Updated: 05-Dec-2003 NATO Speeches


4 Dec. 2003

Questions and answers

at the press conference
by NATO Secretary General, Lord Robertson
and Franco Frattini, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Italy, EU Presidency
following the NATO-EU Meeting at the level of Foreign Ministers

Q: Une question pour M. Frattini.

Franco Frattini: Oui.

Q: Il y a quelques jours à propos de cette cellule de planification européenne, le message que nous avions reçu de différentes sources, c'est que l'Italie comptait avec la Grèce se joindre à cette initiative de la Grande-Bretagne, de la France, et de l'Italie. Est-ce que vous pouvez nous confirmer et au-delà de ça, est-ce que vous pensez que c'est une bonne chose pour la défense européenne que de disposer d'un telle structure?

Franco Frattini:Well that's one of the questions on which an analysis is ongoing. There is a discussion going on which clearly must involve all of the European partners. As you know, the Italian presidency has tried, and I think with some success, to bring together in an overall European vision all those initiatives that have been proposed by some members of the European Union.

There was general agreement on this objective, namely that we have to discuss, work together. This occurred at the Naples summit just a few days ago. We did this together, and I think that together we will find a solution that is both appropriate and will enable us to avoid any duplication of effort and to avoid useless or wasteful spending for the creation of new structures which may simply be a duplication of what already exists, but at the same time, in order to confirm that the improvement of military capabilities for European defence is a necessary element in order to do what? Well, in order to work together better with our partners, with our partners on the other side of the Atlantic. In order to work together with NATO. This is the goal for European defence.

Q: The question is for Secretary General and for Mr. Frattini. Mr. Secretary General, I would like to know when do you expect Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia and Montenegro to join in the Partnership for Peace, and what is the progress still needed for these countries to join this framework.

And for Minister Frattini, could you please briefly define what... how would you define the contribution of the Macedonian experience or the experience of the European Union in Macedonia in the creation of the European defence? Thank you.

Lord Robertson: Well, I'm not going to give you any surprises in the answer to the question, but both Bosnia, Herzegovina and Serbia and Montenegro know precisely what they need to do in order to fulfil the conditions for membership of Partnership for Peace. And I've been in both Belgrade and Sarajevo in the last week underlining these points. They are to do with... and Bosnia-Herzegovina, for the defence reform and the implementation of the legislation, the welcome legislation passed on Monday, and also to do with co-operation with the International Criminal Tribunal on the former Yugoslavia. That is also a condition for Serbia and Montenegro. And they know the precise conditions that we've laid down.

Both the foreign ministers of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia and Montenegro will be at the lunch tomorrow of the Partnership for Peace ministers, and they will both make presentations to the working lunch on the progress that they are making on these issues. And everybody hopes that they will soon be able to fulfil these conditions because they want them to be part of the Partnership family.

Franco Frattini: Well, the answer has to be in these terms: First of all, I think that the experience in FYROM demonstrated that Europe is capable of conducting, with success, a mission. It's capable of demonstrating on the one hand its capability to co-operate closely with other international organizations, but also its capability to assume, at a certain point in time, the leadership of an organization.

Today, as you know, we also spoke about the possibility that the EU might assume responsibility in Bosnia, in agreement obviously with NATO, that it might assume greater responsibilities there. And we have another recent experience, of course, of an European action in Ituri in the Congo, an area that is very far from us, but in which we demonstrated that we are capable of carrying out an operation that was in general appreciated by everyone. These are just some experiences that demonstrate how we can work in a complementary manner in full synergy with NATO.

Q: (inaudible)...Frattini, I would like to get a position from you on what you said about the EU defence policy. As far as I understood from you is that the most important thing is to increase military capabilities, but the point now is the following that. Are you in favour, or do you think it's necessary to set a planning cell independently to NATO, yes or no?

Franco Frattini: I am not in favour of a planning process that would be a duplication of NATO structures. That is at the heart of the debate that we are having right now. We have two different requirements here. First of all, we have a requirement that concerns today the present, namely to define rules... the regulations that will be included in our constitution. And then we also have a reflection, an analysis which will not be developed today or tomorrow, but it concerns the planning, but the principles have to be established now. And the principle of non-duplication, no duplication and of absolute complementarity, these are principles that are very clear, I would say, and that are shared by everyone.

Everyone has said that we should avoid duplication, and I agree. The evaluation... the budgets of most of our governments, including my own, would not allow us to waste resources duplicating what already exists. We have to work better and of course duplication is not the best way to spend our scarce resources.

Q: Yes, my question will be just for Mr. Frattini. First of all, a short commentaire, because you said FYROM again, because this name does not exist. Yugoslavia not exist. Probably in your presidency you can solve the name... the problem with the name for Macedonia.

But the question is directly, what do you think about the result of the census when you know that we have the result 25.7 Albanians. At same time the (inaudible)... address the ultimatum. If not be 30 percent he'll be out of the coalition. Does it mean all the request with Albania addressing Macedonia, just like the birthday wish, international community with (inaudible) we accept them, and what do you think about Corridor Eight. Did in your presidency can it have positive result, or still yet will be in deadlocked?

Thank you.

Franco Frattini: Well, I would like to give you a more general answer on the points that you raised. I don't have any specific details concerning the particular situation, but I can say that during our presidency, the Italian presidency we gave a certain priority, on the one hand, to progress in relations and the political stabilization and economic stabilization of all of the countries in the western Balkans.

I can also say that an important opportunity that should be dealt with in detail, as you mentioned, would be the meeting of the foreign ministers that we will have in just a few days in Brussels, and it will be a meeting of the foreign ministers of the EU, extended to include the foreign ministers of the countries of the western Balkans.

And there we will try to develop the strategy of Thessaloniki and we will develop in particularly... we'll discuss in particularly the problems that concern the overall situation of those countries in order to try to understand how Europe can help their political and economic development.

The Corridor, of course, that remains a priority. The principle is to encourage synergy among all of the concerned countries, the countries of the Balkans in addition to Italy. We believe that this corridor is one of the most important European initiatives. So all of the parties to that initiative, all of the possibilities have to be developed to the maximum extend.

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