Updated: 22-May-2002 Week of 13-19 May 2002

17 May 2002

Creation of a common forum
to discuss NATO and EU defence matters

"The New Defence Agenda (NDA)", a forum set up to discuss NATO and EU defence and security policies, was launched on 17 May with a conference on "Defence and Security in an uncertain world". The aim of the NDA is to offer a platform for political decision makers, officials, representatives from industry and policy analysts to discuss European defence and security issues on a regular basis and to promote an informal debate on these issues among a wider European public.

The conference examined the issues of a wider security role for Europe and European military capabilities. Lord Robertson gave the keynote address, focusing on military capabilities and the growing gap between the capabilities of the United States and those of other NATO member countries. He summarised his thoughts by saying: "A more coherent focus on key capabilities, re-vitalised arms cooperation, and a more serious commitment to European Security and Defence Policy: these are the three major steps that need to be taken in my view to ensure the vitality of the transatlantic security bond. None of these steps would lead to a total convergence of US and European defence capabilities. […] But while the US and Allied capabilities would not necessarily be comparable in their overall strength, they would nonetheless be compatible, complementary and interoperable".

The conference also set the agenda for the five working groups created under the NDA, which will meet four times a year to cover:

  • European force projection and capabilities (Working Group I);
  • Europe's Security Aims and its global defence role (Working Group II);
  • Conflict prevention and anti-terrorism policies (Working Group III);
  • The transatlantic relationship: military, political and industrial (Working Group IV);
  • Defence-led Research & Development and industrial innovation in Europe (Working Group V).

The NDA aims to publish Discussion Papers, raise media attention on European defence issues through its "Rapid Reaction Forum" and organise a high-level conference once a year. It has been created by Forum Europe, a leading EU issues group, in cooperation with NATO, the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung, Lockheed Martin Cooperation, and in association with the European Defence Industries Group, the Western European Armaments Group and Euractiv, a group that brings together European opinion formers. Further information on the NDA can be found at: http://www.newdefenceagenda.org

Additional information:
  • Defence and Security in an Uncertain World - Keynote Speech
    by NATO Secretary General, Lord Robertson - Forum Europe,
    Brussels - 17 May 2002