Updated: 14-May-2002 NATO Speeches

Meeting of the
15 Dec. 2000


by Ms. Benita Ferrero-Waldner
Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Austria

Dear George,
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 effectiveness.

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.

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