also be useful in developing cooperation for regional security in a broader context. Ministers also stressed their support of the activities of the OSCE in Bosnia.
Finally, I would like to inform you that this year's recipient of the Manfred Wrner Memorial Fellowship is the Austrian Institute for International Affairs (AIIA), for a project titled "Security in Central and Eastern Europe: Problems - Perceptions - Policies".
In conclusion, I am confident that the new initiatives we have launched today will respond to the current needs of our Partners and take our cooperation to a new qualitative level.
Our decisions today open the way to the Summit in Madrid and to a new NATO which will build even more security for all countries in Europe in the years ahead.