Meeting of the
15 Dec. 2000
by Ms. Benita
Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Austria
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Two weeks ago - in my capacity as Chairperson-in-Office of the OSCE -
I already had the opportunity of addressing the Euro-Atlantic Partnership
Council on ambassadorial level. It was the first time that the OSCE-Chair
spoke to the EAPC. The lively and fruitful debate on this occasion showed
to me the high interest of the Euro-Atlantic community in enhancing co-operation
between these two bodies, for example in the field of conflict prevention.
I took this as a sign of support for the efforts of the Austrian OSCE-Chairmanship.
I am confident that our initiatives to deepen OSCE - NATO/EAPC relations
will lead to a concrete follow-up. The OSCE Troika-Ambassadors in Brussels
shall further elaborate on this issue in the weeks to come.
Austria welcomes the decisions by the European Council in Nice on the
Common European Security and Defence Policy of the EU as another important
step to develop Euro-Atlantic security. It gives me great satisfaction
to realise, that the Common European Security and Defence Policy, which
was inspired in the second half of 1998, when my country held the presidency
of the EU, has developed at such an unprecedented speed.
As was already stated in Helsinki, the EU will "develop an autonomous
capacity to take decisions and, where NATO as a whole is not engaged,
to launch and conduct EU-led military operations in response to international
crises". However, it is crucial that comprehensive crisis management
and security policy be built upon strong co-operation between the EU and
the Euro-Atlantic structures. I therefore sincerely hope that we will
soon make good progress in rendering the inter-institutional mechanisms
operational. Such mechanisms will be essential to ensure that, in the
field of security, Europe will build capacity, not bureaucracy.
In this context, we also think that the EAPC-framework will become even
more important for Austria, against the background of her commitments
within the EU. The implementation of initiatives within the framework
of the Enhanced and More Operational Partnership may require further efforts.
The reports we will endorse and take note of today demonstrate that we
are on the right way. In particular, the expanded and adapted Partnership
for Peace Planning and Review Process will play a decisive and significant
role. As in the past, it will remain an essential sub-programme of PfP.
The PARP is of special relevance in the overall framework of PfP and in
a European context. We welcome current efforts to make use of the PARP
as a model for a force planning system involving non-allied EU-Member
States, which would avoid unnecessary duplication and to improve the interoperability
of our forces vis-a-vis those of Allied Nations making use of NATO's Defence
Planning System. Transparency, certainty of availability and flexibility,
giving non-allied EU Member States access to relevant areas of planning,
will also be of utmost importance, in order to safeguard efficiency and
Against the background of Euro-Atlantic security, Austria has decided
to deepen her own relations with NATO. During the recent visit of the
Secretary General to Vienna, both sides supported the idea of further
developing ties between Austria and the Alliance. Austria thereby demonstrates
its firm commitment to international solidarity and co-operation.